It’s well into summer here in the southern Hemisphere. Long hot humid days are upon us. Days perfect for nothing more than cool water swimming and ice cold drinks and iced tea sure does fit the latter.
For me, iced tea fills the void, I love tea but on hot days tea is (mostly?) out of the equation and that is where iced tea fits in. With a subtle sweet tea kick, accompanied with refreshing flavours, there is not much, more satisfying when a summer thirst hits.
There are just some flavour combinations that are hard to beat. Raspberry and verbena is one of those combinations for me. The sweet tartness of the raspberry matched with the lemon lime of the verbena creates a fruity citrus sherbert.
You want to brew your tea slightly stronger tasting that you would like to drink it, as tea cools the flavours mellow. If you prefer a super sweet brew, feel free to add as much sugar as your little sweet tooth desires. Me, I’ve tamed my tooth and now prefer a less sweet brew. It’s all about person preference when it comes to iced tea making. sweetness, flavours and even the type of tea used are interchangeable. Green, white, black, it doesn’t matter. Although, Black tea has a tangy kick from the tannins that I actually really like paired with the fruit.
I simply make it the night before, leave to chill overnight and when you wake up you have a freshing drink for the day. It’s great served in a big jug, in the middle of a lunch or dinner table. The vibrant colour will liven up the table and also your bellies.
If raspberry isn’t you thing, try any combination of your favourite fruits and herbs.
Peach and rosemary
Mango, black pepper and mint.
Strawberry and Holy basil (or sweet basil and a star anise)
Raspberry and Verbena Iced Tea
4 black tea bags
4 tbsp Caster sugar
1.5L Boiled kettle water
15 raspberries fresh or frozen
4 lemon verbena leaves
In a glass jug or bowl combine the sugar, tea and freshly boiled water and stir to disolve sugar.
Add the remaining ingredients give a quick stir and allow to steep for 5 minutes.
Remove the tea bags and allow the raspberry and verbena to continue to steep until cooled.
Strain liquid, then place into the fridge to cool.
Serve over ice with a few fresh raspberries and verbena leaves.
To make this a long iced tea, add a few shots of vodka into the cooled brew.
or perhaps some gin to balance to sweet berry flavour.
If you prefer a sweeter iced tea just add an extra tablespoon or 2 of sugar at the beginning of the recipe.
If lemon verbena is had to find substitute with mint or lemon balm or lemon myrtle.
To make larger quantities simply double or triple the recipe.
Have some left over? Freeze them in icey pop molds to create even cooler summer treats.
Feel free to add your favourite iced tea combinations in the comments.