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Sassy Tea {In Search of Summer June 2}

June 2, 2010

We lucked out when we moved into our house – we gained the most incredible neighbor. Her name is Sally(I think I’ve talked about her before on here?).  She’s almost in her 80s and she’s lived in her house since 1940-something when she lived with her grandparents, then later bought it from them. She raised 3 boys in her house, all born within 4 years, while also caring for both her father and grandfather. She’s constantly amazed by our baby and kid “stuff” like the double stroller and how it folds easily and into our car. She cannot fathom that I don’t have a playpen. And that we HAVE A second car, (she did not when her boys were little.)

She’s also a serious gem to have around to chat when I think I might lose my mind some days. She puts things into beautiful perspective.

Late last spring, we were having a rough day. We were all outside. Mia wasn’t even two yet. That would put Nick at less than two month old. I remember him napping on a blanket and being thankful that he was asleep. Mia was throwing a fit about something and I just wanted to cry. In the midst of it, Sally came out of her house with a little cup in her hands and asked Mia if she would feel better if she had some of “Sally’s Special Tea.”  It caught her attention enough to stop the tantrum and gulp it down. I had no idea what it was, but I didn’t care at all in the moment.

Later in the day, she came to the back door with a small container and gave me more. She told me that it was concentrate of the tea and to mix it with 1 part concentrate/3 parts water and enjoy. I made it and tasted it and have loved it ever since. She’s given us quite a few containers more than our share since then and we literally treasure them. Last summer she offered to write down the recipe for me, but when she handed me the cards with it written down I had absolutely no idea what they said – and I didn’t have the heart to tell her that.

So last weekend we were outside talking to her and she brought us some more tea and I told her I hadn’t been able to make it quite like hers. So she told me the whole recipe and I hung on each word, willing myself not to forget any of it(my short-term memory isn’t exactly what it used to be before babies;). I somehow magically remembered and got it written down for myself so that I wouldn’t forget.

It’s a mint/lemon/orange tea and about as refreshing as it gets on a hot summer day. It is Sally’s Special Tea, but when we first got it Mia couldn’t say “Sally,” so it turned into Sassy Tea. We like it, Sally thinks it’s funny and the name stuck.

Sassy Tea

-2 cups sugar

-2 cups water

-a whole lot of mint leaves

-1 can lemonade concentrate, thawed

-1 small can of orange juice concentrate, thawed


  1. Make a simple syrup with the 2 cups of sugar and two cups of water(simmering together until the sugar is fully dissolves, then on low for another few minutes for good measure.)
  2. Remove from the burner.
  3. Add in the mint leaves and let it steep for an hour.
  4. Strain out the leaves and add the lemonade and orange juice concentrate.
  5. Mix it all together and you have a concentrate. Freeze in smaller portions – use it in a 3 parts water to 1 part concentrate(like Sally) or 5 parts water to one part concentrate(like me.)

Some notes:

  • When I say “a whole lot of mint leave” – I mean A LOT. I filled a whole colander and I could have probably used twice as many. 
  • I know it’s a lot of sugar in one recipe, but it is a treat and it is a concentrate and it’s the only thing close to juice we have around on any sort of regular basis(and we drink maybe one pitcher of it every few weeks.) Sally uses a ratio of 1 part concentrate to 3 parts water and I use one more like 1 part concentrate to 5 parts water, partially to have less sugar and partially to enjoy it for a bit longer. Guess which one everyone loves most:)
  • It helps to have some mint growing in massive quantities. She has some in her backyard that she told me to take any time. I didn’t realize until I went to pick it just how much she really had:
8 Comments leave one →
  1. June 2, 2010 4:25 pm

    OMG. This story (and recipe) belongs in a “Chicken Soup For The Soul” cookbook. Love. And I can’t wait to try some Sassy Tea!

  2. June 3, 2010 8:22 am

    Mint definitely takes over and grows wild. Perfect for you your wonderful neighbor has lots.

    :)Lisa

  3. July 13, 2011 2:35 pm

    The sweetest memory and recipe you have here! I love stories like these. I’m excited to make this special sassy tea!

  4. October 5, 2014 2:57 am

    There’s definately a great deal to find out about this issue.
    I love all of the points you made.

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