As we move into July we are feeling the heat index rise and we are getting hot, oppressively hot and humid, and when we get hot our natural tendency is to drink something refreshing. Experts may tell us that water is the best thing to drink, but we human beings get bored with the same old thing even if it is good for us. Drinking tea has come back into fashion and we are surrounded by a vast amount of information about the health benefits of tea. Summer is a brilliant time to make the best of your body's need for healthy liquid while taking advantage of the profound positive health impact of drinking tea and fresh herbs. Teas made of dried herbs contain powerful antioxidants, vitamins and loads of other good stuff that can be turned into a cooling summer drink that is the perfect solution to a hot day. By adding a touch of summer’s sweet fruits, we get the added pleasure of intoxicating nectars. It is a healthy alternative to a sugary soda pop or high fructose juice drink!
Herb and fruit iced teas are simple to make and can be assembled in a mix and match fashion according to what you have on hand and what you picked up at the farmers market. I tend to be attracted to all kinds of teas in the winter time and when summer comes the idea of a mix and match style iced tea utilizing those teas plus summer herbs and fruits gets me giddy.
Here are some of my best concoctions, many of which you can see us whipping up on the fly at the Ger-Nis Culinary Center when the heat begins to pound on us. Be creative with your flavors, you truly never know what will be this summer’s winning tea!
Summers in Provence load the air with the scent of lavender so potent that one cannot stop imaging all the possibilities in the kitchen. If you are not lucky enough to find yourself wandering the hills of Provence picking the wild lavender, than the obvious next best thing is the abundance of lavender found at local farmers markets throughout the summer. This iced tea is caffeinated and potently lavender, not one for the meek and meager; robust and quenching and superbly delicious. If you want something even more interesting try this recipe with a black smoked tea.
Tarragon and mint have a history of being a truly refreshing duo in the dead of summer’s heat. The addition of summer sweet peaches only makes for a sweeter ad perhaps more sultry experience!
Truly a delightful and deliciously sweet iced tea! Speckled in colorful berries sweet and ripe with flavor this tea is sure to delight and impress the fanciest of folk!
In the desert, they know how to quench thirst. The Israelis, known for their herb usage, take it to a whole new level with their national drink, drank hot or cold.
There is nothing quite as spectacular as the small window of local cherries and this sun soothing iced tea not only delivers the subtle cherry and thyme flavors but a gentle pick me up of black tea.
Nectarines are one of my favorite summer fruits and I am always looking for ways to incorporate this perfect summer flavor into more of what I eat and drink. Nectarines and basil are a lovely pairing the spicy anise flavor melds perfectly with the perfume sweet nectarine flavor. This iced tea is the perfect remedy for my craving and for quenching my thirst!
The herbal flavors of Indonesia for me are the most thirst quenching of all the herbal combinations. There is something amazingly soothing about combining mint, cilantro, thai basil and lemon grass