Summer is here and don’t we know it. After the usual confused picture of weather patterns in various parts of Australia during the spring months, we now see the thermometer readings rising. So what better time to take a look at iced teas, tea frappe’s and mocktails.
Recently we ran a class on this subject for members of the University of NSW, Tea Society and it was good fun. Iced teas have their origins back in America, especially in those southern states who experience hot still summers. Many southern households boast a family recipe for iced or something they call “sun tea” (a cold infusion placed in a sunny spot to brew). Many of us have been shown to make iced teas by first brewing a hot pot of chosen tea, then pouring it over ice and adding fruit. Well here at The Tea Centre we would like to introduce you to what we believe is a much nicer way, cold infused iced tea.
You can almost use anything we refer to as tea including the herbal and fruit infusions, don’t forget Rooibos and Honeybush, they also make great iced teas. The rule we use is one heaped tablespoon (10-12g) per litre of cold water. These should be mixed together in a suitable container with a lid or in an iced tea jug. To this mix add a little sweetener which has been dissolved in hot water, you may use white sugar, honey or your preferred sweetener. Generally we all like a little sweetness when drinking something cold and the amount depends on your taste. A good starting point is two teaspoons of white sugar per litre of iced tea infusion. Put the lid on and place your infusion into the refrigerator to brew overnight or at least eight hours. When you are ready to serve, strain into a clean glass pitcher or jug and add a small amount of ice, complimentary sliced fruit, sprigs or leaves of herbs like mint, be imaginative. Your cold infused iced tea is now ready to serve.
For those who want to be adventurous with their iced tea then frappe’s or mocktails may be just up your alley. By freezing your iced tea infusion in ice cube trays, you can then tip them out into a food blender, give them a whizz, scoop into suitably exciting glasses, serve with a straw and decorate on top. Next time you’re having a party which includes champagne bubbles remember, not everyone wants or can drink alcohol. Be prepared, have a nice iced tea ready but still serve it in the champagne glass. Pop a fresh strawberry or wild hibiscus in the bottom of the glass for something different. Iced teas blended with fresh fruits can create great mocktail or poured over a cocktail cherry in a spectacular glass can look very special.
So this summer get the gang together and have an iced tea party, start a trend and see how far your imagination takes you.