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Herbal Tea with Sprigs of Fresh Mint


Because there's nothing more refreshing than sipping a tall glass of iced tea in a shaded garden, we incorporate this quintessential ritual of serving highballs filled with chilled herbal teas and sprigs of fresh mint on a round wicker tray.

By this point in the summer, the mint in most gardens has grown knee-high and is threatening to take over. Don't panic—harvest a few armloads and turn the bounty into a refreshing drink. Plan on making a couple of batches, both with and without alcohol: Adults will swoon over the smooth, bourbon-laced juleps; kids will enjoy the lightly sweetened herbal tea all on its own.

Ingredients

For tea:

2 quarts water

4 quarts mint sprigs (6 ounces)

1/2 cup sugar


For cocktail:

8 ounces (1 cup) bourbon

Garnish: mint sprigs


                              

Preparation

Make Tea:
Bring water, mint, and sugar to a boil in a 4-to 5-quart saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved, then simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes. Cool completely, about 1 hour. Strain through a sieve into a large pitcher, pressing on and then discarding mint


Make cocktails:
Fill 8 (8-ounces) glasses halfway with ice. Add 2 tablespoons bourbon to each glass, then top off with mint tea


Cooks' note: Mint tea can be made 2 days  ahead and chilled.




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