Tailgating to a tea

At your next pre-game gathering, try these recipes for iced tea with a twist

Published: Sunday, November 1, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, November 2, 2009 at 12:56 a.m.

Here in the South, few beverages are quite as refreshing on a hot game day as a tall glass of iced tea. Infuse that iced tea with a splash of fruit juice or wine, or even a touch of bourbon, and it can really pack a punch, as these veteran tailgaters have found.

According to Garrett Bell, whose game-day fish frys are an annual tradition, a fruit tea offers a light blend of lemonade, pineapple and orange juice with freshly brewed tea. This special blend creates a sweet and refreshing flavor that goes well with practically any tailgating fare.

Another refreshing, surprising blend: hibiscus tea, a delicate combination of dried flowers, white wine and sugar.

For those who prefer a bolder, full-bodied brew, the Bourbon Meyer is a simple, flavorful concoction of sweet tea and Jim Beam that is sure to please whiskey lovers, says Rusty Thompson, one of the drink’s originators.

So whether you’re gearing up for an afternoon or evening game, brew up some tea and infuse it with your favorite mixers for a tasty and refreshing game-day treat.


Fruit Tea

Makes one gallon

Courtesy of Garrett Bell


7 tea bags (or 3 family-size tea bags) 

1 cup sugar 

1 12-ounce can frozen orange juice concentrate (best with no pulp) 

1 12-ounce can frozen lemonade juice concentrate 

2 6-ounce cans pineapple juice 


Brew tea in approximately one quart boiling water.

In a gallon pitcher, pour brewed tea over sugar and mix until melted. 

Add enough water to fill the pitcher to 1/2 gallon.

Mix in orange juice and lemonade concentrate until dissolved. 

Add pineapple juice and continue to mix well.

Add enough water to fill the gallon pitcher.

Serve cold. Garnish each glass with a sprig of mint if you wish.

Hibiscus Tea

Makes a half gallon


2 quarts plus 1/2 cup water

2 ounces white wine

1 1/2 cups dried hibiscus flowers

1 cup sugar

Ice cubes


In a medium saucepan, combine the water and hibiscus flowers and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat for 5 minutes. Add the sugar and cook, stirring, until dissolved. Pour the drink into a medium bowl. Fill a larger bowl with ice water and set the smaller bowl inside. Stir the drink occasionally until chilled, about 10 minutes. Strain the iced tea cooler into a pitcher and serve in tall glasses over ice.

Make ahead: The iced tea can be made up to a day in advance and refrigerated overnight.

Note: Dried hibiscus flowers – also known as sorrel, or flor de Jamaica – can be found at specialty food stores and at Latin and Caribbean markets.

Bourbon Meyer

Makes 1 drink

Courtesy of Rusty Thompson


3 parts sweet tea

1 part Jim Beam bourbon

Splash of lemon or lime


Mix together.

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