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The punch recipe features healthy and vitamin-rich citrus fruit, such as oranges, limes and lemons. When I made it, I used both ordinary lemons and the slightly sweeter Meyer lemons.
Freshly brewed tea is an important ingredient in this punch, which is a historic culinary tradition. Green tea and black tea were often used in cold punches in nineteenth-century kitchens around the United States. In this recipe, I used an English Breakfast black tea to give the punch a refreshing taste.
You’ll find the popular herbs mint and rosemary featured in this punch, too. They are brewed at the same time as the tea leaves in this recipe. The Italian sparkling wine Prosecco is recommended for this punch, but it can be replaced with ginger ale for a non-alcoholic drink.
In the garden, mint grows best in moist, fertile soil in full sun and partial sun conditions. Often this fast-spreading herb will take over a garden, if you let it. Always grow mint, spearmint or peppermint in a container rather than planting it directly in the ground. Otherwise, your herb garden may become yourmint garden.Consider yourself warned.
Rosemary, on the other hand, plays rather nicely in the garden. Plant the aromatic Mediterranean native in a sunny spot (6+ hours of sunlight) with excellent soil drainage and good air circulation. It grows rather slowly, but the drought-tolerant herb can become the size of a bush in the right growing conditions. Rosemary doesn’t like freezing temperatures, but ‘Arp’ and ‘Madelene Hill’ are two popular cold-hardy varieties.
The flowers on rosemary and mint are edible. Toss them in salads and dips, on pasta sauces or freeze in ice cube trays, as I’ve done with frozen blackberries in this punch.*
Citrus Tea Punch with Herbs Recipe
5 cups of boiling water
7 black tea bags
1 cup of fresh mint
1 4-inch rosemary sprig
1/2 to 2/3 cups of honey, to taste
5 cups of orange juice
1 cup of fresh lemon and lime juice (mixed together)
1 to 2 bottles of Prosecco (replace with ginger ale for non-alcoholic version)
1 orange, lemon and lime, sliced thinly
Frozen ice cubes with blackberries (optional)
1. Pour 5 cups of boiling water over tea bags, mint and rosemary. Cover and let steep about 8 minutes.
2. Mix honey with hot tea completely. Set aside and cool to room temperature.
3. In a large punch bowl, combine herbal tea, orange juice and lemon-lime juice.
4. Slowly add 1 to 2 bottles of Prosecco (or ginger ale) to punch.
5. Top with orange, lime and lemon slices, as well as blackberry ice cubes. Enjoy!
*To make blackberry ice cubes,place a frozen or fresh berry in each cube. Pour previously boiled water, which has cooled to room temperature, into an ice tray. Freeze cubes before use.