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Backyard Iced Tea

Backyard Iced Tea with lemon wedge garnish, served on white marble surface / Tim Nusog

Drinks don’t have to be complicated to be good. The Gin & Tonic, Whiskey Highball and many other simple cocktails prove the point. Consider the Backyard Iced Tea. This laidback refreshment bolsters your DIY repertoire with a thirst-quenching combination of spiced rum, lemonade and iced tea. Take one sip, and you’ll want to break the drink out whenever hot weather requires liquid abatement.

Essentially a spirited take on the Arnold Palmer (iced tea and lemonade), the Backyard Iced Tea doesn’t require much thought or effort, but it does allow for customization. Any bottle of your favorite spiced rum will do. From there, you can pull a bottle of iced tea from the fridge or take the extra step to brew your own. Unsweetened iced tea is the best way to go, as the cocktail receives plenty of sweetness from the rum and lemonade.

About that lemonade: If you want to use a store-bought version, choose one that you enjoy drinking on its own, ideally without too many artificial ingredients or additives. But if you’re open to squeezing some lemons, you can take this drink up a notch. Fresh lemonade—a simple merger of lemon juice, sugar and water—lets you dial in the tartness and rich citrus to your preferences.

The Backyard Iced Tea can be a solo endeavor, but because it is so easy to put together, you can make a large batch in a pitcher and dole out individual servings over ice. A pitcher of rum-spiked iced tea adds a sense of gentility (or at least some carefree fun) to all outdoor affairs and will ensure that your guests stay cool and happy.


  • 2 ounces spiced rum

  • 2 ounces lemonade

  • 1 ounce unsweetened iced tea

  • Garnish: lemon wedge


  1. Fill a highball glass with ice, then add the spiced rum, lemonade and unsweetened iced tea and stir to combine.

  2. Garnish with a lemon wedge.