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RECIPE: Peach Iced Tea

A couple of days ago, we presented peach drinks with alcohol. Today, we have a favorite recipe for all, peach iced tea.

You can make this recipe anytime with frozen peaches; but there is nothing better than puréeing ripe, luscious summer peaches.

Keep an eye out for “specials” at the store: peaches have achieved peak ripeness and need to be moved out. Not only are they the best-priced; they’re the best tasting for this recipe.

The ripest peaches are the sweetest, too, cutting down on the amount of added refined sugar needed.

Regarding sweeteners: We personally prefer iced tea and coffee without sugar or other sweetener. Others people avoid added sugar entirely.

Depending on your crowd, you may want to make a second, unsweetened, pitcher and provide noncaloric sweeteners.

We adapted this recipe from Jen Pullman, a registered dietitian who creates healthful recipes at Nourished Simply.com. She used green tea in the recipe; substitute black tea if you prefer.

Prep time is 15 minutes, plus chilling. And our ongoing tip: Make green tea ice cubes so you don’t dilute the drink. You can also use peach-flavored club soda instead of plain water ice cubes.
 
 
RECIPE: PEACH ICED TEA

Ingredients For 12 Glasses

  • 3 quarts water
  • 5 green tea bags
  • 4 ripe peaches
  • 1/2 cup simple syrup or 1/4 cup agave*, to taste
  • Garnish: mint sprig, unpeeled peach slice
  •  
    For Cocktails

    You can set out spirits next to the pitcher of iced tea, and let people add their own:

  • Peach schnaps or orange liqueur (e.g. Grand Marnier)
  • Gin, tequila or vodka
  • Garnishes: mint springs, orange slices, peach slices, raspberries
  •  

    Peach Iced Tea
    [1] Purée peaches for a pitcher of peach iced tea (photo courtesy Nourished Simply).

    California Peaches

    [2] Organic peaches from California’s Frog Hollow Farm.

    ________________

    *You can also use honey or stevia. Because agave is twice as sweet as sugar, use half as much.
     
    Preparation

    1. BRING 3 quarts of water to a boil. Add to a pitcher with the tea bags and steep for 5 minutes (not longer, or the tea will get bitter). Let the tea cool to room temperature, then place into the refrigerator to chill.

    2. PEEL and slice the peaches, and place peach in a food processor; purée. Pour the purée through a strainer. Add the strained peaches and simple syrup into the tea pitcher and stir to combine. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

    3. SERVE over ice and garnish as desired.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Watermelon Iced Tea

    Watermelon Iced Tea
    [1] Basic watermelon iced tea, recipe below (photo courtesy Republic Of Tea).

    Watermelon Iced Tea
    [2] Watermelon-pomegranate green iced tea. Here’s the recipe from Watermelon.org.

    Watermelon Iced Tea

    [3] Fresh herbs and watermelon are a delightful pair. Here’s a recipe for Watermelon Basil Iced Tea from The Candid Appetite.

     

    It’s a magical August day here: lower-than-average temperature, low humidity. It’s the rare type of August day when we—a member of the We Hate The Heat Club—are happy to be outdoors. We’ve made some watermelon iced tea to bring with us

    To make your own batch, here are tips and a recipe.

  • Experiment with different teas: black, black flavored, green, rooibos (the different types of tea).
  • Consider leaving the sweetener out of the brewed tea, so it can be enjoyed without any, or customized by each person with a choice of sweeteners (agave, honey, noncaloric or table sugar, e.g.).
  • Consider making watermelon ice cubes, by puréeing seedless watermelon and freezing the purée in ice cube trays.
  • Alternatively, make tea ice cubes. Make extra tea and freeze it in ice cube trays. It prevents the tea from being diluted regular ice.
  • Consider muddling the watermelon for more watermelon flavor. We prefer the taste, although it produces a cloudy drink.
  •  
     
    ADDING HERBS TO ICED TEA

    If you have fresh herbs, by all means use them.

  • You can infuse them in the boiling water, or use them as a garnish.
  • Basil and mint are the most familiar pairings, but chervil, lemon thyme, marjoram, mint, sage, sweet cicely and tarragon are also delicious.
  • You can also experiment with spices, infused into the boiling water: black or pink peppercorns, cinnamon sticks, garam masala, etc.
  •  
     
    RECIPE #1: BASIC WATERMELON ICED TEA

    This recipe is from the Republic Of Tea, which originally created it as a decaf drink for kids, using a fruit-flavored decaf tea (they sell decaffeinated flavors such as Blackberry Sage, Ginger Peach, Hibiscus, Mango Ceylon, Mint and Vanilla Almond).

    Ingredients For 4 Six-Ounce Servings

  • 1 small watermelon, cut into 1″ cubes, or use a cookie cutter to slice watermelon into shapes
  • 3 cups water
  • 5 tea bags of choice
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon agave nectar or sweetener(s) of choice
  • Optional spirits: cherry schnapps or liqueur (the difference), white spirits (gin, tequila, vodka)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE the watermelon cubes on a piece of wax paper and freeze.

    2. BOIL 3 cups of water and pour over tea bags into an infuser in a heat-resistant pitcher. Allow to infuse for 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags and stir in agave nectar. Let the tea cool to room temperature and chill.

    3. SERVE the tea with frozen watermelon cubes or frozen tea ice cues, and serve
     
     
    MORE ICED TEA

    Have An Iced Tea Party

    The History Of Iced Tea

    How To Brew Perfect Iced Tea

    How To Dissolve Sugar In Cold Drinks

     
    IS IT ICED TEA OR ICE TEA?

    Properly, the drink is iced tea: tea that has been chilled with ice. It is spelled this way in primers on editing and by the line editors* of quality publications.

    But, as more and more Americans care less and less about the rules of English, ice tea—tea with added ice—has been making inroads, even among some editors.

    There is precedent: Ice water was originally, properly, “iced water.” We presume that editors in that era of transition were equally chagrinned.

    ____________
    *A line editor is responsible for reviewing each sentence for consistency, grammar, punctuation, spelling and word usage prior to publication. Here’s more.

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Agua Fresca, The Latin American Cooler

    Agua Fresca
    [1] Turn your favorite fruits into agua fresca (photo courtesy and recipe chart below Good Eggs).

    Watermelon Agua Fresca

    [2] If you can borrow a tap dispenser, it’s more convenient than pitchers (photo courtesy Flavor & The Menu).

     

    It’s heading above 90 degrees and humid here for the next few days, and we’re planning enough cool drinks to tide us over.

    Beyond water, sparkling water and our cache of diet soft drinks, we’re making a few quarts of agua fresca. In Spanish, agua fresca means fresh water; but in culinary terms, the water is combined with fresh fruit juice. The result: refreshing cold drinks that are sold by street vendors and at cafés throughout Latin America.

    A traditional agua fresca is an infused, sweetened water, flavored with fruits and/or vegetables. Nonalcoholic and noncarbonated, in the U.S. a similar drink is called a cooler.

    Agua fresca is also available bottled, in numerous flavors, and is made from scratch at home.

    The recipes can include a combination of fruits or veggies, flowers, herbs and/or spices, cereals, seeds, even almond flour. The result is often a more complex layering of flavors than American lemonade and limeade.

    Agua de horchata, a very popular recipe, is made of ground raw rice spiced with cinnamon.

    Other ingredients include flowers (hibiscus), herbs (sorrel), grains (alfalfa, barley, oats, rice), nuts and seeds (almond flour, chía). Try incorporating some of these after you’re already pleased with a basic fruit and/or vegetable recipe.

    HAVE AN AGUA FRESCA PARTY

    Make a few flavors and supply a choice of garnishes.

    Depending on your guests, a choice of clear spirits—cachaca, gin, tequila, vodka—may also be welcome.

  • Fruits: banana, cantaloupe, cucumber, guava, mango, orange, papaya, passionfruit, pineapple, strawberry, watermelon
  • Tart juice complement: lemon, lime, tamarind
  • Garnishes: basil, cucumber wheel, jalapeño, lemongrass, mint, sliced and notched fruit
  •  
    For a vegetable component, cucumber is the most popular (with lime and mint or pineapple). But you can turn to other juices: carrot juice and apple or pineapple, beet juice and berries, etc.

    Keep it light: save the kale and broccoli for the juice bar.

    Chill the drinks in the fridge, but also have a supply of ice cubes.

     

    As an on-trend American update, you can substitute coconut water for all or part of the water in your recipe, especially delicious in this pineapple agua fresca recipe with lemongrass.

    Here’s the agua fresca recipe template. Unleash your inner mixologist and mix different flavors of juice, to create your own signature recipes.

    Agua Fresca Recipe

     

    AGUA FRESCA KEGGER

    A melon tap turns any large, seedless watermelon into a keg (or punch bowl, for a younger crowd), ideal for filling with watermelon-based beverages.

    Simply hollow out the melon, insert the tap and fill it with your beverage of choice.

    A fun element at a gathering, your guests will have a memorable time of dispensing their drinks from a watermelon.

    Serve it as a finale to the last event of the summer.

    Just fill the watermelon with watermelon agua fresca.

    For a hit of alcohol, you can find watermelon-flavored vodka from Smirnoff, Three Olives, Pinnacle (Cucumber Watermelon), UV (Salty Watermelon) and others.

    In the fall, you can do the same with a pumpkin and apple cider (and apple vodka, of course).

     

    Watermelon Agua Fresca In Melon

    [3] A melon tap, available on Amazon, turns a watermelon into a keg (photo courtesy Bradshaw International).

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Flavored Ice Cubes

    Today’s tip is to make flavored ice cubes. They’re the easiest way to add dazzle to everyday drinks, be they club soda, juice, soft drinks, mocktails or cocktails.

    We have long made “party ice cubes” that deliver big impact with no effort beyond freezing a liquid in an ice cube tray.

    The benefits of flavored ice cubes:

  • They don’t dilute the drink as plain ice cubes will.
  • They add extra flavor(s).
  • They colors provide visual appeal.
  • There’s something more to drink when the cubes melt.
  • You get exercise your inner mixologist.
  •  
    OUR FAVORITE WAYS TO USE FLAVORED ICE CUBES

  • Coffee & Tea Ice Cubes. They keep iced coffee and tea intensely flavored to the end. You don’t need to specially brew the coffee or tea if you use leftover coffee from the pot or re-brew tea bags or leaves (they may make weaker tea, but are still good for cubes). Herbal tea ice cubes can also be added to a glass of club soda or juice.
  • Juice For Cocktails. Make cranberry cubes for the Cosmos, pineapple juice for the Pina Coladas, tomato juice for Undiluted Marys. You can make beef bouillon ice cubes for a “Beefy Mary” (a.k.a. Bloody Bull or Bull Shot). Freeze clam juice for a Bloody Mariner/Bloody Caesar.
  • Carbonated Mixers. Whether tonic water for a G&T or cola cubes for a Rum & Coke, or tonic water, these mixers come with a bonus: You can use the flat soda that often results at the bottom of a large size. But you can create new “sodas” as well. One of our favorite summer combinations is lime soda ice cubes in raspberry soda, for a raspberry-lime rickey.
  • Wine Ice Cubes. Make them for sangria, or to keep your poolside wine chilled.
  • Combination Ice Cubes. Add small berries, diced fruit, shredded basil or dill to the cubes: whatever adds to the drink.
  •  
    WHAT ABOUT FREEZING FRUIT DIRECTLY?

    You can freeze any high-moisture fruit, such as:

  • Berries
  • Grapes
  • Melon balls
  •  
    They’ll defrost more quickly than frozen liquid, so consider a combination of frozen fruit and flavored ice cubes.

    MIX & MATCH CHECKLIST

    Soft Drink Mixers

  • Bitter lemon
  • Cola or root beer
  • Flavored seltzer
  • Ginger ale/ginger beer
  • Lemon-lime (7 Up, Sprite, etc.)
  • Other fruit soda: cherry, grape, orange, etc.
  • Tonic water
  •  
    For Creamy Drinks

  • Coconut milk
  • Cream, milk or half and half
  • Eggnog
  • Melted ice cream
  •  
    Juices: Sweet

  • Apple cider
  • Coconut water
  • Cranberry juice
  • Grape juice
  • Grapefruit juice
  • Lemonade or limeade
  • Orange juice
  • Pineapple juice
  •  
    Juices: Savory

  • Brine (save the juice from pickles!)
  • Clam juice
  • Olive juice
  • Tomato juice or V–8
  • Wheatgrass or other vegetable juice
  •  
    MORE ICE CUBE IDEAS

  • Chocolate Ice Cubes
  • Coconut Water Ice Cubes
  • Coffee Ice Cubes
  • Flower Ice Cubes
  • Frozen Fruit Ice Cubes
  • Herb Ice Cubes
  • July 4th Ice Cubes
  • Layered Color Ice Cubes
  • Lemonade Ice Cubes
  • Strawberry-Thyme Ice Cubes
  • Tea, Coffee Or Lemonade Ice Cubes
  • Watermelon Ice Cubes
  • Wine Ice Cubes
  •  

    Fruit Juice Ice Cubes
    [1] Fruit juice ice cubes at Fig & Olive.

    Coffee Ice Cubes
    [2] Coffee ice cubes for iced coffee, or any coffee cocktail (Black Russian, White Russian, Espresso-tini, anything with Kahlúa), from the Angelica Kitchen.

    Strawberry Ice Cubes
    [3] Crushed strawberry and thyme ice cubes at Shari’s Berries.

    Pineapple Ice Cube
    [4] A cube of frozen pineapple at Hakkasan | NYC.

    Colored Ice Cubes

    [5] A stack of flavors from from Mihoko’s 21 Grams.

     
     
    OTHER WAYS TO USE YOUR ICE CUBE TRAYS

    When you’re not using them for ice, here are other things to freeze in your ice cube trays.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Lady Liberty Lemonade, Sangria Or Cocktail

    Here’s a very quick, yet very high-impact, trio of drinks for July 4th weekend. One has no alcohol, one is lightly alcoholic and one is full-cocktail.

    Call them Lady Liberty Lemonade or Lady Liberty Sangria; or add gin, tequila or vodka for a Lady Liberty Cocktail.

    Even if you have time for nothing else, you can make this!

    The amounts needed will vary depending on the size of your pitcher.

     
    RECIPE #1: LADY LIBERTY LEMONADE

    Ingredients

  • 1-2 cans frozen lemonade concentrate
  • 1 pint strawberries
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 2 large apples
  • Star cookie cutter
  •  
    Preparation

    To serve with ice cubes, prepare a can of lemonade and freeze it in ice cube trays, five hours in advance or overnight. This keeps the drink ice-cold without diluting it.

    1. PREPARE the lemonade according to package instructions.

    2. WASH the fruit. Slice the apples, cut the slices into stars, and add all the fruit to the pitcher of lemonade. Chill in the fridge until ready to use.

    RECIPE #2: LADY LIBERTY SANGRIA

    Club soda added to this recipe serves two purposes: to add fizz to a still wine sangria, or to dilute the drink to a lower-alcohol, lower-calorie spritzer.

    Ingredients

  • 1-2 bottles of Prosecco or still, light white wine (see list below)
  • 1 cup white cranberry juice (plus extra if desired for ice cubes)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup triple sec (clear orange liqueur)
  • 1 pint strawberries, washed and halved
  • 1 pint blueberries, washed
  • 2 large apples, washed
  • Star cookie cutter
  • Optional: club soda
  •  
    Preparation

     

    Lady Liberty Lemonade
    [1] The addition of red, white and blue fruits makes this drink a celebration.

    Mionetto Prosecco

    [2] For sparkling sangria, use Prosecco, an Italian bubbly.

     
    To serve with ice cubes, freeze white cranberry juice in ice cube trays in advance.

    1. SLICE the apples, cut the slices into stars, and add all the fruit to a pitcher. Top with the wine, liqueur and juice, and stir gently to combine. Refrigerate until ready to use.

    2. FILL glasses and top off with club soda.
     
    RECIPE 3: LADY LIBERTY COCKTAIL

    Substitute gin, tequila or vodka for the wine in recipe #2.
     
     
    LIGHT WHITE WINES

    These wines are light enough for the hottest days of summer. Consider picking up varieties that you haven’t had before. Even if they won’t unseat your current favorite to drink as is, they will blend beautifully into the sangria.

  • Albariño
  • Aligote
  • Assyrtiko
  • Chablis
  • Chenin Blanc
  • Cortese/Gavi
  • Gargenega
  • Grenache Blanc
  • Muscadet
  • Picpoul de Pinet
  • Pinot Blanc
  • Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Soave
  • Verdejo
  • Verdicchio
  •   

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