Fruit Tea Punch

Make your own version of the refreshing Nashville original

Photo: Jacqueline Stofsick

While many versions of Nashville’s Fruit Tea call for frozen concentrated juices or lemonades, Carole Nelson says her mother, who ran the Commerce Union dining room in the late 1960s, “would never.” We’ve adapted her recipe for a modern take that reduces the sugar and pays homage to Daisy King of Miss Daisy’s Kitchen, too, with the addition of pineapple juice. If you’d like to add a touch of cinnamon as Kathy Bonnet does for her popular version at the Picnic Cafe, you have that option here as well.

Read more about the history of Nashville Fruit Tea


    • 1 1/2 cups (or about 12 ounces) freshly squeezed orange juice, about 6 oranges

    • 1 1/4 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice, about 5-6 lemons

    • 1 1/2 cups pineapple juice

    • 12 regular-sized tea bags (or 3 family-sized bags)

    • 1 cinnamon stick (optional)

    • 1 cup sugar

    • Mint springs and slices of lemon as garnish


  1. Combine juices in a gallon-sized pitcher.

  2. Brew tea by bringing four cups of water to boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat and add cinnamon stick (if using) and tea bags, dipping and swirling them in the water to fully submerge. Allow the tea to steep for 5 minutes.

  3. Remove the tea bags and add the sugar, stirring to thoroughly dissolve. Allow tea to cool somewhat (about 10 minutes) before adding to the fruit juices. Add water to fill a pitcher and stir to combine with a long-handled spoon.

  4. Refrigerate tea for a few hours or overnight. Remove cinnamon stick (if using) and serve over ice with springs of mint and a slice of lemon.

Recipe by Jennifer Justus