Refreshing and Easy Summer Drinks: Mint Iced Tea and Best-Ever Limeade (or Lemonade)
Iced Tea and Lemonade are the staples of refreshing summer drinks. There's no reason to purchase them off the shelf in the store packed full of preservations, artificial sweeteners, and added sugars. They are easy to make, and with the added twists here, taste much better.
Mint Iced Tea
This ones becomes more refreshing the higher the temperature. The key here is to be very generous with the mint leaves. No matter how many you use, you will not create an overpowering mint flavor because you're pouring minted water over ice and diluting it. So, be generous. Use lots of mint. Besides, not only mint a sign of hospitality in many cultures, it's high in essential vitamins, minerals, phyto-chemicals, and anti-oxidants.
- 15-20 leaves of fresh mint, additional ones for garnish
- 3 cups boiling water
- 2 cups of ice
- slice of lemon or lime (optional)
- Bring the water to a boil.
- Meanwhile, tear the mint leaves into halves and put into a teapot (or other pot that can be covered).
- Pour boiling water over the leaves and cover. Let steep for 8-10 minutes.
- Fill 2 drinking glasses 3/4 full of ice. Pour the hot, minted water over the ice. Garnish with lemon and fresh mint leaves and serve.
How Not to Screw It Up
- Don't rush the steeping and make sure the hot water and mint leaves are covered while they steep. You're trying to maximize the mint flavor that comes out of the leaves without losing heat from the water. If the water cools, you'll be left with flat water rather than mint tea.
- You can use glass drinking vessels because you are pouring the hot water over the ice that is in the glass, so even the hottest of boiling water will not crack your glass.
Limeade (or Lemonade)
Unlike most lime- or lemonade recipes, this one uses the whole lime--peel and all. This way, you don't have to get a workout just trying to juice the limes. Plus, blending the peels along with the pulp and juice adds an earthy flavor and complexity that makes the drink simply exquisite. Easier and tastes better? Now, that's refreshing.
The recipe here fills two 14-oz glasses without ice cubes.
- 2 limes (or lemons)
- 8 cups of water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- Cut the limes into quarters.
- Add all ingredients to a blender and liquify until smooth.
- Pour through a strainer into tall glasses. Serve.
How Not To Screw It Up
- The straining is important. Don't get lazy or you will be drinking more pulp than even pulp-loving drinkers can stand. The peel was left on the lime for flavor...not texture.
- I prefer using limes for this drink as the ones we get in California are free of seeds. Lemons, on the other hand, contain seeds and you should remove as many as you can before you put them in the blender. It's easier on your blender.