Ice tea recipes to beat the heat

WASHINGTON — Shaken, stirred, served with a lemon or lime — iced tea is a quintessential component of a hot summer’s day, especially if you have a porch from which to enjoy your summertime sips.

Look below for WTOP’s best drink recipes.

Classic Iced Tea Before you start jazzing up your iced tea with different flavor combinations, here’s a basic Chowhound recipe for Classic Iced Tea. (Thinkstock)
Peach Iced Tea Iced tea, often brewed with black tea, can reach peach-perfect heights with the addition of homemade peach simple syrup. The Minimalist Baker’s recipe recommends crushing the peaches to infuse maximum flavor. (Thinkstock)
Sweet Raspberry Lime Iced Tea If you prefer tart and tangy to sticky sweet, try this Food Network recipe for Sweet Raspberry Lime Iced Tea. (Thinkstock)
Ginger Peach Iced Tea Popsicles For those people who say everything tastes better on a stick, this recipe for Ginger Peach Iced Tea Popsicles from Republic of Tea is sure to stick. (Thinkstock)
Black Forest Magic Cherries, cocoa and cinnamon come together for this Black Forest twist on iced tea. Find the Mother Earth Living recipe here. (Thinkstock)
Mock Tea Sangria This kid-friendly mock “sangria,” or Spanish punch, brings a flavorful flair to the picnic table. Find the recipe on My Recipes. (Getty Images/iStockphoto/nschatzi)
Strawberry Iced Tea If you’re a fan of strawberry lemonade, try adding strawberry puree and a dash of lemon juice to cooled brewed tea for an extra layer of flavor. Find’s recipe on their site here. (Thinkstock)
Cinnamon Turmeric Iced Tea Spice up your iced tea with a few unexpected ingredients to create this golden iced tea. Find blogger fooduzzi’s recipe here. (Getty Images/iStockphoto/ggustin)
The antioxidants in green tea extract can effectively decrease body weight and promote weight maintenance. (Thinkstock)
Iced Mint Green Tea The oldest printed iced tea recipes were made with green tea, not black, according to What’s Cooking America. Try Eating Well’s refreshing nod to tradition. (Thinkstock)
Rhubarb Hibiscus Iced Tea Floral, raspberry-like notes from hibiscus combine with the tartness from rhubarb in a vibrant drink for spring and summer. Find T8N Magazine’s recipe here. (Getty Images/iStockphoto/larik_malasha)
The antioxidants in green tea extract can effectively decrease body weight and promote weight maintenance. (Thinkstock)


History of iced tea

Good old-fashioned tea has a history that dates back thousands of years, from legends that claim tea was born after tree leaves flew into a Chinese emperor’s cup of boiled drinking water, to a rather gruesome tale about an Indian saint.

In America, South Carolina was the first to grow tea, back in 1795, thanks to French botanist Andre Michaux, who imported the tea plant alongside a variety of other plants.

The first cold teas, served at least since the early 1800s, were made with green tea, often spiked with liquor and referred to as “punch.” Once ice became a more common commodity in the mid-nineteenth century, the iced tea trend really took off.

The oldest printed iced tea recipe, according to What’s Cooking America, was published in Housekeeping in Old Virginia in 1879. The recipe, by Marion Cabell Tyree, called for green tea, sugar, ice and lemon. After boiling then steeping the green tea, she recommended one “fill the goblets with ice, put two teaspoonfuls granulated sugar in each, and pour the tea over the ice and sugar.” She added that a squeeze of lemon “would make it delicious and healthful, as it will correct the astringent tendency.”

In the 1900s, black tea began replacing green tea in an iced beverage, purportedly with the rise of inexpensive black teas imported from India, Ceylon, South America, and Africa.

Mass consumption of iced tea kicked off at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, as people sought cool beverages to beat the summer’s heat. Richard Blechynden, who was offering hot tea from the East Indian Pavilion at the fair, soon realized fairgoers would prefer his tea over ice.

Since then, variations of iced tea have enhanced beverage menus across the United States. In addition to acting as a base for numerous flavor combinations, iced tea has also been touted for benefiting health.

SF Weekly said iced tea is a source of manganese, which helps with wound healing, strengthening bones and boosting metabolism. Regularly drinking iced tea could also lower risk of heart disease and stroke, according to the Tea Association of the USA. In addition iced tea is a source of antioxidants, and the unsweetened version can be a healthier alternative to  sugary soda.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up