Think summer is coming to a close? Check the forecast. It looks like summer heat has finally made its way here—just in time for back-to-school! When the weather has got you “hot under the collar” enjoy a glass of refreshing freshly brewed iced tea. Brewed iced tea is nothing like the bottled stuff. Bottled teas are often filled with preservatives and artificial flavorings and can be costly.
Whether you like it sweet or unsweetened, mild or strong, it's hard to deny the allure of a perfectly-chilled glass of iced tea.
There are a few ways to make iced tea. You can brew traditional hot tea and chill it in the refrigerator, or just cool it fast by pouring it into a glass over ice. You could also make sun tea by adding tea bags or loose tea to water in a glass jar, and setting it outside on a hot day; the heat of the sun will slowly brew the tea. Finally, you could go for the cold-brew method: let it steep slowly in the fridge overnight.
If you're sweetening cold iced tea, you'll need to choose a liquid sweetener. Granulated sugar doesn't dissolve completely in cold liquid, so choose maple syrup or agave, or turn your sugar into simple syrup. To whip up simple syrup, just heat equal parts sugar and water in a sauce pot, stir to help it dissolve as you bring to a boil, then let cool. It really is, um, simple. The liquid sugar will combine nicely with your tea—or any other cold beverage that happens to need sweetening.
Perfect Brewed Iced Tea
This is the classic. Add berries or fruit slices to give it unique flavor.
8 regular tea bags (orange pekoe or green tea or a combination)
4 cups cold water
½ cup granulated sugar
1 more quart water
Lemon slices (optional)
Tie the tea bag strings together and place the bags in a heat-proof 2-quart pitcher.
Bring 4 cups cold water (always start with fresh cold water) to a rapid boil. Remove from heat and immediately pour over the tea bags. Add baking soda. Allow tea to steep for 20 minutes or more. This process simply forms the concentrate or tea “essence”. Add sugar as directed, or to taste.
You can store the mixture in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
Remove tea bags, squeeze out excess liquid, being careful to not break open the bags and discard. Fill the pitcher with enough water to equal 2-quarts. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled before serving. Add a dozen or so ice cubes if you like.
Makes 16 servings.
The mild pink color may fool you, but the taste is amazing!
8 stalks rhubarb, cut into 3-inch lengths or 4 cups frozen, thawed
6 white tea bags
8 cups water
1/3 cup sugar, or to taste
Fresh mint sprigs, for garnish
In a large saucepan, combine rhubarb and 8 cups water; bring to a boil, lower the heat. Add the tea bags and simmer for 1 hour. Strain the liquid, add sugar to taste, stirring to dissolve, and allow to cool. Serve over ice with a sprig of mint.
4 Red Zinger tea bags
4 Raspberry Zinger tea bags
¼ cup sugar
1 orange, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 lemon, sliced 1/4 inch thick
Bring 4 cups water to a boil. Add tea bags and steep for 4 to 6 minutes. Remove and discard tea bags. Add sugar and remaining 2 cups water. Refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour.
Fill a large pitcher with ice. Add orange and lemon slices and chilled tea. Pour into glasses with ice, and serve.