• June is National Iced Tea Month

    The love of iced tea started in the American south which is world famous for developing quite the palate for a sweeter version than the average tea, aptly named, sweet tea. A base of a strong black tea that’s been steeped for at least 15 minutes is traditionally used. Sweet tea is a deliciously refreshing drink in the sweltering south. It is so popular that if you order “iced tea” in the south, you’ll automatically receive sweet tea.
    As the first tea producing state in the colonies, South Carolina is attributed as the founders of iced tea. According to What’s Cooking America:
    “Most historians agree that the first tea plant arrived in this country in the late 1700s when French explorer and botanist, Andre Michaux (1746-1802), imported it as well as other beautiful and showy varieties of camellias, gardenias and azaleas to suit the aesthetic and acquisitive desires of wealthy Charleston planters. He planted tea near Charleston at Middleton Barony, now known as Middleton Place Gardens.”
    Today, iced tea is more popular than ever! According to the Tea Association of America: “Approximately 85% of tea consumed in America is iced,” and in 2012, sales of Ready-to-Drink Iced Tea topped $4.8 billion.
    With so many iced tea options, Americans have made iced tea a mainstay of backyard cookouts, barbecues, and informal and formal dining.
    To celebrate National Iced Tea Month, American Royal Tea is offering FREE iced tea recipes to kick off your summer!
    Here’s the first thirst-quencher for your next backyard cookout!

    Queen Charlotte Iced Tea

    Serves 12
    Queen Charlotte Tea was created by American Royal Tea to celebrate the popularity of iced tea in the south and the birth of iced tea in South Carolina. [Charlotte, NC, was named after Queen Charlotte Sophia of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, wife of King George III of England.] This tea is also caffeine-free! Prepare this tea the day before your event. This recipe makes approximately 1 gallon. To make more, you can add more to the refrigerated solution.
    Prep Time
    6 hr
    Cook Time
    20 min

    Ingredients

    1. 16 cups of water (2 quarts)
    2. 8 Tablespoons of American Royal Tea’s LA TEA EN ROSE (about 4 ounces)
    3. 1 Medium-sized watermelon (6-10 pounds)
    4. 1 46 oz. can of pineapple juice
    5. 2 cups of sugar (optional)
    6. 1 bunch of fresh mint (optional)
    Tools Needed
    1. 1 Stainless steel pot (2 quarts or more)
    2. 1 sieve
    3. 1 blender
    4. 1 large, sharp knife
    5. 2 gallon sized beverage dispenser with spigot
    6. 1 large spoon (for stirring)

    Instructions

    1. Find a secure work surface with enough room to cut a watermelon. Place a towel or paper towel under watermelon.
    FOR WATERMELON NECTAR
    1. Carefully cut watermelon in half with sharp knife, then cut the half pieces in half.
    2. Scoop out the flesh from the rind and place into blender.
    3. Blend watermelon in batches.
    4. Place sieve over a large bowl or large measuring cup (at least 2 quart measuring cup).
    5. Pour watermelon into sieve.
    6. Let sit until juices drip into bowl. Use a spatula to lightly press remaining watermelon to collect all juice.
    7. Pour juice into dispenser and repeat with remaining batches of watermelon. (Discard pulp or place into ice cube trays and fill with water or remaining juice and freeze for adding later.)
    8. You should have at least 1 quart of watermelon juice. If not, just add water to make 1 quart.
    9. Refrigerate.
    FOR TEA
    1. Bring 2 quarts (16 cups) of water to a boil in a stainless steel pot.
    2. Add American Royal Tea’s LA TEA EN ROSE.
    3. If you’d like to add sugar, add it at this point.
    4. Steep for 15 minutes and allow to cool (approximately 20 minutes).
    5. Add tea to same dispenser as watermelon juice.
    6. Refrigerate over night.
    7. When you’re ready to serve, add 1 46 oz. can of pineapple juice and stir.
    8. Add ice cubes (or frozen watermelon juice cubes) into individual glasses.
    9. Dispense from spigot and add a washed mint leaf and serve!
    Notes
    1. Purchase American Royal Tea’s LA TEA EN ROSE http://www.opensky.com/americanroyaltea/product/la-tea-en-rose
    By American Royal Tea