Whether you prefer it sweetened or unsweetened, loose leaf or in a bag, make sure to pour yourself a glass of iced tea today. Why, you ask? Because it's the chilled drink's national holiday, of course. To celebrate the occasion, Starbucks and Teavana will be offering deals all day long. But if you're in the mood for a southern-inspired DIY, whip up a batch of this fresh peach version, featured in food blogger Melissa Sperka's new culinary tome Melissa's Southern Cookbook ($19; amazon.com). Her inventive take on the classic southern staple swaps ice cubes for frozen peaches, but feel free to use both, as pictured above, for an extra thirst-quenching refreshment. Read on for the full recipe.
Fresh Peach Tea
4 large ripe peaches, divided
4 cups cold water, plus more for serving
4 family-sized tea bags or 16 regular-sized tea bags of black tea ($3/22 family-sized bags; amazon.com)
1 cup granulated sugar
Fresh mint sprig
1. Halve two of the peaches, removing the pits. cut into 1/2-inch slices. Place in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze for at least 4 hours until solid, or overnight.
2. In a medium-sized saucepan, bring 4 cups of cold water to a rolling boil. Remove from the heat and add the tea bags. Cover and allow the tea to steep for 12 minutes.
3. Remove the tea bags and add the sugar, stirring until completely dissolved.
4. Peel, pit, and cube the remaining two peaches. Purée with the lemon juice in a food processor or stand blender. Push through a fine-mesh strainer to remove pulp.
5. Pour the peach purée into a 2 ½-quart pitcher along the sweetened tea. fill to three-quarters full with added cold water. Stir well and chill.
6. Serve in decorative glasses, using the frozen peach slices in place of ice cubes. Garnish with mint.