Iced Minted Orange Juice

My first waitressing job was working evenings at a deli while I was in high school. Early on, I was scheduled for a Saturday morning 7 a.m. shift. Until I got on the floor to serve tables, I didn’t realize that apart from the owner who was in her office doing book work, I was the only employee working. That meant that I was cooking, serving, and busing tables … with no training on the breakfast shift. Fortunately, I knew how to cook, but I was a little flustered nevertheless. Not thinking, I served orange in a large glass of ice to one of the customers – after all, that was how I liked to drink my orange juice. Boy did he chew me out. “Who drinks orange juice with ice? What are you thinking!?” But, I still like my o.j. with ice, and Minted Orange Juice – a blend of iced mint tea and orange juice – is served just that way. This is a beverage that I came up with for serving with breakfast in heat of summer when o.j. seems a little too heavy and yet it feels too early in the day for iced tea. Enjoy!

Minted Orange Juice

6 c. cold water

1 cinnamon stick

1 c. clean fresh-picked mint leaves, plus some for garnish

12 oz. frozen orange juice concentrate

1/2 – 3/4 c. sugar, or to taste

4 c. ice cubes, plus ice for serving

1. Place water and a cinnamon stick in a pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Add mint leaves. Cover pot and steep for 15 minutes.

2. Place orange juice concentrate, 1/2 c. of the sugar, and ice cubes to a pitcher. Strain mint tea into pitcher. Stir until concentrate, sugar and ice cubes are dissolved. Taste. If desired, stir in the remaining 1/4 c. of sugar.

3. Chill until serving. Serve over ice and garnish with mint leaves.

Note: If you don’t have fresh mint, substitute 4 mint tea bags.

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