Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Ah, Iced Tea!

by Lucy Arlington

(This is a another of my posts where I sample a recipe from The Cozy Chicks Kitchen Cookbook.)

Drinking tea is always associated with the British, but tea is also an important part of the day for the Dutch. (In case you didn’t know, half of Lucy--Sylvia--was born in The Netherlands.) We Dutch don’t drink coffee first thing in the morning; ten o’clock is our coffee time. We wake up to tea. And then in the afternoon, when our energy is lagging, we once again turn to a cup of tea.

While I was growing up in Canada, my family continued the Dutch tea tradition, and as an adult I did as well. A hot cup of tea first thing in the morning and a pot in the afternoon.

When I lived in Virginia, I had to learn to ask for “hot tea” rather than just “tea” when I wanted a regular cup of tea; otherwise I’d get a glass of iced tea. And that made sense, considering the climate.  I also learned to ask for “sweet tea” if what I wanted was a glass of sweetened cold tea with a squeeze of lemon in it. So refreshing!

Now that I live in Bermuda, where the summer is hot and oh so humid, I still drink hot tea first thing in the morning. But my afternoon “cuppa” has become a glass of iced tea. So I was excited to find a recipe for sweet tea on page 147 in The Cozy Chicks Kitchen, courtesy of Leann Sweeney (and Jillian Hart). How brilliant it is to sweeten the tea with a cane syrup so there won’t be un-dissolved sugar crystals at the bottom of your glass! In my glass of sweet tea, I use a little less cane syrup than Jillian, and add a slice of lemon.

What is your beverage of choice? Coffee? Hot tea? Iced tea? Iced coffee? Something else?

Jillian’s Sweet Tea  by Leann Sweeney

Ingredients for cane syrup:
5-6 cups granulated sugar
3 cups cold water.

In a saucepan, combine the sugar and in the cold water. 
Heat the liquid on medium-high until the sugar is dissolved and the liquid is clear (about 5 to 10 minutes). 
Cool and pour into a stoppered bottle. Use for sweetening the tea.
Yield: 1 quart

For the tea:
4-6 standard tea bags (the more you use the stronger the tea)
OR 1 ounce good quality loose tea (black tea—not green or white)
1 quart just-boiled water
1 quart room temperature water

Place the tea leaves or tea bags in the bottom of a metal or glass container (do not use a plastic container). 
Bring the water just to the boiling point where it’s bubbling fully, but don’t sustain the water at a rolling boil (over-boiling makes the tea taste flat). Pour the hot water over the bags and allow to steep for 6-7 minutes. 
Pour into a 2 quart pitcher and add the room temperature water. Adding cold water leads to cloudy tea. Allow to cool, or refrigerate. (Never dilute the tea with ice.)
To serve: fill a tall glass with ice. Pour the tea over it, and sweeten to taste. Give each guest a long spoon along with the bottle of sugar syrup for sweetening, as granulated sugar never quite all dissolves.  Jillian pours about ½ cup of cane syrup into 2 quarts of tea when she's making this for herself and her regular tea drinking friends
Yield:  2 quarts