When people think of iced tea, the thought convenes upon the stereotypical South’s sweet, staple beverage. However, the entire prism should be considered. Not only is iced tea, sweet and unsweetened, a common drink throughout the United States, but it has flavors about which few dare to dream! The following suggestions are for gallon-sized pitchers, adjust accordingly for your needs.
Mint iced tea is common in some areas yet others never once thought of combining the cool, crisp, charged flavor in tea. While enjoying the short brew time of an iced tea maker, the old-style brewing system is preferable for mint. For mint tea, use five tea bags and no less than ten leaves off a mint plant. In a large stove-top pot, pour 16 cups of water, adding the tea bags and all the mint leaves, bring it to a boil before letting it steep as the temperature lowers naturally. Once it’s cooled and your desired strength (the darker the color, the stronger the tea flavor), pour it back into the pitcher with one cup of sugar (two if you’re from the South), stir, add a little ice and serve.
There is always sweetened sun tea if mint isn’t, well, your cup of tea. In a gallon sized jar with a tight sealing lid, add one cup of sugar, five tea bags, and one pealed lemon wedge. It’s recommended to do this in the morning because sweet sun tea takes hours. Place the jar in the sunniest spot in your house or a sunny spot outside for four to five hours. Once completed, open the jar to pull out the lemon wedge and tea bags. Secure the lid, shake, pour into a pitcher with ice and chill or serve.
The best is berry tea. Take about a cup of mixed berries, put in a small saucepan with one cup of sugar, one cup of water and one teaspoon of lemon juice. Heat this until the mixture is hot and the liquid is a solid, dark color. Place a strainer over a bowl to separate the berry remnants from the juices. Pour the juices and your brewed tea into your pitcher. Add ice or chill before serving.
With the hot summer days ahead, why not experiment with your own juices and flavors? There was never a rule written about how one should drink their most favorite, refreshing summer beverage.