For the spearmint syrup (makes 1 cup):
1 cup raw cane sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup packed minced fresh spearmint
For the lemonade:
9 1/2 cups water
Scant 1/4 cup gunpowder (pearl) green tea leaves or other Chinese green tea leaves
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Ice, for serving
Spearmint sprigs, for garnish
To make the spearmint syrup: Combine the sugar, water, and spearmint in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir well until hot to touch and the sugar is completely dissolved, about 3 minutes. Let steep for 8 hours or overnight. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a glass jar (compost the mint).
To make the lemonade: Put 2 cups of the water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Let cool for 5 minutes. Add the tea and swirl around for 10 seconds to rinse the tea. Immediately drain the tea leaves in a fine-mesh strainer, discarding the liquid.
Put the remaining 7 1/2 cups water in the same saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Let cool for 7 minutes. Add the tea leaves, swirl around for about 5 seconds, and cover. After 2 minutes, strain the tea through a fine-mesh sieve into a heatproof pitcher. (Compost the tea leaves.)
Add the lemon juice and 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the spearmint syrup. Taste and add more spearmint syrup if desired. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until chilled, about 3 hours. Serve in tall glasses over ice, garnished with a sprig of spearmint.
Reprinted with permission from Afro-Vegan by Bryant Terry, copyright (c) 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc.