I fear that I may have a bit of an iced tea addiction. My iced tea habit started off innocently enough; every other day or so I would grab one to go at lunchtime to take back with me to the office. Soon it became every day, and now, well now it’s a problem. Because now it’s a mug of hot tea in the morning at work, my after lunch iced tea, and possibly another glass or two from the pitcher that I brew at home.
But I can’t help it. There is just something so satisfying and refreshing about a tall glass of iced tea on a sunny afternoon. Especially when that sunny afternoon is spent in the office in front of a computer and the iced tea is all I have to keep me going. To answer your question, yes, I do feel a little silly talking about iced tea. But on Fridays were talking about stuff we love, and I just really happen to love iced tea. I like it in all variations; black or green, unsweetened or southern style sweet tea so sweet it will make your teeth hurt, home-brewed or from a powder, you name it and I’ll drink it. Currently I prefer it black, unsweetened, with lemon.
There’s a few different spots I frequent in St. Helena to get my fix. On days I can find a parking spot I’ll go to Model Bakery where they have a tropical tea that I really enjoy; if there’s no where to park I’ll continue on to Dean & Deluca where they have the best ice (shaved). But I don’t particularly enjoy spending just under 3 bucks a pop for some tea, and ever since I realized how easy it is to make at home, it seems there is always a pitcher of it hanging out in the fridge. Right now my favorite tea to use is this one:
I gotta admit I first picked out this particular tea because I thought the tin was so pretty. But I happen to love teas with a bit of fruit flavor to them, and this one has an awesome frutiness to it. With other teas I usually add a bit of lemon and some honey, but this one doesn’t need it. It’s good all on its lonesome.
If we’re talking bout tea, then I got to mention another favorite iced tea incarnation: Sweet Tea Vodka. I first heard about the stuff last summer while visiting family friends in Washington. We went out to dinner and I tried a cocktail which consisted of lemonade and sweet tea vodka, basically a spiked version of an Arnold Palmer.
One sip and I was hooked. This is a super easy cocktail, which just happens to be my favorite kind of cocktail, and can be made in a large batch if you’re having a lot of guests. It may be just vodka and lemonade, but it’s made extra special by using freshly squeezed lemonade and sweet tea vodka. The supermarket near me sells 3 different brands of sweet tea vodka, but I like this one best:
This stuff is dangerous because it tastes so good you'll swear your just drinking a big ol' glass of sweet tea. Mix it with lemonade and you've got a dangerously delicious mixture. I love this cocktail because it's homey, and it's especially cute served in mason jars with some sprigs of mint and lemon.
Ok, so now you know what drink I can't live without - what's your refreshing drink of choice?
Fresh Squeezed Lemonade
1 1/2 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
3 cups water
Stir lemon juice, sugar and water together in a large pitcher. Taste, and add more sugar if necessary.
Boozy Arnold Palmer
1 cup sweet tea vodka
3 cups fresh squeezed lemonade
Mint and lemon slices for garnish
Mix vodka and lemonade together in a pitcher, serve over ice. Garnish with mint and lemon slices.