On a beautiful summers day sipping iced tea is very refreshing and it’s so easy to make at home. All you need is water, teabags, a lemon, some mint and sugar syrup. It does take time as it needs to be left to seep overnight or for at least 12 hours to let the teabags release their full flavour.
Iced tea was invented in the USA in the 18th century. The first recipe for it appeared in “The Kentucky Housewife” in 1839. It is still hugely popular in the South where it’s their signature drink and most restaurants will have large jugs of icy cold super-sweet tea available for their customers.
But is much healthier to sweeten it slightly or not at all. In this recipe the sugar syrup is served separately so that everyone can sweeten it to their own taste. It will keep well in a small jug in the fridge.
Teabags make life easy as you don’t have to strain the tea leaves out. But there are good tasting teabags and some which taste more like sawdust. I used Dilmah single origin (100 percent Ceylon) teabags which came without tags. And this flavoured the tea really well.
There are lots of possible variations on this basic recipe. One we especially enjoyed was adding some Heilala Vanilla Syrup instead of the sugar syrup.
I have also dropped slices of ripe (but no too ripe) stone fruit (nectarines or peaches or plums) into the tea at the same time as I added the teabags. This added a light fruity flavour.
You could also experiment with using different kinds of teas such as green or rooibos.
Simple Iced Tea: The Basic Recipe
To make it :
Pour 4 cups of water from the tap (no need to boil) onto 6 teabags
Leave covered in the fridge overnight ( or for at least 12 hours)
Simple Sugar Syrup:
Pour 1/2 cup of boiling water over 1/2 cup of castor sugar and stir well to dissolve.
Put some ice blocks in each glass
Pour the cold tea over the top
Add a squeeze of lemon juice
And a sprig of mint
Pass the sugar syrup and some lemon quarters separately so each person can sweeten their tea and add more lemon juice to their own taste.
Recipe by Lyn Potter
Read more from Lyn at Focussed On Food