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


Katreader said...

I love tea, especially iced tea. However, no sweet tea for me, no offense, but yuck! I like my tea "black"-no sugar or milk. I do enjoy different flavors and types-just don't make it sweet! My favorite summertime drink, however, is lemonade...and limeade. Of course, I'm also a big wine drinker...and vodka...and...let me stop now! lol

FirstOfMay said...

We've always drank sweetened iced tea in our family. Although I've been told sweet tea and iced tea are two different things. I just always knew it as iced tea. I prefer hot tea since I'm always cold. Haven't been able to drink regular coffee since I was deathly ill at age 16. (And it had nothing to do with coffee.) I also drink Taylor Port Wine. Funny story how I started on that. A resident in the nursing home I was at drank a medicine cup full in the afternoon, so she shared with me. I was 19. Every time the nurses came in, I'd hide it. :) Dr. even told me to drink it a few years ago in front of my mom so she can't say anything. And no, Kings Port does NOT taste the same, no matter what anyone tells you. Will drink Jack Daniels and the vanilla gin (Pinnacle?) when my brother visits.

JJM said...

Hot tea for me, too. Sweetened just enough to bring out the flavour, in the same way salt brings out the flavour in other foods. I used to drink it with milk until I stayed with my grandmother one summer when I was eleven. She took me visiting, the hostess of course served tea (like any proper Dutch housewife would), I timidly begged for some milk to put in it. "What ... you still drink children's tea?!" the hostess exclaimed. (Sylvia: "Wat, drink jij nog kinder thee??") And that shamed me into stopping. :(

My reaction to iced tea has always been an appalled: "What -- stone ... cold ... tea?!" Although I have learned to drink it, I find it only tastes good sweetened and while I'm in the south (U.S.). Same way cotton candy only really tastes good on the midway.

For an instant caffeine wake-me-up jolt, though, I drink Pepsi. And my cold (non-alcoholic) drink on hot days choice is home-made lemonade or lemon-limeade, whereof I always keep a large container in the icebox.

--Mario R.

Aurian said...

Lol, I am a hot tea drinker myself all day long, but I do think coffee has become the most wanted drink here in Holland.

Leann Sweeney said...

Thanks for sharing the recipe, Lucy! Sorry more folks don't indulge in the joys of Southern sweet tea! But heck, Jillian and her friends do :-)

Jake said...

Great book. Enjoying recipes.