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Iced Tea: Summer’s perfect beverage

Posted Wednesday, Jul. 03, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Cold-Brewed Iced Tea Makes 4 quarts Cold brewing iced tea overnight is easier than brewing or making sun tea, and there’s none of the bitter taste from heating the tea leaves. Use any tea you like — black, green or herbal — according to taste. 4 family-size tea bags (or 12 to 16 regular-size tea bags — how many you use depends on how strong you like your tea) 4 quarts cold water For each serving: 4 fresh mint leaves 1/4 lime Sugar 1. Fill up a pitcher with water, add the tea bags and place in the fridge overnight. The next day, remove the tea bags. 2. Get out the biggest, tallest glasses you can find, and put 4 mint leaves in each one, along with 1/4 of a lime and some sugar (a couple of teaspoons ought to do it). Muddle the mint, lime and sugar together until the mint and lime are well smashed. (This mojito trick helps the limes and mint release oils, thus intensifying their flavor.) 3. Now pour in the tea. Add some ice. Stir. Drink. Repeat as often as necessary.

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I recently spotted vintage iced tea spoons in an antiques store, and as I held the bundle of long-handled spoons in my hand, I realized how long it had been since I saw, much less used one. I bought the bunch for $5 and took them home.

Then I started thinking about iced tea, a drink that’s as American as Coca-Cola, but somehow never jumped the pond.

The truth is, after living in France for six years, I forgot all about iced tea — because over there, it doesn’t exist.

Now that I’m back in the States, I’ve swapped my afternoon coffee for iced tea. I’d forgotten just how refreshing a cold glass of tea can be on a hot day. Whether served in oversize jam jars or a straight-sided 16-ouncer, the glass must be large.

Iced tea isn’t something to sip like a fine wine. It’s meant to be gulped.

Who among us in the South doesn’t have happy memories of iced tea in the summertime? My mother always made it with dinner, no matter what was being served. That’s the thing about iced tea. It goes with everything.

She always made it in a fat crystal pitcher, a gift when she and Daddy got married in 1956. If there was any left over, it would rest on the top shelf of the fridge with plastic film on top, for the next day.

Thanks to Mom, I’ll take my iced tea just about any way it’s given to me — sweet or unsweetened, shaken and chilled or simply poured over a whole bunch of ice.

Just make sure that it’s in a big glass. Because even the summers are bigger in Texas.

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