When I think of summer, images of light blue swimming pools, colorful swimsuits and tall glasses of iced tea pop into my mind. During the summer iced tea is my beverage of choice. Although I like plain iced tea, I also enjoy experimenting with different flavors. Try these three herbal iced tea recipes to add some zest to this summer drink.
For an especially refreshing taste, try this mint iced tea.
Photo by annamatic3000/Courtesy Flickr
Mint Iced Tea
• 5 cups water
• 1 teaspoon comfrey
• 1 teaspoon rose petals
• 1 teaspoon uva ursi
• 1 teaspoon spearmint
• 1 teaspoon peppermint
1. Bring water to a simmer and stir in herbs, either loose or in a reusable tea bag. Remove the pan from the heat and let stand, no longer than 5 minutes. After 5 minutes the tea becomes bitter.
2. Strain and chill the tea until cool. Serve over ice with a sprig of mint.
For a tart, flavorful drink try this ruby iced tea.
Ruby Iced Tea
• 1 cup lemon balm
• 2 tablespoons dried hibiscus flowers
• ½ cup spearmint leaves
• Juice of 1 lemon
• Maple syrup (to taste)
1. Place the herbs, lemon juice and maple syrup into a gallon jar. Fill with boiling water and let steep for 10 minutes.
2. Strain and discard the herbs. Serve over ice garnished with lemon slices.
For a lightly sweetened, tangy taste, try this lemongrass ginger iced tea.
Photo by toastforbrekkie/Courtesy Flickr
Lemongrass Ginger Iced Tea
• ½ cup sugar
• 7 ½ cups water
• 1 large stalk lemongrass, dry tops and tough outer leaves removed, stalk cut into small rounds (about ¼ cup)
• 1-inch by 2-inch knob of ginger, peeled and chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
• 4 mild black teabags, such as Darjeeling or Assam
• Ice for serving
1. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, 1/2 cup water, lemongrass and ginger. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to the dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the lemongrass and ginger to steep in the sugar syrup for at least half an hour. For more pronounced flavor, place in the refrigerator and allow to steep several hours or overnight.
2. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add the teabags, turn off the heat, and allow the tea to steep for 5 minutes. Squeeze out the teabags and discard. Pour the brewed tea into a heat-proof pitcher.
3. Strain the lemongrass ginger syrup through a small sieve, pressing on the solids to extract as much flavor as possible. Discard the solids, and add the syrup to the pitcher of tea. Add three cups of cold water to the tea, and stir well. Serve over ice.
The combinations of flavors of iced tea are endless. Do you have a great herbal iced tea recipe? Feel free to share it with me in the comment section!
Essential Eating A Cookbook: Discover How to Eat, Not Diet by Janie Quinn (Azure Moon Publishing, 2000).
For more herbal iced tea recipes, visit Summer Brew: Iced Tea Recipes Part 1.