Oh how I love my sweet tea! But during the summer, I switch to making sun tea. It is such a cool, refreshing treat, and the little bit of caffeine seems to get me through the afternoon doldrums. It keeps my kitchen cooler since I don't have to boil a gallon of water on the stove and saves the cost of the electricity.
You've probably seen those sun tea jugs in the store - they are plastic with the nozzle on the bottom? I don't recommend them. It is very difficult to get the nozzle clean, and they will start to leak in a short time. I searched for over a year to find my current sun tea jug, mostly looking at garage sales for a large enough jar. I never did find one, but one day I stumbled across this jar at Target - the Ball gallon size jar, and it is PERFECT for sun tea. I paid $15 for it, which is much more than I would have liked, but considering my search has been going on for so long, I justified it and I'm very happy with my purchase.
How to make Sun Tea -
- Fill the jug with about a gallon of water
- I use 4 small tea bags of plain Lipton tea and 2 bags of mint
(When I use mint, I don't need any sugar in my tea.)
- Cover with some kind of fabric to keep bugs out. I recommend cheesecloth or a square cut up from old pantyhose. You can keep it snug around the top with a rubber band or the plastic ring that comes with the Ball gallon size jar.
- Set your jar in the full sun for most of the day. (4-6 hours is good)
- Remove the tea bags, serve immediately over ice, or chill it in the fridge
For a special treat, reserved almost exclusively for company, I like to make strawberry or raspberry lemonade. I usually make lemonade from the frozen cans as I think it tastes the best, but admittedly, it is full of corn syrup. You can also combine 1 c. lemon juice (from lemons or from the bottle) with 1 c. sugar and heat it on the stove until it dissolves. Mix it with water until you have 2 qts. of lemonade. I run 2 c. frozen raspberries or strawberries through the food processor and add the pulp to the lemonade and it is as delicious as any fancy drink you could get at a restaurant!
Lastly, I sometimes enjoy an afternoon iced coffee. If I have leftover coffee from the morning, I mix in a little bit of chocolate syrup, milk and ice cubes. Don't bother paying the big bucks for a tasty treat you can make at home!
It's awfully hot out there! What drinks do you like to make at home to stay cool?