By Kate Eelkema
This was a recipe my mother put in a 1950s church cookbook. The original recipe called for 2 cups sugar, which is way too much.
I have been told by a few people that back in the 1950s the sugar companies advertised sugar as something healthy that gave you good energy, and parents were encouraged to give you lots of it, which is why we have all those fillings in our teeth now.
I think this is what adults drank before Arnold Palmer became famous and people started ordering his eponymous drink. I don’t actually remember drinking it much. Fresh lemons were not that plentiful back then, so they were saved for the adults or special occasions, and we children were served Kool-Aid (with lots of sugar, of course). Most kitchens had those green jars of lemon and lime juice in their refrigerators, something I never buy now.
My sister Ruth always had this recipe along with her during all the years she spent on the African continent, as she could get tea and lemons but not the variety of cold drinks we have here. She reintroduced it to us about the same time I started using Mason jars for more things, so I like to keep this tea in a quart jar with the gray lid seen in the photos.
- 2 cups boiling water (up to 2.5 cups if the lemons are large)
- 3 tea bags (black tea, such as English Breakfast)
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 lemons
Pour 2 cups boiling water over 3 tea bags and let steep 15 minutes.
Pour tea over 1 cup sugar to which the grated zest of 3 lemons has been added.
Let mixture stand 15 minutes.
Add the juice of the 3 lemons. Strain. Pour into a quart Mason Jar.
Store in refrigerator.
To serve, fill glass 1/4-1/3 with concentrate and then add ice cubes and water to fill
glass, depending on strength desired.