Monday, May 23, 2011

Summer Refreshment Without Deprivation

The heat is on here in Florida, with highs reaching the mid-90's already and heat indexes over 100.  For many, summer and beer, wine coolers and tropical drinks go hand-in-hand.  When we remove alcohol from our lives, we often find a void to fill in terms of summer refreshment.

I am an iced tea fan, and have a collection of recipes for tasty teas that I will be sharing over the coming months.  This is a bit of a departure from the original intent of this blog, but I do love to shake things up!


Lemongrass Ginger Iced Tea

Lemongrass and ginger infuse this lightly sweetened, refreshing iced tea with subtle flavor.

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup, plus 4 cups, plus 3 cups water
  • 1 large stalk lemongrass, dry tops and tough outer leaves removed, stalk cut into small rounds (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1-inch x 2 inch knob of ginger, peeled and chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 4 mild black teabags, such as Darjeeling or Assam
  • Ice for serving

Preparation:

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, 1/2 cup water, lemongrass and ginger. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to the dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the lemongrass and ginger to steep in the sugar syrup for at least half an hour. For more pronounced flavor, place in the refrigerator and allow to steep several hours or overnight.

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add the teabags, turn off the heat, and allow the tea to steep for 5 minutes. Squeeze out the teabags and discard. Pour the brewed tea into a heat-proof pitcher. 

Strain the lemongrass ginger syrup through a small sieve, pressing on the solids to extract as much flavor as possible. Discard the solids, and add the syrup to the pitcher of tea. Add three cups of cold water to the tea, and stir well. Chill the tea, and serve over ice. Enjoy!

Sparkling Jasmine Iced Tea

A sparkling iced tea, flavored with jasmine and brown sugar syrup. A change from the ordinary, with a sweet and floral flavor.

Ingredients:
  • 4 cups water, boiling
  • 3 tbs loose jasmine tea
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups sparkling water

Preparation:

Dissolve sugar in 3/4 cup of water, and boil gently until a syrup has formed. Set aside and let cool. Steep the jasmine tea in the remaining 3 cups of hot water for around 6 minutes. Strain out tea, and let cool slightly. In a pitcher, combine syrup and tea. Stir or whisk until fully blended. Add sparkling water and cool thoroughly. Serve over ice. Can be served with cinnamon sticks, lemon slices or mint sprigs. 

Makes 1 quart of iced tea

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