When I was a teenager in the 90's "Ice Tea" was really very trendy. Switzerland had discovered this beverage at the end of the 80's, but it was only a few years later that it got extremely popular...
I remember that "Ice Tea" (here, herbal iced teas - peppermint or alpine herbs - are also labeled as "Ice Tea" - not only the black tea or green tea versions) was the only thing that kids drank (together with Coke, of course - I never loved that drink though) and I was no exception to the rule. At home, we stocked gallons of that beverage (bought in Migros only - my favorite brand). If all cartons disappeared and no "Ice Tea" was left, then you could have been sure that I would make real tantrum. My worst nightmare (LOL). I was so addicted to it that I could not drink anything else. Of course, ingesting so much sugar (so many calories) on a daily basis cannot be good for your body and I believe it is one of the reasons (this and eating a little too well) why I got a little "stocky" (baby fat) when I was 16-18 years old (thankfully it is not the case now anymore, phew).
At this time, certain countries like France or England didn't know what commercial "Ice Tea" was. Once, in Annecy, at a tea room I ordered an "Ice Tea" naively thinking that they were going to get it out of either a carton or a bottle, but to my big surprise the waiter looked at me with big suprised eyes as if I had asked for the most exotic of drinks! He asked me what I meant and I explained what it was. So after a while he came back with a freshly brewed glass of "Ice Tea" that the bartender had made specially for me. It was the most delightful "Ice Tea"I ever had. They had even added a ball of homemade lemon sorbet to it. Fantastic! This little adventure still makes me laugh...
My love for "Ice Tea" has not died, but my I am no longer a fan of the bought kind and I drink lots of water now. My tastes have changed since I have grown older. Industrial "Ice Tea" does not please me anymore. I find it far too sweet, bland, unhealthy and chemical. As my grownup tastebuds demand quality foods, I resolved myself to making my own "Ice Tea". In that way, all my needs and craving can be fulfilled.
After having tested different brands of black teas, I have come to the conclusion that the best one to use when preparing "Ice Tea" is Lipton. Although it is far from being my favorite black tea for making a good cuppa (Twinnings or Palais des Thés black teas are far better as they have more character and are more complex - a totally different class of teas), Lipton "Yellow Label" is perfect when used for making "Ice Tea" as it's not too strong and has light aromas.
I always use a lot of lemon juice and rind to add some character to the brew which would be too boring without that gorgeous citrusy touch. Then I sweeten it with a little light brown sugar and light runny honey in order to give more deepness to my "Ice Tea". Finally, I always integrate a little lemon essence to that drink as it brings an extra lemony kick and freshness to it.
The recipe I am posting today is mine. I tested many different variations and experimented a lot before I found that perfect combination. My "Ice Tea" is neither too sweet, to strong nor insipid. The acidity of the lemons counterbalances wonderfully the sugariness of the sugar and honey, and the exhalirating fragrance of the essence just lifts up the whole flavor in a delightful way. So refreshing and delicious!
~ SOUTHERN-STYLE ICE TEA ~
Recipe by Rosa @ Rosa's Yummy Yums 2010.
Makes about 2.8 litres ice tea.
3 Bags Black tea (I used Lipton "Yellow Label")
2.6 Litres Water
220-240ml Lemon juice (organic/about 2 lemons)
The zest of 1 Organic lemon
5 Tbs Light brown sugar
4 Tbs Runny Honey
1/3 Tsp Natural lemon essence
1. Heat water in a big pan and bring to a light boil.
2. Add the tea bags and let infuse for about 8-10 minutes, then dispose of the bags.
3. Add the rind of one lemon, the sugar, honey and essence. Stir well until the honey and sugar are dissolved.
4. Let cool completely.
5. Sieve the preparation.
6. Put the jugs in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours or until cold.
Don't let the tea infuse for too long or the ice tea will have a bitter taste.
If you find that the ice tea is not sweet enough, then feel free to add a little more sugar or if it is too sweet then add a little water.
Serve at any time of the day or night with ice cubes and slices of lemon or add a ball lemon sorbet to the ice tea.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ THÉ FROID US ~
Recette par Rosa @ Rosa's Yummy Yums 2010.
Pour environ 2.8 litres de thé froid.
3 Sachets de thé noir (j'ai utilisé du Lipton "Yellow Label")
2.6 Litres d'Eau
220-240ml de Jus de citron bios (~2 citrons)
Le zeste d'un citron bio
5 CS de Sucre brun clair
4 CS de Miel liquide
1/3 CC d'Extrait naturel de citron
1. Porter l'eau à ébullition (petit bouillons).
2. Ajouter les sachets de thé et laisser infuser 8 à 10 minutes, puis retirer les sachets.
3. Ajouter le zeste, le jus de citron, le sucre, le miel et l'extrait de citron. Bien mélanger afin que le sucre et le miel soient dissouts.
4. Laisser refroidir complètement.
5. Passer au tamis.
6. Transférer dans un pot et mettre au frigo au moins 2 à 3 heures ou jusqu'à ce que le thé froid soit froid.
Ne laissez pas le thé infuser trop longtemps autrement votre thé froid aura un goût amer.
Si vous trouvez que le thé n'est pas assez sucré alors vous pouvez ajouter soit du sucre ou du miel et si, au contraire, vous le trouvez trop sucré, alors ajoutez un peu d'eau.
Idées de présentation:
Servir ce thé froid à n'importe quelle heure de la journée ou de la nuit avec des glaçons et une tranche de citron ou avec une boule de sorbet au citron.