Muddy Water Cocktail Recipe

Jump to Recipe ⬇️

Muddy Water Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 16, 2024


The Muddy Water cocktail is a non-alcoholic beverage that takes its inspiration from the Southern United States, where iced tea is a staple. It's a refreshing choice for hot summer days, picnics, and family gatherings. The name 'Muddy Water' playfully refers to the deep amber color of the drink, reminiscent of the murky waters of a southern river.

  • Origin: The exact origin is not well-documented, but it's a popular drink in the South.
  • Popularity: It's often enjoyed by those who prefer non-alcoholic options but still want something more exciting than plain iced tea.
  • Variations: Many variations exist, often including a splash of bourbon for an adult twist.

How Muddy Water Tastes?

Muddy Water offers a sweet and tangy flavor profile with a refreshing citrus undertone. The tea provides a robust base, while the lemonade and orange juice concentrates add a fruity zest, making it a delightful drink for quenching your thirst.

Interesting facts about Muddy Water

  • The 'family-size' tea bags used in the Muddy Water cocktail are typically larger and designed to brew a quart of tea, as opposed to the regular-size tea bags.
  • Muddy Water can be customized with various garnishes such as mint leaves or lemon slices to enhance its visual appeal and add a hint of extra flavor.
  • Although traditionally non-alcoholic, Muddy Water can be turned into an adult beverage with the addition of spirits such as vodka or bourbon.


  • Family size tea bags: 4
  • Water: 2 cups
  • Lemonade concentrate: 12 oz(360ml)
  • Orange juice concentrate: 12 oz(360ml)
  • Additional water: 11 cups

Family-size tea bags:

Used for their robust flavor which forms the base of this cocktail. Tea adds a mild astringency and depth. Without it, you'd miss the 'muddy' aspect and complexity.

Mary Mitkina


The universal solvent! It's necessary to steep the tea and dilute the concentrates to the desired strength. Too much water and the drink becomes weak, too little and it's overpoweringly sweet.

Alex Green

Lemonade concentrate:

Adds bright, tangy sweetness and gives the cocktail its zesty character. If excluded, you'll lose that classic lemonade kick.

Emma Rose

Orange juice concentrate:

Compliments the lemonade with a different citrus note, adding a hint of richness. Skipping it would make the cocktail less fruity and dimensional.

Mary Mitkina

Additional water:

This is to achieve the correct balance and consistency. The volume ensures the cocktail is refreshingly light.

Alex Green

Recipe. How to make Muddy Water Drink

  1. Brew the Tea:
    • Heat 2 cups of water in a saucepan until almost boiling.
    • Add 4 family-size tea bags and let steep for 5 minutes.
    • Remove the tea bags.
  2. Mix the Concentrates:
    • In a 1-gallon pitcher, combine the lemonade and orange juice concentrates with the brewed tea.
  3. Dilute:
    • Add about 11 cups of additional water to the pitcher until the gallon mark is reached; stir well.
  4. Chill:
    • Refrigerate the mixture for at least 45 minutes.
  5. Serve:
    • Stir again before serving. Optionally, garnish with lemon slices or mint leaves.

Pro Tips

  • For a more intense tea flavor, allow the tea bags to steep for a longer period before removing them.
  • Use freshly squeezed lemonade or orange juice for a fresher taste if concentrates are not to your liking.
  • Serve over ice in mason jars for an authentic Southern experience.

Perfect Pairings

The Muddy Water cocktail, with its citrusy and refreshing taste, pairs well with a variety of foods. Here are some suggestions:

  • Barbecue: The tangy flavors of lemonade and orange juice can cut through the richness of barbecued meats.
  • Seafood: The acidity and sweetness can complement both grilled and fried seafood.
  • Salads: A light, citrusy dressing on a fresh salad would go nicely with this drink.
  • Spicy Food: The coolness of the drink is a great contrast to spicy dishes.
  • Desserts: Opt for fruit-based desserts like lemon bars or orange sorbet to echo the fruity notes.

Enjoy your Muddy Water with these foods for a delightful experience!

🍹 Discover the Top 50 All-Time Recipes! 🍹

Enter your email, and we'll send the exclusive list straight to your inbox.

We respect your privacy and take protecting it seriously

What you could change in Muddy Water

  • If family-size tea bags are not available, use 12 to 16 regular-size tea bags as a substitute.
  • For a sugar-free version, consider using sugar-free lemonade and orange juice concentrates.
  • To add an alcoholic kick, mix in 1 to 2 ounces of bourbon or vodka per serving.

Explore all drinks starting with M here

And of course - twists🍹

  • Minty Muddy Water: Add a handful of fresh mint leaves to the pitcher before chilling. The mint infuses a bright, herbal note that freshens the palate and adds an extra layer of refreshment.

  • Spirited Muddy Water: Introduce a splash of your favorite bourbon or rum to the mix for an alcoholic kick. The spirit will bring warmth, depth, and complexity.

  • Berry Muddy Water: Muddle fresh berries, such as strawberries or blackberries, with the tea while it's warm. Strain the fruit out before adding the remaining ingredients for a natural sweetness and berry blast.

In case you forgot basics how to make Muddy Water

Insert the spoon into the glass until it touches the bottom. Keep the back of the spoon against the inside wall of the glass, and stir in a smooth, circular motion. The goal is to swirl the ice and ingredients together without churning or splashing.

Learn everything on how to stir

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

Find the cocktail you'd love!

If you want to drink something else - you can use our AI-augmented search to find the best cocktail for you!
Completely free!

Frequently Asked Questions on Muddy Water

Can I use different types of tea for the base of the Muddy Water cocktail?

Yes, while the recipe calls for a standard black tea, you can experiment with green tea, herbal tea, or other flavors as long as the flavor complements the citrus notes.

Is it possible to make a single serving of this cocktail instead of a full pitcher?

Absolutely, you can scale down the ingredients to make a single serving. Just maintain the same ratios of tea, lemonade, and orange juice concentrate.

Are there any specific garnish recommendations for enhancing the presentation of the Muddy Water?

Aside from lemon slices or mint leaves, you could add an orange wheel, a sprig of rosemary, or raspberries for a pop of color and additional flavor.

How long can I store the Muddy Water cocktail in the refrigerator?

The Muddy Water cocktail can usually be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Be sure to keep it in an airtight container or covered pitcher.

Is Muddy Water an appropriate cocktail for a kids' party?

Since Muddy Water is a non-alcoholic drink, it is perfect for kids' parties, especially when you want to serve something special and refreshing.

Can the Muddy Water cocktail be turned into a frozen drink?

Yes, blend the prepared Muddy Water with ice until it reaches a slushy consistency for a cold, icy treat.

Is there a preferred temperature or brewing method for the tea to achieve the best taste for this cocktail?

Brewing the tea with water just below boiling point will prevent bitterness and ensure a smooth flavor. A cold brew method can also be used for a milder tea taste.

More similar recipes to Muddy Water!

Explore new cocktails you'd love!

Please rate this recipe