Recipes @ Cool Down with Iced Tea

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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Cool Down with Iced Tea

Iced tea is a great beverage all year round, but it's especially delicious during the hot summer months. On a sweltering day when you've worked up a sweat just moving around, nothing can quench your thirst like a tall, cool glass of iced tea. This refreshing beverage can be made even more delicious when you use flavored herbal teas all steeped together and served over ice.

For the most flavorful iced tea, it's best to choose a herbal tea with a strong flavor. One combination I particularly like is hibiscus mixed with peppermint. The tart flavor of the hibiscus herbal tea is toned down slightly by the soothing taste of peppermint. You can, however, experiment with other teas, such as lemon, chamomile or English Breakfast.

Select eight tea bags and then hang them from an 8-cup glass measuring cup; if you're using loose bags, put them together in a cheesecloth sack, tie up the sack and place it in the bottom of the container. Then pour boiling water over the tea bags and let the tea bags steep for about 10 minutes. It's important not to let the tea bags steep too long, otherwise you'll end up with a rather bitter, insipid tea that will be too strong to drink.

Once the tea is brewed, refrigerate the container at least 1 hour. When you're ready to prepare the tea, pour the brewed tea into a serving pitcher, add 1/4 cup of sugar (or more to suit your taste). Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon into the tea mixture; add more to your taste if desired.

To keep your tea chilled, don't add ice cubes to the pitcher itself; the melting ice will dilute your tea's flavor. Instead, pour the tea into ice-filled glasses (better yet, keep some leftover tea and then freeze the leftovers in ice cubes so that you have flavored ice cubes that won't dilute your tea). Garnish the glasses with thin slices of lemon, and serve. Add a sprig of mint to each glass, if desired.

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