Iced Tea and Other Summer Thirst Quenchers

The temperatures are steamy, but tea can still be tops for quenching thirst. While many tea lovers stick with the hot stuff year round, others may want something on the colder side. Here are some ideas for helping tea drinkers turn their enjoyment to icy treats.

Put it on ice

thumb_120809_icedtea_120px.jpgThe easiest way to transform tea into a cold beverage is to steep as for hot and then chill it in the refrigerator overnight. But who wants to wait?

For faster iced tea, use twice as much loose tea as usual and steep to make a double strength tea concentrate. Pour it over ice so the tea is icy cold but doesn’t taste diluted. (This strategy can also be used to make hot tea for a crowd. Make this same tea concentrate and add hot water to prepare a quick cup.)

Try freezing leftover tea to make tea ice cubes for another way to chill your glass without diluting your drink.

Cold brew tea has been gaining fans, promising a smooth tea flavor without bitterness. The process is reminiscent of traditional sun tea, but without the concerns about bacteria growth.

WTN140512_CBTL_TeaGranita (1)Frozen treat favorites

An icy tea granita brings to mind the childhood joy of a snow cone, but with a more grown up flavor. Prepare a double strength tea concentrate with a strong dose of sweetener. (The sweet flavor will decrease with freezing.) Pour it into a tray and freeze, scraping it with a fork every 30 minutes until it is a grainy, icy treat that’s ready to eat. The sweetened tea concentrate can also make a tasty tea popsicle.

Root beer floats may fill your memories, but a tea soda float can become the new favorite. Start with two tablespoons of sweetened tea concentrate in a glass and add a few ounces of seltzer water. Add a scoop of ice cream and top the glass with more seltzer.

Try steeping the milk and cream for your favorite ice cream recipe with loose leaf tea. Steep it strong for about 15 minutes and then strain. Use this cream in your ice cream base for a refreshing tea ice cream.

Accentuate the positive

Bump up the flavor by adding a little extra something. Citrus juice and zest can provide some zing. Muddle stone fruits like plums, peaches or nectarines for classic summer flavors. Add sliced oranges or berries for a treat you can also eat. Consider exploring your herb gardens for lemongrass, mint or basil.