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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Ice Chest Tea

A few years ago I was invited to be a hostess for a baby shower.  I can't remember what I was in charge of but it wasn't punch.  When I walked into the kitchen I saw two other hostesses scurrying around the kitchen baby shower style trying to work around a large ice chest right under the kitchen bar.  I imagined it was full of bags of ice or maybe had been used to carry in some marvelous "watermelon carved in the image of the baby's ultrasound picture fruit salad" or some such nonsense.  But no, it was the punch, directly IN the ice chest.  We ladled this most amazingly delicious stuff straight out of the ice chest into a beautiful crystal punch bowl in the center of the shower table.  It was delicious and sweet and citrusy....beverage perfection.  I begged and begged for the recipe and I finally got it.   [Wanna hear something  hilarious?  The friend who gave me the recipe admitted to me the other day that she has lost it and needs it back!]

Since then I have changed it up some to go directly into one of these 3 gallon beverage containers but it's still so good straight out of an ice chest.  No kidding, my parents made this for a Sunday School party they hosted the day before we were all coming for some family shindig.  We drank the leftovers right out of the ice chest spigot all weekend....and it just kept getting better and better.  I must admit that some think this tea is too sweet, but most beg me for the recipe.

This tea is just lemons, limes, and oranges cut up and squeezed and mixed with instant (YES, I SAID INSTANT) tea, sugar, and lots and lots of great ice.  The great ice really is a must.  When my friend makes it she cuts the fruit up into little bitty pieces that can be ladled into the cups....I'm too lazy  for that.  I also use more tea mix and less sugar. I'm not even going to tell you how many pounds are in the original recipe.  I just quarter (for the limes and lemons) and double quarter (for the oranges) the fruit and squeeze the juice into a bowl dropping the fruit right in with the juice. Then I mix up the sugar and instant tea with some water....enough to dissolve both.  Then I pour in lots of ice and the fruit and fresh juice and fill it up with water.

For a 3 gallon container (like the one in the picture) or for an ice chest:
  • 12 lemons
  • 6 oranges
  • 6 limes
  • 1 - 28.5 oz container sweetened Lipton Iced Tea
  • 2-3 cups sugar
Cut limes and lemons into fourths and squeeze juice into a large bowl.  Cut oranges into eighths and squeeze juice into the same bowl.  As you squeeze the juice drop the fruit into the bowl. Pour tea mix and sugar into the beverage container or ice chest and add water to dissolve both. Stir VERY well.  Add ice (to fill about halfway) and pour fruit and fruit juice in.  Stir very well.  Add water and ice to fill and to taste.  Use more ice if the beverage container will be sitting for a long time or if you are serving in warm weather where ice will melt more quickly.  Be sure and taste the tea especially if you started with 2 cups of sugar to see if you need more.  That is not a joke.

For a 2 quart pitcher you might use at home, use these amounts and follow the directions above:
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 orange
  • 1 lime
  • 2/3 cup ice tea mix
  • 1/3 - 2/3 cup sugar


  1. I had to comment.. I found this post last summer while googling 'ice chest tea.' I found your post and pinned it. It has been re-pinned so many times! I made this for a family reunion and gosh my family loved it!

    1. Isn't this stuff yummy? Thanks for the pin-love! :)

  2. I cannot find instant sweetened Lipton Iced Tea anywhere. Help!!!

    1. I used the sweetened Rasberry flavor and it was delicious.