Refreshing Iced Tea Creations

The warmer days are just upon us. If you’re like me, nothing beats a tall cold refreshing class of Iced Tea. So I thought I’d share some tips for making your own, plus some fun creative ways to serve it to yourself and your guests.

1. Selecting the Tea
If you’re flavoring your tea with fruit or herbs, use a simple green or black tea as a base. Herbal teas are also good choices, just be sure to pair similar flavors. For example, keep citrus flavors with citrus teas and berry flavors with berry teas. The many varieties and flavors of teas available today give you a near endless array of iced tea options.

2. Use Fresh Fruit
Just about any fruit can be added to iced tea. Pineapple, lemon, peach, raspberry, mango and other fruit will give the usual iced teas a fresh summery flavor. To create those fruity flavors, just add a few teaspoons of fruit juice or fruit syrup to the finished iced tea.

3. Use Fresh Herbs
Herbs such as mint, rosemary, sage, tarragon and basil can also make for very refreshing drinks. To create herb flavors, simply boil the herb with water and sugar until a syrup is made. Strain the mixture and stir it into the iced tea. Experiment with flavors by combining a few together like basil and lemon or raspberry and mint.

4. Brew the Finest Tea
When making iced tea, use a family-sized or large container. Boil the water in a tea kettle or pot. When the water boils, pour it over the teabags in the container. For each quart of water, five to six teabags should be sufficient. Tie the bags together so they are easy to remove later on. Let the tea steep for about one hour or longer depending on how strong you like your tea. You can even do it overnight or make sun tea by putting water and tea in the sun and let it steep for hours.

5. Sweeten to Taste
If you are adding a fruit syrup, fruit juice or herb syrup made with sugar, taste your tea before stirring in additional sugar. It’s easier to add more than take away. Always make sure when adding more sugar that you stir it until it’s dissolved.

6. Chill your Tea
Before chilling the tea in the refrigerator, add about 2 cups of cold water (per quart of hot water) then chill it in the refrigerator. Add ice when you serve the tea.

7.Garnishing your Tea
Give your iced tea a garnish that reflects its flavor. Fresh raspberries brighten up raspberry tea, a fresh mint leaf or two is a pretty addition to mint tea, a wedge of fresh peach is perfect for peach tea. If serving iced tea for a crowd, an appropriate garnish can let people know what type of tea is available.

Here’s a recipe that you might like to brew. However, don’t be afraid to try your own creation and when you do, please share it with us.

Raspberry Iced Tea
Makes 12 servings

2 quarts boiling water
10 to 12 black tea bags
3 cups raspberry flavored syrup
Granulated sugar, to taste
4 cups cold water
Fresh raspberries for garnish

1. Pour boiling water over tea bags and let steep for at least 1 hour. Take tea bags out of tea.

2. Pour syrup into tea and stir well. Taste to determine if more sugar is needed. If it is, stir in sugar 1 teaspoon at a time until desired sweetness is reached.

3. Pour 4 cups of cold water into tea then chill for at least 1 hour. Serve with chilled raspberries.

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