* Add a sprig or two of your favourite herb to the tea as it’s infusing. (See previous post Ramblin’ about iced tea for cold-infusion method.) I like melissa/lemon balm, any type of mint especially pennyroyal, or rosemary. Roll the sprig gently between your fingers to crush the leaves and release the oil, then toss into the steeping container. Remove before serving, when you remove the tea.
* Stir in some cocoa powder and a touch of sweetener for a lovely and relatively low-calorie treat.
* Use lime juice rather than the usual lemon juice. Cut a lime into quarters, squeeze in a little of the juice, then drop it into the steeping container. If you’re feeling flush, pick up a couple of key limes and give them a try.
* Adding natural flavourings just before serving produces a tasty, refreshing, and also low-calorie beverage. Almond, rose, banana — whatever you like. Usually you won’t need sweetener, but add it if you prefer. Be cautious about how much you add, as these flavourings tend to be rather potent. Three or four drops in a quart should be enough. Find natural flavourings in the supermarket or natural foods stores. If you’re having the gang over and they can’t agree on flavours, serve the iced tea plain and put out two or three small bottles of flavourings so they can choose their favourites. No more than a drop into a tall glass, please!
* Get creative with ice. Freeze in advance cubes of any or all of these: lemonade, individual or mixed fruit juices, pureed fruits (berries work well), or another type of prepared tea that blends well with the one you’re serving. As the ice cubes melt, your iced tea will transform very pleasantly right in the glass.
For more iced tea suggestions, see Cooking with Tea and Tea Time Treats.
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