For most people, iced tea invokes memories of warm summer days past. For me, I have two very distinct memories of iced tea as a young person: that of my mother’s bitter, plain as can be sun tea she used to brew on the back porch, and the sweet tea, complete with lemon wedges, that my aunt always had in her fridge.
As I’ve gotten a bit older, I have definitely gravitated more towards flavored tea, oftentimes getting creative with new combinations. In fact, I have three recipes that I would like to share.
This one really is as simple as the name implies; pick your tea, I really like the Earl Grey varieties, and then sweeten it. Rather than use granulated sugar, I would suggest honey or agave nectar as it absorbs better. Regardless of your sugar choice, it is critically important that your sweetener be introduced during the hot cycle of the brewing process.
Sweet Tea with Peppermint
For this variation, simply prepare yourself a cup of tea as described above, but use a peppermint stick as the stirrer. Don’t be afraid to let it linger around, either. The longer you leave it in, the greater the potency of the peppermint.
Sweet Tea with Melon Liqueur
This last recipe is definitely more of the adult variety. Again, make your sweet tea as described above, only this time add in melon liqueur. I’ve always used Midori. With mixed drinks, you can go a million different directions. The best ones are those where the alcohol isn’t overly pronounced. This is one of those instances. The melon liqueur adds a hint of sweetness along with a mild fruitiness, not unlike that of peach tea, and has little-to-no liquor aftertaste.
Lemon wedges are probably the first thing that comes to mind. That’s absolutely fine. However, I would take that a step further with frozen fruit pieces. Just about every store in the continental United States sells bagged, pre-cut fruit in the freezer section. Whatever you’re into, whether its strawberries, blueberries, cantaloupe or honeydew, they make an excellent substitute for ice cubes. Only when they melt, they will add flavor to your drink, not water it down.
However you take your tea, keep things simple. The most important characteristics of tea are that it is light, crisp, and refreshing. That’s really what separates it from carbonated beverages. These recipes all embrace those qualities.
Feel free to share these recipes with your friends and families. Also, leave me some comments telling me what you think. Or, even better, share your recipes.