Memorial Day weekend is the perfect time for all beverages tall, icy-cold and effervescent: Freshly squeezed lemonade stained bright red with summer rhubarb, a sparkling fruit spritzer, a tropical smoothie that transports you to a far-off island or an amber-colored glass of strong, home-brewed iced tea.
Iced tea represents golden summers, lingering long over conversations on the porch in the shade, barbecues and cookouts and running through sprinklers. As the temperature warms up, condensation forms on the outside of the cold glass and begins to drip, sliding down and pooling around, tempting you to bring it to your brow to cool off.
Iced tea lends itself to countless variations — spicy, fruity or herbal notes all play well. In this version, I touched on all three by matching bold, caffeinated black tea with the heat of fresh ginger, the acidity of lemon, lime and orange, and the earthiness of fresh thyme.
Ginger citrus thyme iced tea
Makes 1 pitcher
For the tea:
8 cups water
2-3 cold brew iced tea bags (depending on how strong you like your tea)
4 cups ice cubes
1 half an orange, thinly sliced
1 half a lemon, thinly sliced
1 lime, thinly sliced
For the ginger thyme simple syrup:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
3 1/4 inch slices of fresh ginger
2 thyme sprigs
1. Steep the tea bags in the 8 cups of water in a tall pitcher for 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, prepare the simple syrup: In a small saucepan over high heat, stir together the sugar, water, ginger and thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 2 minutes. Remove the syrup from the heat and strain.
3. Remove the tea bags from the pitcher of water and add the ice cubes. Stir in the orange, lemon, lime slices, thyme sprigs and simple syrup until combined.
4. Serve over ice with additional citrus slices and thyme.
*Note: This recipe can also be made with regular black tea bags. Follow the package directions for brewing iced tea, cool, then add the ice, citrus slices, thyme sprigs and simple syrup as written.
Maya Wilson lives in Kenai and blogs about food at alaskafromscratch.com. Have a food question or recipe request? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and your inquiry may appear in a future column.