Iced tea that’s neither funny nor sticky sweet

Gently sweet, sweetly soothing but still tea. A step up from a glass of water at the dinner table.

For all the years I’ve known Stoic (almost 37) I’ve not made iced tea to his liking. “Funny” and “OK” were the kindest comments until now. My mother’s mint tea he found really minty, not his favorite flavor.

Where I come from, central Pennsylvania, tea was for drinking hot when you were sick. The Bostonians and I at the table last night were all gob-smacked by our first experiences with Southern sweet iced tea (sweet tea, you’d never order it with the “iced” around here).

But this mint tea hit the spot last night when our church supper club partied here and one of the hosts (me) refuses to turn on the air conditioning until the heat and humidity become totally unbearable.

I jiggered with an internet recipe, adding a family-sized orange pekoe tea bag for more “tea” flavor, avoided third-degree burns when the glass sun tea container (I’ve used it before with no problems) shattered and carried on with a stainless steel mixing bowl. I let it cool after steeping and switched to two ceramic pitchers to finish it. With no room in the fridge, I covered them with foil, leaving them on the kitchen counter until dinnertime. (My father’s theory was that chilling made iced tea cloudy and he couldn’t drink cloudy tea; my theory is that with a little sipping bourbon before dinner, everything is cloudy. No worries.)

Yes, it has added sugar — 3 teaspoons per 8-ounce serving. But I maintain that’s less than you get in purchased iced tea. Sweet is not the overwhelming taste, and you can pull back on the 1/2 cup sugar in every 2 quarts of tea.

Iced mint green tea 

6 green tea bags

1 family-sized orange-pekoe tea bag

1 quart boiling water

1/2 cup sugar

1 large lemon, sliced thinly

1 big fistful of fresh mint

1 quart cold water

Mint for garnishing (optional)

Steep the tea bags in the boiling water (in a heat-resistant container!!) for 10 minutes. Remove tea bags, add sugar and lemon. Stir sugar until it dissolves with mint. Let sit until cool. Strain. Add cold water. Keep at room temperature until serving over ice with mint garnish.

Another dinner guest, this one a lot crankier than the human ones.

 

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