Nothing says summer like a tall glass of iced tea. Tea expert Ellen Easton shares two special recipes, how to make tea ice cubes, and a lesson on ice tea spoon etiquette too.
CHAI GINGER MINT ICED TEA
Recipe and Photos ©Ellen Easton
TEA CHOICES: choose one. Black: Tea 2 Tablespoons strong, loose-leaf black tea, (Assam, Ceylon, Keemum) or 2 teabags of strong black tea. OR
Green: Tea 2 Tablespoons loose-leaf green Jasmine tea or 2 teabags Jasmine tea or Caffeine-free 2 Tablespoons Rooibos
6 oz. water, 2 teaspoons granulated or super fine sugar
SPICES: 1/8 teaspoon grated or ground star anise (or small piece), 1/8-teaspoon ground cardamom, 1/4-teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/8-teaspoon ground ginger, Fresh mint leaves or 1⁄2 teaspoon dried mint leaves, 1/8-teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional), I use Nielsen- Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract Ground tamarind, to taste (optional) 1/4 tsp. almond extract (optional), Pinch of black pepper, to taste (optional)
Ice cubes (preferably premade from the same recipe) Mint leaves for garnish (optional)
Fill a saucepan with 6 OZ of water. Add in the tea, spices and sugar. Bring to a boil for five minutes. Strain and decant the tea into a pitcher. Allow the tea to cool down. Place in refrigerator for one hour. Remove and allow tea to settle for ten minutes. In a tall glass, pour the tea over ice. Add fresh mint leaves for garnish. Serve immediately. Serves one. Multiply recipe for more serving.
Organic Honey-Lavender Grey Sweet Iced Tea
Recipe and Photos by ©Ellen Easton
Organic Assam or Darjeeling Black Tea, Oil of Bergamot and lavender Flowers. Any other tea of your choice is suitable. If you cannot find oil of Bergamot use a pre blended Earl Grey Tea as your base and add lavender flowers. Too much lavender will be bitter, a little goes a long way, Blend 1 cup of tealeaves, a few drops of oil of Bergamot to taste and 1 teaspoon and lavender flowers to taste.
Golden Blossom or Clove Honey, to taste
Orange Juice and Granulated Sugar, to taste. Garnish- mint leaves
In an open saucepan (not teakettle) bring water to a quick boil. When you can visually see the water bubble remove from the heat. Hot the tea pot- pour a small amount of the boiled water into the empty teapot, swirl and discard. In the pre heated, empty two cup size tea pot place three very level teaspoons of the lavender gray tea blend, one teaspoon of honey and one teaspoon of sugar into the tea pot. Pour the heated water over the leaves into the teapot. Allow the leaves to steep for five minutes. Strain and remove the tealeaves from the teapot and decant into a tall glass or pitcher. Set the glass/ pitcher into the freezer for ten minutes or longer, until chilled.
Remove glass/pitcher from freezer. Add a splash of orange juice and ice cube. Garnish with a slice of orange. Multiply recipe as needed. This recipe may also be served hot without the orange juice.
In advance, prepare the tea as above or use orange juice and place into ice cube trays. Freeze and save until ready to use. When iced tea is served with ice cubes of the same blend or from the fruit juice the beverage is not diluted by the water from a customary ice cube. For decoration, place the lavender flowers in the bottom of each ice cube section, add the tea or juice and freeze.
FLAVORED ICED CUBES
Brew your tea of choice. Place into an ice cube tray to freeze. Remove and serve when using iced tea.
You may add edible flowers and herbs to the blend before freezing.
Citrus juices of orange, lime, lemon and lemonade may also be frozen into ice cube trays to be served with iced tea.
ICED TEA STRAW ~ SPOON ETIQUETTE
Originally, long handled spoons, some straws with hallow stems, were used for parfaits. When iced tea was introduced in the 1800s, so too were taller glasses to accommodate the ice cubes. These long handled spoons/straws became popular for iced tea. The proper way to use a long handled spoon is to stir the sugar into the glass and then remove the spoon to the saucer, horizontally behind the glass. One may leave the long handled straw in the glass only when actually sipping through it.
All Photos ©Ellen Easton
Ellen Easton, author of Afternoon Tea~Tips, Terms and Traditions (RED WAGON PRESS), an afternoon tea authority, lifestyle and etiquette industry leader, keynote speaker and product spokesperson, is a hospitality, design, and retail consultant whose clients have included the Waldorf=Astoria, the Plaza and Bergdorf Goodman. Easton’s family traces their tea roots to the early 1800s, when ancestors first introduced tea plants from India and China to the Colony of Ceylon, thus building one of the largest and best cultivated teas estates on the island.