When planning your holiday menu, consider selecting one ingredient to be the star of the show. Not only is this a good way to simplify your shopping list during a busy time of year, it will unify your meal with complementary flavors.

Need some inspiration? Consider sweet tea. Not just a hot or cold beverage, sweet tea can be used in cooking and baking to deepen the flavor profile of mains, sides, desserts and more.

For holiday ease, purchase a ready-to-drink version like Milo’s Famous Sweet Tea—it’s available nationwide and is fresh brewed daily without any added colors or preservatives.

Get started on your holiday meal prep by wowing your family with this simple recipe for a Sweet Tea Turkey Brine:

Ingredients:

• 1 gallon Milo’s Famous Sweet Tea

• 1 cup kosher salt

• 3 large sweet onions, quartered

• 4 lemons, sliced

• 8 garlic cloves, peeled

• 5 sprigs rosemary

• 10 cups ice

• Whole turkey

Directions:

  1. In large stockpot over medium-high heat, combine sweet tea and kosher salt; stir frequently until salt is dissolved. Add onions, lemons, garlic and rosemary. Remove from heat; let cool to room temperature.
  2. When broth mixture cools, pour into clean 5-gallon bucket. Stir in ice.
  3. Wash and dry turkey. Remove innards. Place turkey, cavity-side up, into brine to fill cavity. Cover and place bucket in refrigerator overnight.
  4. Remove turkey, carefully draining excess brine; pat dry. Discard excess brine.
  5. Cook turkey, as desired, reserving drippings for gravy.

For those in need of a pick-me-up before or after dinner, try this recipe for Milo’s Holiday Hot Tea:

Ingredients:

• 12 cups Milo’s Famous Sweet Tea

• Two 12-ounce cans frozen limeade juice concentrate

• Orange, thinly sliced (reserve 1 slice for garnish)

• 12 whole cloves

• 4 cinnamon sticks

• 1 teaspoon vanilla

• 1 cup fresh cranberries

• 1 cup ginger ale

Directions:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a large crockpot and stir. For easier serving, place the cloves into a tea ball or a double layer of coffee filters and close with kitchen twine.
  2. Heat combined ingredients on high for 30 minutes, then reduce to low for an additional 2 hours; or heat on low for 2 hours then reduce setting to warm overnight.
  3. Optional serving garnish: garnish rim of glass with remaining orange slice and sugar in the raw or brown sugar.

For more sweet-tea inspired recipes for your holiday meal, including cobblers, cakes, sauces and dressings, visit drinkmilos.com/recipes.

By using a baking and cooking ingredient you might not have considered before, you can give your holiday meals a delicious twist.