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Southern Fruit Tea

If you know, you know. But now you can know with no added sugar. Heck yeah, y'all.

Southern Fruit Tea

For the printable recipe click here.

Southern Fruit Tea

You probably know that in the South we like our sweet tea. But in some parts of the South, perhaps Nashville most of all, ladies who lunch do so with a glass of fruit tea in hand. Beyond a simple Southern sweet tea, this concoction is more of a tea punch. It starts with iced tea and (as we say in the South) takes it to a whole 'nother level.

Growing up, many of my friends were obsessed with the stuff, but I was a hard convert. Most recipes were super heavy on pineapple and orange juice, and I was (at the time) a fan of neither. It wasn't until I discovered a little place called The Food Company, a tiny Nashville treasure, that I got on board with the obsession. Something in The Food Company's recipe was wildly different from the others I'd tried, and whatever it was made it completely addictive.

Recently I had a mad craving for this particular fruit tea, but 800 miles is a little over Door Dash's delivery limit, and I have no idea if that tea still exists even if I were there.

So the question arose:

Could I make a paleo version?

Having made vats and vats of the popular fruit tea at another beloved Nashville-area restaurant as a server, I knew the basic recipe. I was fairly certain at least one of the secret ingredients in The Food Company's fruit tea was fresh mint, and I knew for sure that one thing they both had in common was boatloads of sugar. But THAT was the one thing I wanted to eliminate.

Sure, I could have used a minimally-processed sweetener and been well within paleo bounds, but I really wanted to see if the fruit juice alone could do the sweetening.

It took a little experimenting, but the version I settled on is more or less the version I made as a server, plus mint, minus added sugar.

And it is delicious.

Southern Fruit Tea

How to make Southern Fruit Tea

I start with black tea bags (the kind you would use for iced tea) and several sprigs of fresh mint from my backyard garden.

Tea bags and fresh mint steeping

These get steeped together in cold water overnight in the fridge. In my opinion, starting with cold water and cold-steeping the mixture results in the best flavor--and BONUS, you don't have to wait for anything to cool down.

The next day, I strain the mixture into a large pitcher and use a wooden spoon to stir in the juices. Is there anything magical about the wooden spoon? Almost certainly not. But that's the most authentic Southern tool to use, and it's about the only time I use the one that hangs out in my kitchen.

Southern Fruit Tea


I wasn't kidding when I said that Nashville was crazy for fruit tea. In fact, this Southern staple is sometimes called Tennessee fruit tea due to its ubiquity to the area. As such, most restaurants have their own version. While many stick close to the classic orange juice and pineapple combination, it's not uncommon for establishments to put their own spin on it with a variety of fruit juices.

Frozen lemonade concentrate makes an appearance in at least a few. Of course, since we are eliminating added sugar, lemonade is out. Lemon juice is certainly an option, but without the added sugar, it will definitely make its tartness known. If you don't mind the extra sugar, lemonade or limeade would be great to play around with.

I experimented with grapefruit juice, but it just wasn't landing for me.

A splash of cranberry juice and a cinnamon stick would be festive for the holidays, but again, you might need to add some extra sweetener to balance the tartness.

In my opinion, you just can't beat this Five Monsters version for a family gathering on a hot summer day. I don't like to serve it on the rocks because ice cubes can water it down, but you could definitely make an extra batch to freeze in ice cube trays for dilution-proof chilling.

To make this fruit tea recipe a little fancier, serve in a pretty glass pitcher along with fresh fruit like lemon slices, orange slices, or even frozen fruit like cranberries or sliced peaches.

Adults only

It may not be quite as healthful, but another fun way to serve this tea is with a splash of prosecco or a little coconut rum. Of course, dark rum, spiced rum, or plain white rum would probably be great, too.

For a mocktail, try a splash of club soda, coconut sparkling water, or even ginger ale (if you're not worried about the extra sugar).

Whether you dress it up or stick to the most simple ingredients, the next time you are craving iced tea or some kind of fruit punch, you can do like the Nashvillians do and reach for a refreshing glass of Southern fruit tea.

Southern Fruit Tea

Here's what you'll need:

  • 6 black tea bags

  • ½ cup fresh mint leaves

  • 4 cups cold water

  • 2 cups orange juice

  • 1 ½ cups pineapple juice

Here's what you'll do:

  1. Place the tea bags and mint in a medium-sized bowl or 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup and cover with four cups cold water. Place in the fridge to steep overnight (at least 8 hours).

  2. Strain the tea mixture into a tea pitcher and stir in the juices. Store in the fridge. Give a good stir before pouring!

Southern Fruit Tea

For the printable recipe click here.

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Hey Y'all!

I'm the Monster Momma.

I'm a Christ-follower, wife, mother to five sweet paleo monsters, writer, and

paleo food fiend.

Join me and my family on our paleo journey!

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