Iced Tea Additions & Variations
Although some of the best iced tea comes simply from well-brewed, high-quality tea leaves, it's often fun to jazz up your iced tea with other additions for something new and exciting. Here are a few ideas!
Herbs: A number of different herbs can enhance the flavor and aroma of iced tea. In general, anything that has a minty or citrusy character works nicely with tea, including (but not limited to) mint, thyme, lemon grass, lemon verbena, etc. Simply add the herb in your iced tea pitcher.
Fruit: Various fruits can add complimentary flavor and visual interest to your iced tea. Berries and citrus work particularly well, but it's best to add these after the tea's been chilled (especially citrus, the peels of which can impart a bitter quality).
Fruit Juice: Mixing your iced tea with fruit juice (or lemonade) is a fun way to adapt iced tea, or make it more appealing to those who might not like the taste of tea (who are those people, anyway?). Works really well with kids!
Popsicles: Freeze your iced tea and make it into a refreshing popsicle or ice cube! Use a caffeine free tisane or rooibos to make a great kid friendly treat. Check out our Cooking with Tea section for a great recipe for Tea-flavored Fruit Pops.
Sweet Tea: Those of you in the South are perfectly familiar with iced tea which, by default, is served sweetened with plenty of sugar or honey. To us northerners, ordering tea in the South can be a (sweet?) surprise! Check here for tips on preparing sweet tea and a recipe for simple syrup.
Arnold Palmer: Named for the golf legend, Arnold Palmer, this drink is made with a 50/50 mixture of iced tea and lemonade.
Iced Rooibos: For the uninitiated, the first glass of iced rooibos can be quite a revelation! Because it lacks the astringency of iced tea, it's slippery-smooth on the palate and utterly drinkable. And it's naturally-caffeine free to boot!
Fruit Tisanes: Fruit tisanes, made primarily from dried fruits, are yet another fabulous way to brew up an iced beverage without any caffeine.
Mar"tea"nis: A hip, sophisticated adult-friendly twist on iced tea! Yes, you read that correctly – this drink is all the rage! The Green Tea Martini is particularly fashionable, popping up in bars in Los Angeles, New York City and Miami. However, be creative and use other teas for a new twist!
Green Tea Martini
1 ounce brewed green tea, chilled
1/2 ounce Grand Marnier
2 ounces Citron Vodka
Combine ingredients in a martini shaker with ice and shake until chilled. Pour into a martini glass rimmed with lime juice and sugar. Garnish with lime slices.