Okay, I have to admit that I went a little overboard making up tea flavors for this post. As you will soon see for yourself, there is no limit to the number of different iced tea flavors you can invent. And it couldn't be easier.
I made all of these teas with things that I had in my pantry and fridge. Seriously. I decided to see what I could create with simple ingredients I had on hand.
If you haven't read my post How to Make Refrigerator Iced Tea, you need to understand that technique before trying the ideas in the post. That's the method I used in making all of these teas. I simply added different flavors to my jars of refrigerator tea.
I will explain the ingredients I used in these categories:
Here are the photos and details.
Jams and preserves: I discovered that these work great for flavoring tea. They're packed with good fruity flavors and they add a touch of sweet to to the tea, too.
I didn't want the mushy fruit or seeds floating around in the tea--just wanted the fruit flavor. So, I put the preserves into a tea basket (explained in my refrigerator tea post). It turned out great! I put raspberry preserves into the tea basket, and ended up with delicious raspberry tea. Then I tried peach preserves, and that was delicious, too. SO EASY to add any flavor you want to your tea. You're only limited by the variety of preserves or jam that you have.
Want it sugar free? Easy. Use sugar free preserves or jams.
Even if you're using tea bags for the tea, a tea basket is perfect for straining out the fruit bits and letting the fruit flavor seep into the tea. So, you can put tea bags in the jar with tags hanging over the edge, then rest the tea basket in the jar on top of the tea bag strings. Like this:
Then put the fruit preserves of your choice in the basket, fill it with water, and let it steep in the fridge.
If you're using loose leaf tea, put the tea basket in the jar, add the tea leaves, then add the preserves right in there with the tea, fill with water, and let it steep.
Fruit juices: You can also add fruity flavor to your tea by mixing in fruit juices. Here are some juices that blend well with tea: pomegranate juice (loaded with antioxidants!), apricot nectar, black cherry juice, concentrated frozen lemonade. I also like grapefruit and orange juice with tea. The list goes on. Use your imagination!
Oops, I forgot to include apple cider in the last photo. It's one of my favorites to combine with tea. Don't want to leave that one out!
Spices and flavorings: cloves, crystallized ginger, almond extract, vanilla extract, cinnamon chunks or sticks. The tea basket allows you to add spices easily and let them steep with the tea in the fridge. These are good added to tea with or without fruit preserve flavoring or fruit juice.
Put the spices into the tea basket that's in the tea jar so that they flavor the tea but can easily be removed after the tea has brewed. Ground spices can be used, but they will end up at the bottom of the tea jar and your tea glass; that's why I prefer to use the whole and chunkier spices that I can strain out with the tea basket.
Here's my favorite addition: crystallized ginger. I love ginger tea. The crystallized ginger is sugar-coated, so it sweetens the tea along with adding a yummy ginger flavor. I put the ginger into a plastic bag and pound it with a meat pounder to flatten it and release more flavor (you can also pound it with a hammer or the bottom of a heavy skillet). Then I add the smashed ginger to the tea basket.
You can also cut fresh mint right into the tea basket to make a mint flavored tea. Cutting the mint brings out more of the flavor in the oils of the leaves.
Sweeteners: If you like your tea sweetened, there are numerous ways to sweeten it up along with adding more flavor. Pictured below: maple syrup, caramel sauce, simple sugar syrup*, and honey. Agave syrup is another good option that stirs in well.
*Simple Sugar Syrup dissolves instantly in the tea and is very convenient to have on hand, instead of having to stir sugar into your tea until it dissolves. It's made of equal parts sugar and water. I boil 1 cup of each until the sugar is dissolved and store the syrup in the refrigerator indefinitely. You can also zap the water and sugar in the microwave for 3 minutes, stirring once after 1-1/2 minutes. (It's handy for making mojitos, too!).
Yes, that's right, you can use caramel sauce in your iced tea. I give you permission. It is completely legal, not to mention really, really tasty! It's also good in hot tea. I'll bet a little rum added to that caramel tea would be amazing. Why do I seem to have booze on my mind? Hmmm.
Want it sugar free? Use your favorite sugar-free sweetener.
As you can see, the sky is the limit here. There are so many ways to flavor your tea. And now the fun begins--deciding which flavors to combine.
FLAVORED TEA RECIPES:
These measurements are all for making a full quart of each of the flavors pictured above.
Raspberry Tea--Put tea bags or basket of leaf tea in the jar, add 1/2 cup raspberry preserves to the tea basket, fill jar with water.
Apricot Almond Tea--Pour 1 cup apricot nectar into jar, add 1 teaspoon almond extract, add tea bags or basket of leaf tea, fill jar with water.
Mint Tea--Put tea bags or basket of leaf tea into jar; add a loosely packed 1/2 cup of mint leaves, cutting the mint into the tea basket; fill jar with water.
Apple Spice Tea--Pour 1 cup apple cider into jar; add tea bags or basket of leaf tea; add 2 cinnamon sticks (or 1 tablespoon cinnamon chunks) and 1 teaspoon whole cloves to tea basket; fill jar with water.
Caramel Tea--Put tea bags or basket of leaf tea into jar; add 3-4 tablespoons caramel sauce; fill jar with water.
Pomegranate Tea--Pour 1 cup pomegranate juice into jar, add tea bags or basket of leaf tea, fill jar with water.
Lemonade Tea--Pour 1/2 cup of lemonade concentrate (from frozen can) into jar, add tea bags or basket of leaf tea, fill jar with water. (This is similar to Arnold Palmer Tea.)
Cherry Vanilla Tea--Pour 1 cup cherry juice into jar; add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract; add tea bags or basket of leaf tea; fill jar with water.
NOT PICTURED, BUT OTHER COMBINATIONS TO TRY:
Caramel Apple Tea--Put tea bags or basket of leaf tea into jar; add 3-4 tablespoons caramel sauce; add 1 cup apple cider; fill jar with water.
Ginger Tea--Put tea bags or basket of leaf tea into jar; add 1 tablespoon crushed crystallized ginger to tea basket; fill jar with water.
Ginger Peach Tea--Same as Ginger Tea above, plus add 1/2 cup peach preserves to tea basket or 1 cup peach nectar before filling jar with water.
NOTE: My intention was to have these drinks have added flavors but still taste like tea. If you want them fruitier, increase the amounts of the fruit preserves or juices. If you like sweeter teas, increase the sweeteners. In other words, the above quantities are a starting point. Play around with these and find the combo that fits your tastes.
MAKE IT A COCKTAIL!
You can add a shot of rum or flavored liqueur to any of these flavored teas.
MY BASIC FORMULAS FOR 1 QUART OF FLAVORED TEA:
This could go on and on. So, I'll stop now.
Time to take a break and enjoy a refreshing glass of Apple Spice Tea. With a snickerdoodle. (Wait. Where did I put that bottle of rum?)
I hope you have fun trying these recipes or inventing your own. Please share with me the flavored tea combinations you conjure up. I'd love to hear your ideas and add your recipes to my list.
Make it a yummy day!
Other posts that may interest you: