This is the one refreshing drink I really enjoy having when the weather is hot. And water of course, but that really just makes sense, right?
I love it unsweetened. Just plain cold brew tea served in a tall glass with plenty of ice cubes and a few slices of lemon. The perfect Summer thirst-quenching drink in my book.
I am also partial to a sweet version when it is nicely made and not full of artificial flavours.
My younger brother had taken the initiative to go and help give away the iced tea because he was bored of just being on the beach among the crowds of tourists (you could barely find a spot to put your towel on when the tide was high). To thank him, the company took our address so they could deliver a few iced tea cartons to us. The next day, we were given pallets upon pallets of lemon and peach iced tea cartons. Yes, just a 'few'... it filled half of the garage and we had enough iced tea to last us the whole summer and more.
It certainly developed my taste for iced tea. And over the years, as my taste buds evolved, I found myself going towards version of the drink that were less (or not at all) sweet and without any artificial flavouring.
An unsweetened iced black tea served on ice cubes with lemon slices at Balthazar restaurant in New York is what won me over and convinced me to start making my own versions at home.
I used to make it with black tea but over the past few years, I have only been drinking green tea and this is what I use now for my iced drinks. When I have a taste for a sweetened version, I like using homemade syrup from whatever fruit I have been poaching lately. Three years ago, it was pear, vanilla and mint iced tea to make use of the syrup resulting from a dessert of delicious pear Belle Hélène.
This time, I used the syrup from the poached apricot with tonka bean recipe that I shared last week and it flavoured a batch of cold brew iced green tea really nicely.
And yes, I said cold brew. The process is certainly longer but the taste is so much better. Green tea bags (or loose green tea leaves, it is really up to you) are steeped in a jug of cold water and left in the fridge to brew and chill overnight. The result is a batch of iced tea that is already great on its own. I vary the green teas and either brew a batch of regular green tea or go for something with more of a mellow taste such as Japanese sencha tea.
When finishing to prepare the iced tea and sweeten it if I feel like it, I pour some of the syrup I have - apricot and tonka for this recipe - in the jug and stir it. The amount of syrup is not too indulgent and makes for a lightly sweetened iced tea.
Do you like iced tea? Do you prefer it sweetened/unsweetened? Flavoured/unflavoured? What are your favourite flavours?
Ingredients (for 1 litre of iced tea)
1 litre cold water (filtered preferably)
10 green tea bags (about 20g if you are using loose green tea leaves)
80ml apricot and tonka syrup (made from this recipe)
Optional: apricot slices
1. Combine the cold water and the green tea bags in a large jug. Cover and put in the fridge for 12 hours (I prepare this the day before I am planning to serve it).
2. When the cold brew iced tea is ready, discard the teabags. If you decided to use loose green tea leaves, transfer the iced tea to another jug through a fine mesh strainer (or even better: via a coffee filter).
3. Stir in the apricot and tonka syrup and your flavoured iced green tea is ready.
Serve the apricot and tonka iced green tea with a few ice cubes and slices of apricot to decorate. Et voilà!