I know, I know. Summer is almost over. For some of you, school has already begun. I personally am in denial that school starts next week. It has been a wonderful summer, and I have so thoroughly enjoyed having my oldest home. We are really going to miss having him home all day.
And at any rate, today in my e-mail, I received Real Simple's 40 Cool Drinks for a Hot Day. And that got me to thinking about my personal favorite summer drink. Lemon Mint Iced Tea. I have always loved this particular drink, and I will share the whys in just a moment. But, this year, thanks to a couple of different discoveries, I have been able to drink it daily, and I still love it.
You see, I am a southern girl in a lot of ways. I was born in Savannah, one of the most southern of southern places. And for most of my childhood we lived in the south, only moving mid-west when I was heading for high school. So, sweet iced tea runs in my blood I guess you could say. Add to that, my mother always had a glass of iced tea with mint sitting around when we would spend the summers at my grandparents' house, and I would frequently sneak sips. I loved the herbal tone that mint added, and we never had it at home, it grew by the front doorstep at my grandma's and it just seemed so special. Now one sip takes me back to those happy, carefree incredible days.
Now, while I love this drink, having it at home used to be too much work for me to have it frequently. (Yes, I am THAT low maintenance.) Boiling water, waiting for it to steep, then waiting for it to cool, then waiting for the mint I added to the glass to infiltrate the tea. Phew! Plus, the mint, if I didn't happen to have some growing with my herbs, would go bad in the fridge within a couple of days. What a waste of money.
But, this year, I discovered that you don't have to boil water to steep tea. I filled a huge 4 quart pitcher with tepid water and threw two family sized bags into it. I also went ahead and threw in a few sprigs of mint with the bags. Not sure why I didn't think of that before now. I let that sit while I did something else, like make dinner or tickle a deserving child. When it was the desired strength, I removed the bags but not the mint and added lemon and sugar to taste. It was then immediately ready for a tall glass of ice. Yummm.
I also learned from the great one, Martha Stewart, how to keep my mint in the fridge for a good long time. Wrap them in a damp paper towel and keep them in the crisper. I don't know why this works so well, but it kept my mint fresh for upwards of two weeks as opposed to it turning limp and black within four days with every other method I have ever tried. So thank you, Martha!
What drinks get you through the summer heat?