Mason Jar Lemonade and Iced Tea

Saturday, April 3, 2010

tea in a jar


We have a barbeque restaurant in town that serves cold drinks in quart-sized mason jars. They call them MASONADES, packed with ice, easy to handle and the perfect size so that you’re not slurping the bottom in just a few drinks.

With the days getting warmer, a lot of us are spending more time outside. Whether you’re enjoying time in the barn, lounging in the garden or just running to town for errands, spring is a great time to enjoy a batch of good old fashioned refreshment.

I’m a big fan (huge actually) of fresh, homemade, lemonade and brewed iced tea. But, since there are only two of us, it doesn’t make sense to make a big pitcher. Taking a hint from my local BBQ joint I came up with a way to make my own single-serving sized drinks in portable containers, which is great when you’re on the road and want a cold drink to take along with you, or when you’ve been outside digging in the garden and need something instantly cold and sweet to boost up your blood sugar. Enter Mason Jar Lemonade and Iced Tea – quart-sized servings of hand-squeezed lemonade or fresh brewed iced tea. You can make enough for a whole weekend in few minutes, which makes me wonder how powdered drink mixes ever became popular.

Here’s what you need:
Quart mason jars (with lids)
Fresh organic lemons
Ice cubes
Natural sugar or honey
Natural lemon juice
Organic black tea bags or flavored tea bags
Fresh mint or lemon verbena from the garden

Here’s what to do:
Fill jars halfway with warm water (the warm water helps dissolve the sugar and honey). Cut a lemon in half and squeeze the juice into a jar, and plop the cut lemon into the jar as well, making the water tart and filled with little bits of pulp and flavor. If you really want to kick up the tartness – add some fresh lemon juice (about a teaspoon) to the mix. Then add as much sugar or honey as you like (depending on your mood and the weather it could be as little as a teaspoon or as much as 2 tablespoons). Top it off with ice till it’s nearly overflowing. Seal the lid and shake the hell out of it until its one big, frothy, icy delight. There you have it. Farm fresh, all natural, and ready for travel.

For the Iced Tea:
I just pour hot water from a kettle into room-temperature jars with an organic black tea-bag and let it cool on the kitchen counter. Then I drop in a lemon slice and a bit of sugar, some ice, a sprig of mint and sit it in the fridge alongside the jars of lemonade. When it’s cold enough to condense water off the sides, it’s manna from the still.

For an added treat try flavored teas like Blueberry or Raspberry. Better yet, mix the tea and the lemonade, half and half, in one jar for a killer organic fresh-made Arnold Palmer.

I make several of these and stash them in the fridge so I’m never out of a refreshing drink. Instead of grabbing a can of soda, I grab a cold jar of real lemonade in a reusable container, which not only tastes amazing, but feels more authentic than any processed beverage.

Need to please a crowd?

Try this “Lemonade for 100” recipe from the “Joy of Cooking”.

Boil for 10 minutes
4 cups water
8 cups sugar

Cool the syrup. Then stir in:
71/2 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice

To serve, simply mix the concentrate with 4 gallons of cold water and serve over ice.

There you have it – enough lemonade concentrate to quench the thirst of any army.

Add style to your outdoor gathering by serving it in pint-sized mason jars with bowls of sliced lemons, mint and lemon verbena as garnishes.

One Response to “Mason Jar Lemonade and Iced Tea”

  1. Katie says:

    I just discovered the delights of traditional iced tea and have been trying to figure out the best way to brew it. This way seems pretty easy and there’s just something so attractive about mason jars.

Leave a Reply