To make iced tea for a crowd, begin with a strong infusion that can be watered down as needed. Prepare several hours in advance, and let stand at room temperature until ready to serve. Prep: 10 minutes.
12 Earl Grey tea bags
1/2 cup packed fresh mint leaves
5 (3-inch) orange rind strips
5 trays ice cubes or 5 pounds crushed ice
Garnishes: fresh mint sprigs and extra orange rind strips
How to Make It
Place tea bags in a 2-quart heatproof glass pitcher. Squeeze mint leaves gently to release flavor, and add with orange strips to pitcher. Add about 2 quarts boiling water, and let cool to room temperature.
Strain tea infusion, discarding tea bags, mint leaves, and orange rind, and return to pitcher. Cover with a plate, and set in a cool dark spot (not the refrigerator) until ready to serve.
Fill 10 iced tea glasses halfway with ice, add tea infusion to level of ice, and fill with water. Garnish, if desired.