Spiced Iced Tea

Much like mulled wine, a Spiced Iced Tea is a celebration of spices and their diverse yet cohesive flavours. In a large pan, heat water with tea bags, and add cinnamon sticks, cloves, mint leaves, and lemon slices. One can also add other spices as desired. Once sufficiently steeped, strain and enjoy chilled, served in a glass full of ice.

While tea has been around for thousands of years, the concept of an iced tea is a relatively recent phenomenon. Throughout the 19th century, it was a well kept secret among several American families. Some recipes from the 1800s that mention iced tea refer to a green tea base and the recipes often include hard liquor. One such 1839 recipe reads:

“Tea Punch - Make a pint and a half of very strong Tea in the usual manner; strain it, and pour it boiling (hot) on one pound and a quarter of loaf sugar [2½ of white sugar].

Add half a pint of rich sweet cream and then stir in gradually a bottle of claret or of champagne. You may heat it to the boiling point and serve it so, or you may send it round entirely cold, in glass cups.”

The shift of iced tea from local beverage to global phenomenon can be traced to a 1904 World’s Fair at St Louis. Here, Richard Blechynden, a tea plantation owner and seller, was sampling hot tea. Since it was a particularly hot day, there weren't many takers. Thinking on his feet, he decided to pour the tea into glasses full of ice. And there was no turning back for the famed iced tea.

Today, it’s a popular drink served in cafes and restaurants across the world, with premixes and powders ready for home cooks to instantly make it, and with a popularity that’s only growing. And the Spiced Iced Tea is just one variation of this versatile drink.