Fruit Tea is a very southern beverage that has been around for years and years. I am not completely sure where it got it's start, but I can almost guess the reason it was created came from the fact that we southerners do not waste anything. We also know how to improvise when we don't have exactly what we need. I can just picture some creative southern mama having juice leftover from breakfast and maybe also being a little short on sugar when making the tea for lunch and thinking, ..."hmmm, wonder if I dumped this orange juice I have leftover in the tea it would help sweeten it and still be really good?" So she did, and it was a hit and so next time she added a little pineapple juice also and then it just gained traction from there.
Fruit Tea of this type is now served in the south as a beverage choice at various events....showers, receptions, and other sorts of special events and such. However, some southern restaurants and tea rooms serve their version of it also. There are many variations on this and it is not set in stone. Different juices can be used. This recipe is very summery and citrusy. Some folks also like to use peaches or raspberry. This is great for a beverage choice for a wedding or baby shower and can be mixed and served like a punch in a punch bowl also.
Here is what you will need for this:
2 family size tea bags or 8 individual tea bags
4 cups boiling water
1 1/2 - 2 cups sugar (according to your taste)
1 (6 oz.) can frozen orange juice concentrate
1 (6 oz.) can frozen lemonade
1 cup pineapple juice
10 cups water
1 lemon, sliced in thin slices
1 lime, sliced in thin slices
1 orange, sliced in thin slices
1 cup maraschino cherries, drained (optional)
Boil the tea bags in the 4 cups of boiling water just until it boils. Turn off and cover to steep for at least 30 minutes.
In a gallon container (glass preferably) mix the warm tea with the sugar and stir to dissolve. Once the sugar is completely dissolved add the orange juice, lemonade, and pineapple juice. Stir to mix well. Add the 10 cups of water and stir again.
Make small cuts in the skin of the lemon, lime, and orange. Just light cuts not through to the skin. This releases the oils and flavor of the fruit. Slice all three in thin slices and float in the fruit tea. Add ice to completely fill the container and stir again. To make it really pretty you can float the maraschino cherries in it!