Welcome to Summer!

Ahh, Summer: the time of year when it’s too hot in my kitchen to bake or cook much (central air vents just don’t go with the whole “tenement chic” look I have going on here in Brooklyn…). It’s also the best time of year to enjoy my favorite beverage : iced tea! I love iced tea of many varieties year round, but nothing compares to the fresh, home-made kind, and it’s never more refreshing than on a hot summer day like today. It’s so easy to make yourself (you can boil water, I know you can…) and if you have a good stash of tea bags in your cupboard, you can make a different flavor each time and enjoy some beverage variety in your life.

My first batch of the summer is Earl Grey with Honey and Lemon. Here’s how I make it:

  • Fill up your pitcher about 3/4 full with water (mine is about 1 3/4 quarts), and then transfer the water to a pot/kettle for boiling.
  • Bring the water to almost a boil, and then turn off the heat.
  • Tie 5 Earl Grey tea bags together at their tags, lay a chopstick over the pitcher mouth, and suspend the tea bag bundle from the chopstick into the pitcher (this makes it really easy to remove).
  • Pour in the hot water, and let it steep for about 15-20 minutes (it depends on your taste for tea-strength, but do let it steep longer than you would hot tea, so it still has flavor when you add ice)
  • Remove the tea bags, and add honey and fresh lemon slices to taste (I used 1 lemon, and about a tablespoon of honey)
  • Fill up the rest of the pitcher with ice, put it in the fridge, and in about a half hour, it’s ready to pour over ice into a glass and drink

I’m sipping it while I write this – it’s perfect – lemony and refreshing, not too sweet and not too tart.

Bon Appetit featured a beverage this month called “The Leland Palmer” — an adult spin on the “Arnold Palmer” (half iced tea, half lemonade), created by another Brooklyner, Damon Boelte, bar manager at Prime Meats. Do you remember Twin Peaks? “Who killed Laura Palmer?” If you don’t remember, part of the answer is: her father, Leland Palmer, and this drink sounds like it will send the kind of shivers down my spine that its namesake once did, but in a good way! Damon’s recipe calls for you to make a honey syrup (dissolved honey in hot water, cooled) and a batch of jasmine tea, mix it with lemon juice, grapefruit juice, gin, and limoncello, and top it off with club soda (see the full recipe here). I think if I added the grapefruit juice, gin, limoncello and club soda to my batch of tea, it would be equally as delicious, while saving a step and an ingredient. The jasmine sounds like a great flavor in there, but I think that Earl Grey maybe suits Leland a bit better. He was probably more of an Earl Grey drinker… but I could be wrong… maybe we can get the Log Lady to ask her log about it… it would surely know…

Spiked or not, give it a try. Go boil some water! You’ll be glad next time you open your fridge that you did.


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