A refreshing glass of cold iced tea is easy, budget-friendly and delicious on a hot day. You can whip up a jug in no time, then sweeten it with sugar or syrups, or infuse it with the flavourings of your choice. Follow this guide for tips on how to make one of summer’s most popular and refreshing drinks.
Which tea do you use?
A classic base for iced tea is regular tea bags. They allow you to be freer with your flavourings. You can also easily experiment with different teas once you know the basic recipe. Other teas that work well include earl grey, lady grey, chamomile, green tea and lemon verbena. Fruit teas are also tasty when chilled.
A good ratio to go by is 6 tea bags to 1.5 litres of boiling water.
How to make iced tea
Basic iced tea recipe
- 6 tea bags
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 tbsp runny honey
- 3 small lemons, 2 juiced and 1 sliced
- 1 orange, sliced
- small bunch mint
- ice, to serve
- Pour 1.5 litres boiling water over the tea bags, then stir in the sugar and honey. Leave to infuse for 10 mins, then strain and transfer to the fridge to chill.
- Pour the chilled tea into a large jug, then stir in the lemon juice, lemon slices, mint and orange slices. Fill the rest of the jug with ice and stir very well.
- To serve, pour the iced tea into tall glasses with lots of ice.
How to sweeten iced tea
Iced tea is often sweetened simply with sugar or runny honey. It’s stirred into the hot tea to dissolve, and then the tea is chilled. Sugar syrups can also be used; a simple sugar syrup is easy to make, and just requires water and caster sugar. Make up a batch and store it in a bottle, so you have some on hand to add a little at a time to a jug of iced tea.
Basic sugar syrup recipe
- Tip 300g caster sugar into a saucepan with 150ml water.
- Simmer until the sugar has dissolved, stirring occasionally. Allow to cool before transferring to a sterilised bottle.
- Store in the fridge.
How to flavour iced tea
A simple but effective way to add extra aromatics to your iced tea. Herbs that work well include mint, basil and lemon thyme. You could also try kaffir lime leaves. Just avoid herbs that are solely savoury, such as coriander and chives.
A fresh sprig of elderflower can pep up a simple iced tea. Submerge a large handful into your iced tea and leave it to infuse as the tea cools down. Alternatively, add a good glug of elderflower cordial to the tea before you add any sweetener.
Sliced peaches and apricots, fresh berries and citrus fruits all compliment tea well. You could also add chopped cucumber for a refreshing taste.
For an adults-only version of iced tea, add some shots of your choice of alcohol. A spiced rum, Pimm’s or gin would all work well. Simply add to your iced tea after it’s been chilled.
Our top iced tea recipes
1. Pimm’s iced tea
Our boozy Pimm’s iced tea is the perfect summer thirst-quencher for parties. Mix up a jug filled with ice, mint and a citrus tea to balance the sweetness of the drink. It’s a great drink to enjoy in the garden when the weather gets warmer.
2. Blueberry & mint iced tea
Refreshing, fruity and ready in minutes – our blueberry & mint iced tea is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Make a full dispenser so guests can help themselves at their leisure – it can be made so speedily it’s no issue to refill it as needed.
3. Mint & mango iced green tea
Our mint & mango iced green tea is the perfect balance of fresh, herby flavours and a touch of sweetness. Green tea makes a great base for iced tea, and goes well with fresh mint and ripe chunks of mango.
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What’s your faourite way to enjoy iced tea? Leave a comment below…