Mmm. Iced tea.
It makes me think of summer. And the South. And my mom, for some reason. I don’t know if these associations are based on actual memory or just some story I’ve built in my mind over the years, but nevertheless, iced tea reminds me of my childhood catching tadpoles and camping and generally running amok outside in the balmy Virginia heat. I’m almost 100% certain none of those things actually took place around iced tea, but I like the association just the same.
Now, my version of iced tea is not to be confused with southern sweet tea. Sweet tea is an art. A bragging right and a dietary staple reserved for anyone born and raised below the Mason Dixon. I originally thought about making this a sweet tea tutorial (kind of like my cold brewed coffee post here), but after doing a bit of research I realized sweet tea is embarrassingly easy and not deserving of a whole post (although some Southerners might disagree).
But if you reeeally want to know the secret to sweet tea, I’ll tell you anyway. Ok, are you ready? You sure?
There’s something about the alkalinity of baking soda that cuts down on the bitterness of the tea and gives it a more full-bodied flavor. That’s it!
See? Nothing fancy. I’m sure you’re even a little let down, no?
And now that I’ve spoiled the mystery, let’s move along...
We’ll be making Cucumber Mint Iced Tea. This is a simple twist on traditional iced tea, only lighter and more refreshing. Instead of using black tea, I used a white tea to freshen things up. And once the tea finished steeping, I added cucumber and mint to give it a fancy spa water vibe. Not only is it refreshing but it’s also chocked full of minerals and antioxidants. Add a little bit of raw honey while the tea is steeping if you like yours on the sweet side and you’re good to go.
And just like my cold brew coffee, this can be made in advance and kept in the fridge until you’re ready to drink it. Since I have little patience for kettles and the stove when it’s 90 degrees outside, I like to make enough to last me a few days and then pour a glass whenever I get the itch.
Perfect for lazy summers and impromptu guests and mid-afternoon caffeine fixes.
Cucumber Mint White Iced Tea Recipe
6 white tea bags (I used Twinings)
4 c water
1/2 medium cucumber
1/8 c fresh mint leaves
1 tbsp raw honey
- Bring water to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Pour boiling water into a large, heat-resistant glass container and add the tea bags. Allow to steep for 30 minutes.
- Once the tea has cooled slightly, add cucumber slices, mint leaves, and honey. Stir. Then continue steeping for another 2 hours.
- Remove tea bags and strain tea through a mesh strainer to remove the mint and cucumbers. Pour over ice and serve with fresh cucumber slices and mint leaves for garnish. Add more honey if desired.