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Spiked Arnold Palmer Granita

July 16, 2013


Back in 2009, I toured the Firefly distillery on Wadmalaw Island, South Carolina with co-founder Jim Irvin, just a year after he launched the company’s sweet tea vodka line. I haven’t had a Firefly cocktail in ages, but when I do, it’s always in warm weather months when the backyard is buzzing with mosquitoes and the tomatoes are just about to turn from green to blush. It’s my favorite time of the year … the sticky and salty dog days.

Garden & Gun recently profiled Andrea Litvin from The Spence, in Atlanta, and featured her sweet tea granita recipe. After reading the piece, I remembered my Firefly friends from Wadmalaw and, well, this past weekend, I made a batch of spiked Arnold Palmers to quench my thirst (and the heat) using the granita method from Litvin. While it’s lovely on its own, it gets remarkably better with the additions of a swaying porch swing, a hot night, and someone to share it with.


Spiked Arnold Palmer Granita
Makes about six cups
Adapted from Andrea Litvin’s recipe in June/July 2013 Garden & Gun

²⁄³ cup sugar
2 ½ cups water
2 black tea bags, preferably English breakfast or other good-quality tea (This is what Litvin suggests, I used one pitcher-sized bag of Luzianne.)
Zest of 2 lemons
Juice of 2 lemons
1 jigger (1 ounce) Firefly sweet tea vodka

Bring sugar, water, and lemon zest to a boil. Add tea bags and steep for five minutes. Add lemon juice. Strain and cool to room temperature. Pour liquid into an 8-by-8-inch baking dish (any shallow, freezer-proof dish will do); cover with plastic wrap and freeze. After an hour, run a fork through the mixture to break up any large pieces of ice; return to the freezer. Repeat every 15 to 20 minutes until the consistency is fluffy and no large ice crystals remain, about two or three more times. Scoop into glasses. Top with 1 jigger sweet tea vodka and serve.

Granita may be made ahead and stored in a plastic-covered container in the freezer for up to three days. Fluff with a fork before serving.