behind the bar: emily maynard’s sweet tea sipper

We couldn’t be more excited to share this week(end)’s libation of choice for anyone seeking a little southern charm — a Sweet Tea Sipper. And speaking of southern sweetness, please allow us to introduce you to the creator of this week’s drink, Emily Maynard. Emily is the creative force behind Elva Fields, a company started in 2003 that specializes in unique, timeless jewelry designs made from antique and vintage pieces: “One might find a strand of old paste pearls with an antique carved ivory brooch as its pendant, or a 1930s Bakelite belt buckle clasping glittering chains from just a decade later.” LOVE IT! And with the “one-for-one” philosophy making us feel great about purchasing those Argentinean-styled shoes, we can proudly stand behind our purchase from Elva Fields, as Emily donates a portion of all sales to Backpack Buddies of Spencer County. Be sure to check out Emily’s blog, as well! — Alissa + Ryan

The full recipe is after the jump…


  • one part vodka (we used Rain organic vodka)
  • three parts Rooibee Red Watermelon Mint Tea
  • ice
  • sliced watermelon
  • basil leaf or sprig


Fill glass with one part vodka followed by three parts tea until glass is approximately 3/4 full. Stir gently with a spoon. Add plenty of ice, along with a tiny slice of watermelon on the glass rim and a sprig of basil leaves or a single leaf in the drink. (Feel free to use mint, but we think basil — in the same family — tempers the sweetness nicely!)

Why the Sweet Tea Sipper?

Living in the Kentucky countryside, we spend a lot of time on our deck, enjoying meals, playing cards, spending afternoons with kiddos and pups or celebrating cocktail hour. Goose Creek runs through the woods just beyond the deck, and the running water provides a perfect backdrop for passing warm summer days and nights together — especially sipping on a cool, refreshing beverage with a touch of sweet, southern flavor.

It doesn’t get much more southern than sweet tea, and we hit even closer to home with all of the ingredients in this drink, since we love to shop local whenever we can: Every item featured in the cocktail came from Kentucky or nearby Indiana (just a hop over the Ohio River.) Rooibee Red Tea (delicious on its own) is made in Louisville, Kentucky, and can be purchased online here. Rain organic vodka is bottled in Kentucky’s state capital of Frankfort, the watermelon hailed from a small farm in nearby Vincennes, Indiana, and we picked the basil from a pot on the backyard deck. Honestly, cocktail hour is much more fun knowing you’ve supported a small, local business or savored the fruits of your own labor in the process. Sweet sipping, indeed.

  1. Lindsay says:

    I actually have this vodka and have been trying to find a recipe to use it with because it just isn’t right for martinis- great recipe!

  2. MB@YarnUiPhoneApp1.6 says:

    Looks yummy…might work with Rush Limbaugh’s new Two if By Tea (TM).

  3. This look so dreamy and mouthwatering… literally, I’m salivating (ew!). :)

  4. This looks really refreshing, and easy to make. Perfect!

  5. This looks sooooo lovely!!!

  6. becceboo says:

    Emily is an amazing designer and from the looks of it, bartender, too! Definitely going to try this recipe. Thanks for including her on your blog.

  7. Hi Emily!! This is so fabulous! Glad to see you on here :)
    – Lauryn from Thursday Night Dinner, Louisville

  8. Katie says:

    I thought her name was familiar, then headed to her website and discovered her studio is no more than a half hour from where I live. So cool!

  9. Love this! And I even have those glasses with the matching pitcher! Can’t wait to try this recipe! Sweet, sweet, sweet.

  10. danielle says:

    Love Emily and her jewelry. Love Rooibee Red Tea, especially watermelon mint. Great post! Love the Louisville love! There are some great things coming out of this city!

  11. Leslie says:

    Looks and sounds yummy, especially on a Friday afternoon after a really long work week!!


  12. Emily says:

    Love the glasses. Source?

  13. Sounds so delicious, what a simple & easy idea to use bottled sweet tea! I will be trying a variation of this later today!

  14. Caitlin says:

    Austin has a distillery that makes sweet tea infused vodka (called Deep Eddy: . You can literally just pour it over ice, add some water, whatever garnish you like and voila! A dangerously delicious cocktail.

    Apparently in Texas, we aren’t big on sweet tea unless you add a little danger to it.

  15. This is a must for my next outdoor gathering! thanks!!

  16. Wyetha says:

    That looks really refreshing + I’ll have to try it before the summer ends.

  17. Batty says:

    Looks great! It’s not a true sweet tea though, I wish it was called “Cool Melon Tea Sipper” or something else. I was hoping for a sweet tea recipe.


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