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.
2 quarts water
4 quarts mint sprigs (6 ounces)
1/2 cup sugar
8 ounces (1 cup) bourbon
Garnish: mint sprigs
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.