How to brew perfect ice tea
Refreshing Ice Tea Recipes Have Been Passed Down Through The GenerationsSunny blue skies, lazy days on the veranda, and a tall glasses of perfect ice tea, served with a slice of lemon or a sprig of mint... ahh! Nothing beats summertime. Although many people identify ice tea with summer time, it a refreshing drink that can be served during any season, three hundred and sixty five days a year. If you can boil water, there is no doubt that you can brew a glass of perfect ice tea.
Ice tea recipes have been passed down through the generations, primarily because it is such a simple, delicious and inexpensive drink to make, and the flavor choices are as diverse as brands and varieties of tea. If you prefer decaf tea, its easy enough to select decaffeinated tea bags. The choice of sweeting ice tea with sugar, honey, or other sweeteners can also be left to individual taste or preference. Exotic, herbal, or tropical flavored teas may be ideal for summertime while teas spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger or chamomile are soothing winter beverages.
The Ultimate Ice Tea Recipe:
6 to 8 tea bags
4 cups of boiling water (1 quart)
2 cups cold water
1/2 cup of sugar or ¼ cup of honey
mint or other garnishes
Select your favorite brand of tea, and knot six to eight teabags together. Place the bunch of teabags into a heatproof jug, container or pitcher. (Tieing the bags together will enable you to easily remove them later.) Since you will be pouring boiling water into this pitcher or container, do not use a container that could melt, split or crack as a result of the temperature change. Opt for glazed glass, ceramic or metal.
Next, boil four cups of fresh water in a teapot, pot or pan. When the water is boiling, pour it directly into the heatproof jug that contains your bunch of teabags. Let the stream of boiling water directly splash down onto the teabags in order to help bring out the flavor. Then, cover the container and let the teabags steep in the boiling water. Set the container aside for 6 to 10 hours, or leave container to steep over night.
After 6-10 hours (depending on how strong you want your ice tea) fish the teabags out, squeeze the last few drops out of them to extract all the flavor possible, then discard them. At this point, the tea can be flavored with lemon, orange or other fruits, or sweetened to taste with honey, sugar or artificial sweeteners. Typically, sweetened ice tea recipes call for ½ a cup of white sugar, or ¼ a cup of honey at this time. Several wedges of lemon or can be squeezed into the tea for additional flavor.
Finally, add two more cups of cold water to the pitcher of tea, then stir gently to disperse the flavor and dissolve the sugar. Place the pitcher of tea into the refrigerator and allow it to chill for a few hours.
To serve the ice tea, fill each tall glass to the brim with ice cubes. Pour the cold ice tea over the ice cubes. Garnish each glass with a wedge of lemon. Glasses may also be garnished with a sprig of mint, or other flavored herbs such as lemon verbena, which can add to the flavor, embellish the appearance of the drink, and can ultimately add to the overall experience of enjoying a refreshing glass of perfect ice tea.
NPR: Making the perfect ice tea
TexasCooking.com: Perfect Iced Tea