my momma started my love affair with "the juices". at any given moment in time, there could be four different juice drinks in our fridge growing up... typically OJ, AJ, cranberry or grape, and a blend of some sort. see, i have a weird aversion to fresh fruit, but i eat a lot of veggies, so to get our fruit intake, we drank a lot of juice, taking care to pay attention to sugar content of course. my least favorite of the juices were the ones that came from packages or frozen concentrate. they never tasted fresh to me so i would dread walking over to the frozen juice section in the grocer. #thestruggle

whelp, i am struggling these days and dishing out damn near $4 for fresh juice is just not in the cards for me. but, while kicking sad rocks away from the Simply Apple the other day, i paused in front of that nostalgic Dole 100% Juice frozen concentrate section and gave it a grab. it was less than a dollar and i was juice starved. but, when i brought it back home, i was perplexed as to what i could do with it. the dreaded frozen juice memories haunted me and stymied my creativity, until serendipity, and my clumsiness, caused my herbal teas to fall onto my counter and a juice blend formulated itself in my mind. if i use it as an ingredient... duh duh duhnnuhhhh!

i chose Wild Sweet Orange Tazo tea. not only is it a great color, but i figured the lemongrass, ginger, and hibiscus flavors would play well with the pineapple concentrate. i've had this tea in my cupboard for a while, along with the Passion blend. i don't make them as often as i used to, but i might have to remedy that this summer...

first, i made a simple syrup with 1/2 cup of raw sugar and 3/4 cup of filtered water. i let it simmer for a bit until the sugar melted and it smelled faintly of caramel, which i also thought would bring a depth of flavor to the juice, instead of a cloying sugary background. agave nectar and honey might also work, but try think outside of the white sugar box.

then, i took four bags of the tea and put some water on to boil. i steeped them in 2 cups of boiling water for about 5 minutes until i got the right strength, which is indicated by the color... a nice deep orange, one of my favorite colors and the reason why i love this tea. should take no more than 5 minutes. steep any longer and it might go bitter.

i have a simple and cute 1-quart carafe into which i put half of the pineapple juice concentrate, followed by the brewed tea and topped it off with 2 cups of cold, filtered water to cool it down. finally, i topped it off with the 1/2 cup of simple syrup, but you can add more or less to your liking.

ta-da! juicy juice. just store in the fridge to completely cool it and let the flavors marry, but don't keep it longer than a couple of weeks. and, as with the case with frozen concentrate juice mixes, you must shake well before serving. serve it straight up or you could mix it with champagne, sparkling water, or ginger ale to really drive the herbal and complex flavors home. serve it with a great meal as i did here:

the exotic, fruity flavors paired well with homemade salmon hash i made for brunch. yum! this should make a perfect summertime drink and could pair well with any type of grilled meat or veggie salad. stay tuned for what else i have in store for the juice concentrate...
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