Summer. A simple word, filled with so much meaning. And now that we’ve had a taste of it, we want more! We’re waiting in the wings to tick things off our summer bucket list. On the very top: picnics for every meal! Of course, a nice home-made iced tea is the star of every al fresco meal.
Making ice tea at home is not a real skill, it’s not witchcraft. Yet, whenever I serve my iced tea concotions to literally anyone, they’re always like “whoh-ooaa what is this?”. It’s ice tea, and it’s really simple to make! Every time it tastes different – because, like a witch – you add a bit of yourself and your mood to your brew. Follow my recipe for this version – or a few “rules” that I inclucde to make sure your witches concoctions turn out delicious every time.
“Witches” Iced Tea
2 large cups freshly brewed herbal tea of your choice (I used Kusmi X SPECIAL.T “Be Cool”)
3 tbsp. honey or sugar (or more to taste)
4 sprigs lemon balm or mint or a combination
1-2 cups cold water
1 blood orange, squeezed
1 organic lemon, 1/2 squeezed & 1/2 cut into slices / triangles
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
2 cinnamon sticks
Brew the herbal tea and pour it into a large tea pot or a jar with a lid (if you want to use it for a picnic). Add the honey and fresh herbs of your choice and let brew a bit. The concoction should be quite a strong tea by now. Add cold water, orange and lemon juice and slices, vanilla and cinnamon. Leave to cool in the fridge for 1-2 hours and chilled. Remove all the chunky bits and maybe even sieve through a fine-mesh sieve or cheese cloth. Enjoy with ice cubes.
And here are my general rules of thumb to create your individual, perfect-every-time iced tea concotion at home.
- Start with about two cups full of very strong tea: freshly brewed hot teas as a base. Also a mix of blends is possible, e.g. rooibos, herbal mix, mint, green tea. You can also simply add maybe 4-5 teabags if you’re using instead of loose tea.
- Add a handful of fresh herbs: like lemon balm, mint, thyme, rosemary, sage to the still hot tea. Lemongrass adds a wonderful flavor as well.
- Add a couple of tablespoons of sweetness: sugar, honey, agave syrup, maple syrup or any syrup of your choice (elderflower is a favorite of mine). I calculate about 2-3 tablespoons per liter, depending on other ingredients.
- Add a cup or so of fresh juice. Freshly squeezer orange or lemon juice is always good. But play around with e.g. cranberry juice, strawberry juice or even a smoothie that you have left in your fridge. Adding juices or smoothies makes the tea look a bit more “concoction-ey”, which I think is a nice touch, because the tea gets obscure.
- Add a handful fresh fruit or berries. Sliced (organic) lemons or oranges with the peel on looks very cute. Adding raspberries, blueberries or strawberries (frozen also works very nice) adds a summery twist.
- Add a surprise element: like vanilla beans (split and scraped plus adding the whole bean), cinnamon sticks (it’s my go-to, so good!), lemongrass, rosemary, fresh or dried flowers or cucumber.