It's summertime and a good time to take a lighter approach to tea drinking. Iced tea is always a favorite, but tea can also be used in combination with alcoholic beverages to create unique, enjoyable and TASTY summer cocktails. This article will focus on non-distilled beverages like wine as the alcohol source. This is also ideal for cafes who want to offer interesting alternative cocktails without needing a liquor license. Plus, the alcohol levels are lower so that everyone can enjoy one or two without getting hammered.

Planning a summer gathering? Mojitos are a nice summer cocktail, but if you have a lot of people, muddling the mint and preparing everything can be labor intensive. The great thing about these tea cocktails is that they are easy to scale up in large quantities with minimal work. Plus, your guests will be blown away by the great taste, and the fact that tea is a major ingredient.

Regarding the alcohol, most wine stores will carry small individual or half bottle sizes. You don't need anything fancy. You can keep frozen lemonade concentrate on-hand and use as much as you need. The recipes below are all single serving proportions, but just double, triple the amounts for how much you want. Garnishes like lemons, oranges, mint are optional. When called for, simple syrup is a 50/50 sugar water mixture.

Recipe #1: Tea Sangria

Ingredients:
Blood Orange
or other citrus tisane.
Lemonade
Sparkling White Wine

Directions:
Steep 1/3 cup of blood orange tea
Pour in 1/3 cup of sparkling wine
Add 1/2 cup lemonade

Pour over ice and garnish with citrus

Recipe #2: Pina Colada Punch

Ingredients:
Pina Colada
style fruit tisane
Pinot grigio

Directions:
Brew 3/4 cup of Lotta Colada tea
Add 1/2 cup of Pinot grigio

Pour over ice

Recipe #3 Blackberry Sage Noir

Ingredients:
Blackberry Sage tea
or other dark berry flavored tea
Pinot Noir

Directions:
Brew 1/4 cup of berry-flavored tea
Add in 1/3 cup lemonade
Add 1/2 cup Pinot Noir
Supplement with 1 oz simple syrup

Pour over ice and garnish with berries

Recipe #4: Cucumber Melon Sake

Ingredients:
Cucumber Melon Green tea
or other melon flavored tea (lychee is another idea)
Sake
Lemon

Directions:
Brew 1/2 cup cucumber melon tea
Pour in 1/4 cup sake
Add 1 oz simple syrup
Squeeze juice from a slice of lemon

Pour over ice and garnish with cucumber slice

Bonus Alcohol Free Recipe

Ingredients:
Lavender Raspberry Tea or other Floral Tea
Lemonade

Directions:
Brew 8 ounces of tea according to direction
Add about 1/4 lemonade
Slowly pour tea over ice
Top off with additional ice