This year’s Old Farmer’s Almanac calls for the hottest stretch of summer to come this month and next, so you’d do well to stock up on several pounds of loose tea, fresh herbs, a sizable pitcher and a handful of iced tea recipes. You also might want to rethink your method, as most people make crucial mistakes when making iced tea at home. Putting a pitcher in the refrigerator makes tea cloudy, and adding lemons or sweetener to the entire batch adversely affects flavor. Leave the tea on the counter, and let sippers sweeten individually. Loose teas are better because their stronger concentration gives off a brighter flavor, and you can better adjust to individual taste. At A Taste of Britain with Easy Elegance in Devon, owner Tara Buzan brews a variety of fruit-flavored iced teas. Or you can punch things up with a little alcohol for a light, refreshing cocktail. When entertaining at home, Pam McLaughlin, proprietor of the Hill Tea Bar in Chestnut Hill, serves an ice-cold green tea mojito, made with loose tea and white rum.
â€¢ 1 quart cold water
â€¢ 16-20 tsps. loose tea (2 tsp. loose = 1 bag)
â€¢ Mint leaves
â€¢ White rum
â€¢ Bring water to a rolling broil. Steep tea 3-5 minutes and pour hot over cubes in a pitcher. Allow to cool.
â€¢ When ready to serve, pinch several mint leaves off stalks and drop them in the bottom of glasses with ice cubes. Mash leaves against cubes and, if desired, with a bit of sugar. Add more ice before pouring in tea.
â€¢ Top off with white rum to taste, and garnish with a mint sprig.