Summer is the finest season to fall head over heels for homemade iced tea. Over the years, while zig-zagging across the globe, I’ve found inspiration in the cultural nuances of iced tea. Local honey sweetens a glass in Malaysia’s picturesque Cameron Highlands, the luxurious Taj Hotel in Mumbai steeps their signature blend in zippy ginger and American’s from Savannah to New Orleans pair their Southern sweet tea with finger-licking-good BBQ.
Over the last year I’ve tested out several iced tea recipes inspired by my travels. I’ve developed a recipe that offers a perfect harmony of ingredients with plenty of healthful benefits via a low calorie thirst quencher which can be enjoyed over ice at breakfast or in the afternoon muddled in a cocktail with the addition of herbaceous gin and a whisper of sparkling soda.
If I’m home on the regular I prepare a batch of iced tea every two weeks. I’ve found happiness in simplicity, tinkering with a recipe that features quality ingredients that you can taste. The entire process – from warming up your kettle to bottling the last drop takes under an hour. Preparing your own iced tea at home also offers considerable cost savings to those pricy Starbucks beverages and allows you to have a bit of fun in the kitchen by customizing your own recipe with a personal touch. Add festive spices to your batch for the holidays or fresh berries and herbs from the garden in the summer.
What you’ll need:
- hot water
- mixing bowl
- glass bottles
- 1 cup freshly grated ginger
- 2 lemons
- 1 cup high quality loose leaf tea such as TWG Tea’s Darjeeling
- 1/2 cup high quality local honey such as Nude Bee Honey Co
In a large mixing bowl add 1 cup of freshly grated ginger, the fresh juice of two lemons (throw in the peel as it adds a nice tart flavour), 1/2 cup of Nude Bee Honey (or a high quality variety that is local to you), 1 cup of TWG Tea loose leaf (I suggest the Red Chair or Royal Darjeeling – or muddle together both for a bespoke blend). Fill the mixing bowl with hot water from your kettle, stir, and let sit for 30 minutes.
Take a small spoon and sip the tea to ensure it has the correct amount of sweetness that you’re looking for. I consider my recipe to be healthy so it’s not very sweet but you can add more honey if “that’s your cup to tea.” <see what I did there?> Pour the tea through a sieve into a large measuring cup or bowl. Finally, pour your finished tea into jars and store in the fridge. I store my iced tea using a collection of old glass milk jugs, recycled bottles from a local raw juice company and vintage canning jars.
If you find yourself keen for iced tea but busy as a bee, TWG Tea also sells handy Iced Teabags. Luxuriously handcrafted with natural materials, TWG Tea Iced Teabags are hand sewn and free from metal staples and glue which are detrimental to the quality and flavour of the tea. They’re made of light, transparent silk and round in shape, offering a perfect solution if you’re looking to prepare a batch of iced tea in a flash.