Iced Tea Recipes
Part of my spring “let’s fire up the grill and bring out patio furniture” cleaning ritual is getting the iced tea glasses and pitchers ready for the barbeques and outdoor meals that are on my entertaining horizon. Serving iced tea instead of soda (or pop for those of you with regional linguistic preferences) when the temperatures soar and the humidity climbs is my idea of fancy food. For a little extra effort, quenching your thirst can become a culinary treat.
To be clear, when you’re drinking tea, you’re making an infusion of the dried leaves and buds and sometimes even the twigs of the Camellia sinensis plant. Depending on how the tea is processed, the flavor and color of the tea will vary. Be warned, however, there are lots of quasi teas on the market. These concoctions of fruit, flowers, spices and other “stuff” are also steeped in boiling water, but if it doesn’t contain actual tea leaves, it aint’ actually tea.
That being said, you can call the beverage whatever you want, especially when you go beyond the conventional sweetened tea concoctions and create cool summer drinks by blending them with crushed fruit, fruit juices and spices like cinnamon and ginger. Just about any fruit can be added to iced tea. Pineapples, apples, lemons, peaches, strawberries, blueberries and even mangos add a full-bodied summer flavor to the most mundane teas. Add a few tablespoons of the chopped fruit or juice per cup of hot tea and let it steep until room temperature. Add ice and voila, beverage nirvana.
If you prefer a less sweet beverage and an earthier brew, add a tablespoon of fresh mint, ginger, cinnamon or even rosemary to 2 cup of boiling water and 1 cup sugar. Let the water/herb mixture boil for 5 to 7 minutes and then let it cool to room temperature. Strain the liquid and then add 1 to 2 tablespoons of the liquid to your hot or cold tea. You can add some fruit to the herb mixture for an even more complex taste.
Regardless of what type of tea you choose or what flavors your want to add, the method for brewing the perfect cup of tea will remain the same. Start with cold water and bring it to a boil. Warm the teapot/container/pitcher with a little hot water for about 1 minute before you then empty it. Use one teabag for each 12 oz of hot water you pour into the container. Cover (to maintain the heat) and let steep/set for 3 to 5 minutes.
To give my iced teas a special flair, I like to use honey to sweeten it and then to garnish it with fresh fruit slices, mint or ice cubes with fruit or spices in them. All of the following recipes can be make less sweet by reducing the amount of sweetener you add. It’s all a matter of what you prefer and, no matter how you pour it, they’re all great thirst-quenching fun.
ICED APPLE TEA (pareve)
3 cups water, boiling
4 breakfast tea bags
1/3 cup honey
3 cups apple juice or cider
Pour the boiling water into a pitcher, add the tea bags and steep for 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the tea bags. Add the apple juice and honey. Mix until the honey, tea and juice are combined. Chill and serve over ice. Serves 6 to 8.
RASPBERRY PEACH TEA (pareve)
5 1/2 cups boiling water
4 raspberry-flavored tea bags
2 cups sliced fresh peaches, mashed
1 cup mashed fresh raspberries
1 to 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
Peel and mash the peaches and raspberries and place them in a pitcher with the brown sugar. Add the boiling water and the tea bags. Cover and let steep for 5 to 7 minutes. Remove tea bags and strain out the fruit pulp if you like or leave it in for a fuller flavor. Chill. Strain if you like before serving Serves 8.
CHILLIN LEMON STRAWBERRY TEA (pareve)
1 1/2 cup fresh strawberries, trimmed and sliced
1 lemon sliced
1/2 cup sugar
5 cups boiling water
5 black tea bags
1 can (12 ounce size) frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
2 liters sparkling water
Boil the water in a saucepan and add the tea bags. Let steep for 5 to 7 minutes. While the tea is steeping, combine the strawberries and lemon and sugar in a bowl. Remove tea bags and let the tea cool slightly and add the strawberry mixture. Add the lemonade and mix to combine. Refrigerate until cold. To serve, place 3 ice cubes in a glass add about 3 to 4 ounces of the sparking water to the glass and then fill to the top of the glass with the tea. Serves 12.
Submitted by Cora Salvinestro Chicago IL
CITRUS SURPRISE TEA BASE (pareve)
I’ve had this tea/punch recipe for years and it’s always a big hit at barbecues.
6 tea bags
8 cups boiling water
2 cups sugar
1 (48-ounce) can pineapple juice
1 (12-ounce) can frozen orange juice
1 (12-ounce) can frozen lemonade
Place tea bags in bowl or pitcher. Pour boiling water into a pitcher or leave it in the pan. Add the sugar, stirring for 2 minutes to make sure the sugar dissolves. Add the tea bags and let them steep at room temperature for at least 1 hour to as long as 3 hours. Remove the tea bags and then add the pineapple juice, orange juice and lemonade. Stir to combine. Refrigerate until cold. To serve place 3 or 4 ice cubes in a glass and fill the glass half way up with the tea. Add cold water to the top of the glass. Garnish with slices of lemon or orange or pineapple. Makes 24 servings.
LEMON PINEAPPLE SWEET TEA (pareve)
2 cans (12 ounces each) unsweetened pineapple juice concentrate, thawed
1 can chunk pineapple with juice
1 to 1/2 cups lemon juice
1 to 1 1/2 cup sugar (to taste)
12 cups brewed tea
In a large pot, combine the juice concentrate, lemon juice and sugar in large pitcher until sugar is dissolved. Stir in the tea, pineapple and its juice. Mix to combine. Cover and refrigerate until cold. Taste to see whether it needs more sugar and serve. Serves 12 to 14.
ICED ORANGE TEA (pareve)
5 orange pekoe tea bags
4 cups boiling water
three 2 1/2-inch strips of orange rind
2 cups fresh orange juice
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
sugar to taste
3 cups ginger ale
8 thin orange slices
Pour 4 cups boiling water over the tea and orange rind in a heatproof bowl and let the mixture steep for 10 minutes. Strain the tea into a pitcher, add the orange juice, the lemon juice and the sugar, stirring until the sugar is dissolved, and chill the mixture. Add the ginger ale, pour the mixture into tall glasses filled with ice cubes, and garnish each drink with an orange slice. Serves 8.
Modified from Gourmet Magazine 1984
BLUEBERRY SPICE TEA (pareve)
8 whole cloves
4 cinnamon sticks
8 cups apple juice
8 blueberry tea bags
1 orange, cut crosswise into rounds
Wrap cloves and cinnamon sticks in a coffee filter and secure with kitchen twine. In a saucepan, combine the apple juice and spices just to the boiling point. Remove the mixture from the heat and add tea bags. Let the mixture steep for 5 to 6 minutes, then remove tea bags. Let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until it’s cold. When ready to serve, remove spices. Pour the tea into ice-filled glasses and garnish with orange slices.
Modified from epicurious.com