This Sparkling Lemon Berry Iced Tea is a light and refreshing summer drink. It is perfect for picnics, parties, BBQ’s or just because!
When I was 5 years old, my twin brothers joined the Armed Forces to serve our country in Vietnam. I was obviously too young to understand the impact of their service, but my older siblings sure did. Both of my brothers became decorated officers and my mom had two gold stars in our front window to indicate that to passersby. Each week, we looked forward to receiving a cassette tape of their recorded diary of the events of the previous week.
Because this took place in the summer, mom would often sit out on the porch and listen to each of the boy’s tapes. Mom would make a pitcher of iced tea and all of us would grab a glass and sip from it as we gathered around the picnic table on our patio. I swear we hung on every single word. This became a weekly tradition for my mom and dad and my siblings and I until the boys were home safe, 18 months later.
Because we live in the south, iced tea is a big part of our culture. We drink hot tea with breakfast, with iced tea usually being served with lunch and dinner. One thing mom taught me was how many recipes you could come up with for iced tea. We may make many variety of iced tea, but we only have one preferred brand’ Bigelow, which has been around since 1945!
The Bigelow Tea Company was founded by Ruth Bigelow and it is still a family owned business. They own the only tea plantation in America and they produce more than 50 varieties of tea! My favorites are the American Breakfast either their plain or with lemon. Guests are invited to the Charleston Tea Plantation for weddings, tours and even a variety of music festivals. It’s a tea-riffic way to experience historic Southern culture and a living piece of American history!
One of my moms favorite holidays was the 4th of July. She had always made a big deal about the 4th of July, but after my brothers joined the Army, it became even more special to my family. We lived in a tight knit community, and our house was the place everyone gathered on July 4th. Dad would man the grill and mom would make fried chicken, her famous potato salad and gallons of iced tea. Mom would set the pitchers on a huge table and would let the sun do all the work while the tea bags lazily floated in the water. Mom would make probably 6 or 8 gallons of different flavors of tea. There would always be one plain, one sweetened with sugar, one with lemon, one with fresh Georgia peaches, one with strawberries from our strawberry patch.
One of the family favorites was mom’s Sparkling Lemon Berry Iced Tea, made with Bigelow Tea. This tea was filled with raspberries and blueberries from our backyard, making it even more delicious. If I were to close my eyes right now, I can see mom standing there, manning the “Tea Table” with a huge smile on her face. She would let my sister and I hand the plastic cups to our guests and run into the house for more ice or fruit. As an adult, I still make mom’s Sparkling Lemon Berry Iced Tea with the American Breakfast tea from Bigelow.
I am a loyal Walmart shopper, which is where I purchase my Bigelow teas. There is something serendipitous about drinking American grown tea from America’s favorite retailer! You can find their tea on the tea aisle (duh!!) right next to the chocolate syrup (who knew?!)
One thing I did not know, but am thrilled about, is the fact that a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Bigelow American Breakfast teas goes to support our troops. It is Bigelow’s way of saying “Thank you” for the sacrifice our troops make so we can enjoy the freedoms we all share. This really chokes me up, knowing my brothers made that same sacrifice. Almost 4 million bags of tea have been sent to troops overseas with Bigelow’s Tea for Troops program.
This year, we are taking our July 4th party on the road and are heading to see my oldest daughter Chelsea and my future son-in-law. She is recently engaged and had knee surgery a few weeks ago, so we decided to drive down and visit her. My husband and I will pack up the car, load up the kids and head down to Georgia for a relaxing 4th of July weekend. Of course I will be making my favorite recipe, Sparkling Lemon Berry Iced Tea, using the American Breakfast blend from Bigelow Tea. I love that I am able to pass along this tradition from my childhood down to my own children. Chelsea makes the Sparkling Lemon Berry Iced Tea with the American Breakfast blend with lemon
Sparkling Lemon Berry Iced Tea
Sparkling Lemon Berry Iced Tea
- 12 Bigelow American Breakfast Blend tea bags
- 1 cup raspberries
- 1 cup fresh lemon juice divided
- 1 cup fine sugar
- 3 cups sparkling water or lemon lime soda
- Raspberries blueberries, and pineapple for skewers
- Bring 12 cups of water to boil. Turn off burner and add Bigelow American Breakfast Blend tea bags. Allow to steep while completing remaining steps. *If it is summertime, you can add 2 bags for each glass and let them seep in the sun like I did!
- Put the raspberries and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice in a blender and puree until smooth.
- Strain mixture into a fine strainer into a bowl.
- Pour tea into a pitcher and add remaining lemon juice, sugar and sparkling water or soda and stir until sugar dissolves.
- Add puree and mix well.
- Add lemon slices and raspberries
- Garnish with stacked fruit skewers
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