Friday, August 12, 2011

A Ode to My Favorite Beverage: Iced Tea Recipe Round Up

Summer isn't over just yet, and neither is my thirst for the perfect iced tea. Inspired by the plentiful offerings from my hometown in Virginia (the local cafe has 30+ flavors), I started making my own to take to work each AM. By the look of those fancy, bottled ones, you would think iced tea is this mythical beverage that takes time and expertise to make. However, making it at home is not only easy as pie (easy as tea?), but can be much healthier and not too sweet! A cure from the common "have a little tea with your sugar" syndrome. Also, many of you have probably heard of making "sun tea", i.e. cold brewing iced tea in the sun - this notion is a happy, nature-celebrating one but trust me, your iced tea will procure itself just fine indoors too. The best part of this DIY drink is that you can experiment with various flavors - any tea or herbal tea will do the trick. My method is below plus some other recipe ideas plus cocktails. And trust me - get some bendy straws, it makes consuming iced tea way more fun! 

My Version
1) Fill a two quart pitcher with cold water (just from the tap, not refrigerator cold).
2) Add about 8-12 tea bags of your choice.
3) Add a few sprigs of fresh mint. A little actually goes a long way.
4) Place pitcher in the sun or on your kitchen counter for about 1-2 hours or until the tea is the desired strength (you can always taste test to be sure). 
5) Remove tea bags and mint.
6) Pour tea over ice to serve immediately or pop the pitcher into the fridge to chill.
*Tea will stay fresh for about five days if kept in the fridge. 
**I use all cold water for ease but of course, to speed things up, you can make uber strong hot tea and mix in cold water after.
***It is always better to use more tea bags than less, you can always dilute.

-Play around with the type of tea you use. Fruity, green, and black tea varieties work nicely.
-Serve with lemon wedges or really any citrus or berry you have on hand.
-To sweeten with out using something artificial, add a dash of juice or simple syrup.
-My personal favorite: brew and combination of raspberry and black tea, then pour in lemonade to make a half and half!
-Need tea faster? Not a problem, just brew strong, hot tea, shake with ice in a cocktail shaker and top off with a few more cubes!

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