Black Cherry Iced Tea
- 2 1/2 quarts water
- 1 pound fresh black cherries, pitted, or two 10-ounce bags frozen pitted black cherries, thawed
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 3 whole star anise
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
- 16 green-tea bags
- Mint sprigs, for serving
Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the black cherries, sugar, lemon juice, star anise and the vanilla bean with its seeds. Simmer the cherries over low heat for 15 minutes, crushing them against the side of the pan with a wooden spoon. Remove the cherries from the heat, cover and let stand for 1 hour.
Strain the cherry juice through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan, pressing on the solids. Discard the solids. Bring the cherry juice to a boil over moderate heat. Remove from the heat, add the tea bags and let steep for 5 minutes. Discard the tea bags and let cool to room temperature. Transfer the cherry tea to a large pitcher and refrigerate until chilled or for up to 2 days. Serve the tea over ice, garnished with mint sprigs.
Tangy Hibiscus-Lime Iced Tea
- 1 cup each of sugar and warm water
- Zest of 4 limes, removed in strips
- 8 cups cold water
- 3/4 cup dried hibiscus flowers (see Note)
- Ice cubes
In a small saucepan, bring the sugar, warm water and lime zest to a boil. Remove from the heat and let steep for 30 minutes. Strain into a measuring cup.
In a large saucepan, bring the cold water and hibiscus flowers to a boil. Remove from the heat; let steep for 20 minutes. Refrigerate until chilled.
Strain the tea into a pitcher. Stir in 1/2 cup of the lime syrup, or more to taste. Serve the tea in tall glasses over ice.
NOTES Dried hibiscus is available at health food stores, Latin markets and tea shops. If you can't find hibiscus flowers, you can substitute dried rose hips or Celestial Seasonings Red Zinger tea (which contains hibiscus, rose hips and other herbs).