THIS RECIPE IS SPONSORED BY ARBOR TEAS | OPINIONS ARE MY OWN
I don’t know what the weather has been like for you over these past few months, but here in North Carolina, it’s been a meteorological rollercoaster. If we could be done with that, that would be great. I’m longing for that brief but beautiful period between the frigid winter and soggy summer when we’re spoiled with a breezy 70-80 degrees. And I want to hold onto those days ever-so-tightly, because once the summer swaddles us with its hot and sticky hands, I’ll want to be done with that too.
Can’t win, won’t win.
That’s why it’s crucial to have a go-to summer thirst-quencher ready, chilled, and available in your fridge; one that also acts as a cure-all for those irritating days at work. (Despite working from home, I have those too.)
Though I’m known for my boozy sangrias, there’s a new punch in town; let’s just say that “tea time” has reached a brand new high ;)
This ruby-hued Spiked Hibiscus Iced Tea is part of the spring collaboration for #ConnectingOverCocktails. This is our third installment, and the collection of libations gets more and more exciting every time! For this installment, we decided to work around a floral theme to welcome spring. Because I’ve recently transitioned from being an I-need-a-coffee-IV-attached-to-my-arm type of person to a tea-all-day-every-day type, I wanted to boast my newfound appreciation. And there was no better way to do that than with my favorite tea folks over at Arbor Teas! *chest bump* I knew that their organic, sustainable, and fair trade petals would be pure perfection for this mélange, and after preparing a pitcher of this good stuff, I was beyond satisfied.
This brew is refreshing AF and gives off floral notes mixed with lemony bits and earthiness. The addition of fresh mint adds a soothing cooling effect.
(Oh, and did I mention the blueberry vodka?)
With some lemon simple syrup, sweetening is totally flexible, as it should be with tea. I drink my tea black in the morning, so I prefer my spiked tea to NOT taste like a candied fruit drink; you could even skip sweetening altogether.
I’ve had hibiscus tea from a regular ol’ tea bag before. Though it was good (using the term kind of loosely there), I thought the flavor fell flat for what it boasted itself to be on the side of the box. There was nothing tart, earthy, or floral about it. It was more like an unsweetened fruit juice.
A few days ago, I started my morning with a cup of Arbor Teas Organic Hibiscus before whipping up a batch of the cold stuff. At first sip, I was quick to realize what I’d been missing out on this whole time. Not only is this blend mouth-puckering, but it has an earthiness that is reminiscent of beets. BEETS! (I love beets.)
These pretty petals can be used to create an Agua de Jamaica (or Agua de Flor de Jamaica, or Rosa de Jamaica) in the comfort of your very own kitchen. In it’s simplest form, this Latin American drink brings an infusion of hibiscus flowers with lemon and sugar to your glass. That’s what inspired this drink. That, and my unruly urge to spike something with the godsend that is blueberry vodka.
To see more of what Arbor Teas has to offer, you can check out their Website. Don’t forget to like them on Facebook and Instagram as well!
Making this recipe? Snap a pic and tag me on Instagram: @Killing__Thyme /#killingthyme. For more delish eats, follow me on INSTAGRAM + PINTEREST.
Spiked Hibiscus Iced Tea
- 1/4 cup Arbor Teas Organic Hibiscus loose-leaf tea or 8 generic hibiscus tea bags
- 8 cups boiling water
- 1 cup blueberry-infused vodka
- 1/2 cup lemon simple syrup
- 1 cup ice cubes
Lemon Simple Syrup
- 1 cup unrefined sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 3-4 lemons
- 1 TBSP lemon zest avoid the pith
- Edible flowers
- Fresh mint sprigs
- Lemon wedges
- If using loose-leaf tea, you will want a T-sac see notes
- heat-resistant glass pitcher
- Sieve or cheesecloth
Lemon Simple Syrup
- Zest the lemon until you have a full TBSP, then juice the lemons until you have approx. 1/2 cup of freshly squeeze lemon juice.
- Combine the juice, water, and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a light boil over moderate heat. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, and cook until the sugar is dissolved, stirring often, approx. 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and add the lemon zest. Set aside to cool for ten minutes.
- Once cooled, run the syrup through a sieve or cheesecloth to get rid of the zest bits. Set aside.
Preparing the Tea
- Put your loose-leaf tea into a T-sac, and place it at the bottom of your heat-resistant pitcher.
- Bring 4 cups of water to a boiling point of 212° F. (If you don't have a thermometer, you can estimate. Once the water comes to a rolling boil, you should be at your desired temp of 212° F.)
- Carefully pour the hot water into the pitcher over the tea-filled T-Sac, ensuring that the tea is covered with water completely. Steep for 7-10 minutes.
- Remove the T-sac from the pitcher.
- Add 1/4 - 1/2 cup of the simple syrup to the tea, plus 4 cups of room temperature water. (You can adjust sweetness as you go). Stir well. Set any extra simple syrup aside.
- Allow the tea to cool on the counter, at room temp, for about 10 minutes.
- After that, add the vodka and stir well.
- Finally, add the ice, and place the pitcher in the refrigerator. (This allows the tea to cool gradually. Cooling your tea too quickly will result in a cloudy tea, but it doesn't affect the quality or taste. So, if you do want to quickly cool your tea and you end up with a cloudy tea, don't fret; sip away!)
- Prior to serving, you can rim some glasses with sugar (optional), fill them with ice, and toss in some fresh sprigs of mint. Pour in the iced tea, and garnish with lemon wedges; add edible flowers if you have them.
- See notes about extra sweetening.
- Prep time includes cooling time.
- You can purchase T-sacs on Arbor Teas Website here. For pitchers of iced tea, a 'Size 4' sac is recommended.
- Because tea drinkers all enjoy their tea differently, I find it helpful to have extra simple syrup available on the side in case anyone wants to add some extra sweetness to their glass. It's always better to sweeten your pitcher less; you can always add some sweetness, but you can't take it out once it's in there.
THIS RECIPE IS PART OF THE #CONNECTINGOVERCOCKTAILS COLLABORATION
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