One of the best things about the onset of hot, sticky, muggy weather (there are good things!) is upping my intake of iced tea.
I am a tea junkie. Just ask my co-workers. I am almost certain that at work the phrase I utter most often is "Is it tea time yet?" Usually that means a cup of hot tea, with milk and sugar á la anglaise, but this time of year I really start guzzling the cold stuff.
You have to ask special for your tea "unsweet" in North Carolina if that's what you want, because if you don't it will have a thick sugar sludge at the bottom, and taste like liquid candy. I know that some folks consider liquid candy, a.k.a. "sweet tea," to be a nectar of the gods, and so I won't judge. But the thought makes my teeth hurt.
When I was growing up, my grandmother must have made gallons of iced tea every week, which she made from decaf Lipton and kept in two wonderful old dented aluminum pitchers in the refridgerator, complete with foil on top. She made hers unsweetened, and we drank it with lots of lemon. My sister always shoveled in a few spoonfuls of sugar, I think as much for the pleasure of using a long-handled iced tea spoon, but I usually drank mine straight.
Nowadays I make my own special home brew with green tea and mint. Tonight I am trying something fancy with mint and hibiscus, which I had once at the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas, and have wanted to make ever since. I'll let you know after it chills whether the experiment was successful. But here's a recipe for my favorite tasty summer drink:
minty green iced teaIf you really want to know, this tea is my secret to winning at Scrabble - whereas beer is generally the kiss of Scrabble death. Just a word to the wise - feel free to steal my winning secret.
Take an old juice bottle or something & wash it out. Or just use a pitcher. Stick in 4 green tea bags and one peppermint tea bag, and fill almost to the top with filtered (cold) water. I like to sweeten it lightly with a little honey - just pour a little hot water into a teacup with a spoonful of honey in it. Let the honey dissolve, stir well, and then pour it into your pitcher of tea. Make sure you mix it up well. Let your tea cold-brew in the fridge for half a day, or overnight, and then remove the tea bags before serving. This is great served with a slice of lemon or lime, a sprig of fresh mint, or just plain.