The first time I tasted sun tea was on California's Catalina Island when my dad and mom took my brother and me there in an old Chris Craft wooden cruiser. Mom set a pitcher of water with several tea bugs out on the shellacked deck, and within a few hours the clear water was a Lipton-tea brown. Swirling the bags, squeezing oranges and a lemon, adding lots of sugar and chips of ice from the ice chest, she made the most delicious iced juice tea. I add mint, and I brew it on a sunny windowsill. Each time I do, I remember being a kid again.
In a glass jar, combine the tea, water, sugar, and mint. Screw on the cap and shake gently. Place the jar in a warm, sunny location for 3 hours.
Blend the orange juice and lemon juice into the tea mixture. If desired, strain the mixture through a sieve. Add the orange pieces and refrigerate for several hours. Garnish with orange slices and mint leaves.
Early mint sun tea: For a quick, thirst-quenching sun tea, replace the black tea with 2 tablespoons Earl Grey tea in the recipe for Catalina Citrus Sun Tea, and omit the orange and lemon juice. Proceed as directed.
Raspberry fizz: Follow the recipe for Catalina Citrus Sun Tea. Place 1 to 2 tablespoons raspberry syrup in a 10-ounce glass. Fill the glass 1/3 to 1/2 full of the chilled tea, and top with your favorite sparkling water. For a subtler taste, you can omit the syrup and add your favorite raspberry-flavored sparkling water. Garnish with a wooden skewer threaded with the tip of a mint sprig and fresh raspberries.
hollywood spritzer: Follow the recipe for Catalina Citrus Sun Tea. Place 1 tablespoon Cointreau in the bottom of a chilled glass or champagne flute. Fill the glass 1/2 full of chilled tea and top with an inexpensive champagne.