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May 30, 2011 04:42 PM

It's 90 degrees and my iced tea pitcher needs some inspiration!

I was reading through a bit of this list over at Epicurious and wondered what CH's considered their most inspired, refreshing and unique take on the perfect home brewed summer iced tea? Has anyone tried any of the ones listed on the Epi site? Have you found some sterling tea blends for iced? I'm in a bit of an iced tea rut and welcome your ideas! TIA! J

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  1. HillJ, this might be really boring and not at all unusual if you like sophisticated iced teas, but I've been using lemon verbena for desserts the past few days and adore it (it's my new obsession). We don't drink iced tea here, but I'm looking forward to using this herb much more over the summer, will probably use it in this way as well. I looked through what I have as soon as I saw your post, nothing here even remotely interesting :(

    7 Replies
    1. re: lilgi

      Good to see you here, lilgi! Hopefully, we'll pick up some new tips together. I am also a fan of lemon verbena steeped in sugar syrup. Start another thread about lemon verbena in desserts so I can learn more from you on that!

      1. re: HillJ

        Will do ;) I posted a few on the Last Course thread, you've gotta try the ice cream you will love it. Meanwhile I'll keep my eye out for some interesting summer teas, this should be a good thread.

        1. re: lilgi

          I must have missed the Last Course thread altogether..

          1. re: HillJ

            Probably cause it got split from a prior thread ;)

            kay, opened my fridge today and realized I had an unopened half pint of fresh blackberries and thought of this. There are a few recipes on line for "blackberry mint iced tea", thought you might like it and I may try this as well. The link below has a few recipes someone posted, there's lemon verbena and one for chamomile I might try.


            1. re: lilgi

              Terrific link with tons of ideas, love it! Thanks, lilgi! Exactly what I was looking for regarding fruit "mash" in the iced tea. Love blackberry!

      2. re: lilgi

        lilgi, I couldn't help but notice lemon verbena which I am a big fan of...What I like to do in the summer is squeeze some lemon, mix with honey (warm up to meld), fill a glass with ice and a few sprigs of lemon verbena, pour syrup over and relish!
        It's also good with rosemary (or both herbs!). Yum.

        1. re: spm

          That sounds wonderful; I've grown so fond of this herb, used it in a few desserts lately including ice cream. The ice cream was my favorite use for it, I luv it!

      3. Great post - I'd like some new thoughts also.

        I'm making two kinds:

        3/4 cup sugar
        1/2 cup lemon juice from bottle ("Real Lemon")
        a large bunch of mint
        8 to 10 heaping spoonfuls (teaspoons) English Breakfast or Earl Grey tea

        In one gallon container, bruise mint in sugar & lemon juice, and let sit while you steep the tea (in another container). Pour steeped tea onto mint mixture, mix well to dissolve sugar, and add cold water to fill container.

        I'm also making a variation of Heidi Swanson's Apricot Nectar Iced Tea:

        5 cups cold water
        5 bags black tea
        5 cups apricot nectar (organic, like Walnut Acres)

        pour the boiling water over the tea bags, steep off heat for 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags & let cool to room temperature if you have time - this keeps it from clouding up. Stir in apricot nectar. Serve over ice garnished w/ mint. This is exactly as good as the apricot nectar, so find a brand you like. There is huge variation.

        1 Reply
        1. re: THewat

          Thank you for commenting, THewat. I'm loving the sound of both of your rec's. Especially the apricot nectar and black tea.

          I have a bunch of loose Rooibos tea, which has a natural sweetness, but I'm looking for a way to spruce up the flavor.


        2. well, the only fruit i want anywhere near my iced tea is lemon. i also love ginger or mint, but i'm not a huge fan of flavored teas beyond that.

          instead of looking for new things to *add* to black tea, how about switching up your *tea leaves* instead? i adore iced green tea - genmaicha, sencha, matcha...and if you like fruity tea you'd probably also appreciate some of the more floral white teas.

          1 Reply
          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            Any ideas for the Rooibos tea I mentioned above? I have plenty of tea on hand and I'm kinda "over" green tea on its own. I use it is so many baked goods already.

            I'd rather grab a cirtus infusion from citrus and flower scents taste like perfume on the tongue sometimes. But, I really want to experiment more.

            I also have a big bag of lavender buds I should use up.

            So, more ideas pls.

          2. Add some dried goji berries and sliced ginger to your brew.

            5 Replies
            1. re: ipsedixit

              Ginger I am definately using a good deal already; I like the spice/heat of ginger. But, goji berries I've never tried in tea. At $18.99 a bag..not a likely item on regular rotation but I'll keep my eyes open for value.

              1. re: HillJ

                If you like ginger in your tea, try steeping some star anise.

                1. re: HillJ

                  HillJ I found some dried gojiberries at Fairway yesterday (don't know what equivalent store is by you), a 4 ounce package for $6 and it must be seasonal or they just brought it in because it wasn't available before. Anyway, the 4 ounce package looked as if it would go a long way and I picked some up since I think I might try this as well (thank you Ipse ;))

                  1. re: lilgi

                    lilgi, last night I made a pitcher of green tea infused with a small dose of coconut water, muddled lychee and a touch of lemon verbena. Just drank my first glass and it was wonderfully refreshing. The lychee was a brillant suggestion and I thank you.

              2. i love using celestial seasonings "red zinger" as part of an iced tea blend. along the lines of using a fruit nectar -- like the epicurious "apricot tea" or "fruit tea" -- the red zinger would be good with some sweetened pomegranate syrup or to go in a mid-east direction -- some rose hip syrup.

                you could make a really concentrated version (ALWAYS a good idea anyway), then dilute with chilled sparkling water and drop raspberries in it.

                yesterday i made the mistake of using all "constant comment" and the tea was just overpowering in the orange spice flavor. it needs to be cut…. maybe i'll cut it with ginger ale for a "punch" effect.

                7 Replies
                1. re: alkapal

                  always great tips from you alkapal! I haven't purchased Celestial Seasonings teas in years; must revisit.

                  1. re: HillJ

                    thanks hillJ -- the red zinger for some reason is a little hard to find. i don't know why, but it is worth it. it also makes such a pretty tea!

                    1. re: alkapal

                      I like any of the "zinger" teas for iced tea - Wild Berry Zinger and Peach Zinger are great too. I don't even sweeten them - I like my iced tea TANGY.

                      ETA: Wild Sweet Orange and Passion by Tazo also make delicious, tangy iced tea!

                      1. re: biondanonima

                        I'll be @ Starbucks tonight so I'll look for the Tazo blend. I know the new line is slightly different. The Chai has changed. Speaking of which...

                        Has anyone made chai iced tea?

                        1. re: HillJ

                          heck yes! i didn't even mention it because i just assumed you'd been there, done that ;) iced chai is delicious.

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            I'm thinking chai iced tea pops (frozen) is in my future...and that's the other aspect I'm going for frozen iced tea pops...I've gotta give that a larger whirl beyond the Vietnamese type.

                  2. re: alkapal

                    Finally tracked down red zinger and a handful of other CS teas yesterday. The line must be very popular in summer, I had some challenge landing them.

                    I'm going to make a tea sangria tomorrow for a party and I'll let you know how well it's received.