As you know we love a bit of experimenting in the kitchen. Of late our household has been gripped in an exciting new love affair with iced tea. It’s not something that I’ve really drank much of growing up, but I do have memories of the powdery instant lemon tea granules you could buy which would occasionally make an appearance in the kitchen cupboard. I think it was only ever my dad who drank the stuff and I was not tempted by the look of it so stayed well clear.
Well discovering making iced tea at home has been a complete revelation. It tastes so scrummy that I could literally just drink pints of the stuff if I had the chance. What I also discovered whilst experimenting is that with a little dash (ahem ok a bit more than that!) of something alcoholic it turns into quite a lush little summer cocktail to share with friends. Infact, I blame any dodgy spelling or grammar in this post almost entirely on the third glass I’m sipping beside me – hiccup.
There are so many variations on this basic recipe below and everyone has different tastes, some like it sweeter and some more zesty so I would say the best advice is to try out the base mix then adjust to taste. For any iced drinks including iced coffee the key to making it sweeter without getting that nasty grainy feel in your mouth of sugar is to make some sugar syrup. Don’t be scared, this is idiot proof and will keep in the fridge if you make too much.
- 1 cup of granulated sugar
- 2 cups of water
Put the sugar and water into a small milkpan and heat whilst stirring over a gentle heat to slowly dissolve the sugar. Leave to one side to cool slightly whilst you prep the tea.
- 4-8 tea bags of good quality black tea
- 1-2 lemons – peel skin and also squeeze for juice
- tap water
- ice cubes
- large glass bowl
- optional lemongrass
- optional Pimms or rum
Basically what you are doing is making a cup of tea but on a bigger scale and having to wait for it to cool down. Boil the kettle and put the teabags and the peel of the lemons into a large bowl before pouring on the boiling water. You will need to let the bags steep for atleast 5 minutes and give the whole thing a good stir around to let the tea infuse with the lemon and water. Remove the tea bags but be careful not to squeeze them as this releases the tannin from the tea and can make it taste bitter. Now for the patience part, you’ll need to leave to cool and no matter how tempted you are do not put straight into the fridge because the bowl might crack with the sudden change in temperature.
Once it has cooled further you can pop it into the fridge to help chill the mixture down. Now you can add in the lemon juice and stir in aswell as some of the sugar syrup which you’ve had set aside.
Now is the fun bit where you just need to adjust the taste. I found the best way to do this is to pour into glasses adding in a slice of lemon and some ice cubes and a lemongrass stalk to use as s stirrer, Then serve with the sugar syrup in a jug so people can sweeten to adjust to their taste. For the grown ups you can now add in a dash of something to spice up the mix – I tried Pimms and rum oh, almost forgot and gin. I can confirm that all tasted rather nice indeed.
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Remember, adventure is out there!