Mason Jar Tea

I know I’ve said this before, but man, summer gets warm. There are certain foods that are perfect for the hot weather… and others that are less so.One of my jobs in college was waitressing. I can’t say it was the best experience–in fact, I couldn’t stand remaining unnaturally cheery all day. I would return home and sink into terrible moods, just to compensate. And yet, my main source of irritation was also a source of great entertainment. One of the few redeeming qualities of the job was my constant interaction with some of the more colorful people in my city.My favorite example of this was one, very very hot summer day, right around lunch.We had an outside patio, and, for some crazy reason, two women decided to brave the 90 degree weather and attempt to enjoy their lunch in the blinding sunlight. Unfortunately, this meant that I also had to endure the heat and sun. So, putting on my most sincere smile and ignoring the sweat running down my back, I asked for their orders. And what followed was one of the sillier moments at that restaurant. The smaller woman was convincing the larger woman that the whole reason that people ate spicy food was because it somehow made their bodies feel cooler… Think about it, she argued. Mexican food is spicy. Indian food is spicy. Egyptian food is spicy. And all of these countries have their heat in common. So therefore, ordering the spiciest thing on the menu will cool you down. I smiled and took down the orders. A few minutes passed, I set down their food, and left to attend other tables. Three minutes later, when I returned to their table, the larger woman was slick with sweat and all the drinks on the table were empty.I apologize for this long story, but sometimes I feel like that woman, just really in need of something cool to drink. Luckily, when I was looking through the family cookbook the other day, I found what I was looking for. Granted, I didn’t know what it was at first. The recipe is entitled “Small Mason Jar.” I had no idea what to make of this, but it turns out to be a delicious drink, meant to be served in jars, on front porches, with a slight breeze moving the fluffy clouds.
Mason Jar Tea

This makes a good amount of the tea mixture. It’s easy to keep for a while, just seal it up in an airtight container, store somewhere room temperature, and it should last for quite a while. But I must be honest, in my house, I doubt it survives the night. This drink can be refreshing in the heat or comforting in the cold, depending on how you serve it. Basil (or even rosemary or mint) can be perfect for the summer, but should be replaced with a teaspoon of cinnamon and a teaspoon of cloves in the winter–it’s just as good served hot as it is cold.

½ cup decaffeinated instant tea
1 cup sugar
1 cup Tang
1½ Tbsp lemon-flavored gelatin
fresh basil leaves

Combine tea, sugar, Tang, and gelatin.
In individual jars, muddle basil leaves until the kitchen smells amazing.
In the jars, stir 1 Tbsp of the powdered mixture into 8-10 oz of water. Fill to the top with ice.
Now go find that porch swing.


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