Tea punch has been an American tradition since colonial times. This recipe creates a base that can be mixed with any spirit or non-alcoholic cider to serve a crowd with no day-of prep at all. Everything can (and should) be made in advance to make your meal as simple as possible.
Step 1: Lemon + Sugar
Peel 3 lemons and place the peels into a quart-size plastic container with 1 cup of sugar and mix well. Let that sit for at least an hour (or even overnight), shaking every so often to keep things mixing. Separately, juice the lemons and save the juice for later.
Step 2: After the sugar mixture has sat for an hour, brew 3.5 cups of tea, using 2 tea bags. Add 3 cinnamon sticks and a few whole star anise or cardamom pods to the hot water. Pour the hot tea into the sugar mixture and stir well to melt the sugar. Add the lemon juice from earlier. Let that cool and strain out the solids.
Step 3: Add either a 750ml bottle of whiskey, rum, or unsweetened apple cider to the tea mixture. Serve into individual glasses over ice and enjoy!
To make both alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions at once, split the tea mixture in half, and use a half-bottle of spirits or cider for each recipe. Feel free to use different spices or even hearty herbs like rosemary, cloves, or orange peels to change the flavors and customize it to your liking.
This recipe originally appeared at GrokNation.