Iced tea is a wonderful summertime drink because it is always very refreshing when it is hot out. Much of the time, however, iced tea doesn’t get the recognition that it deserves because it is considered by many to be plain and a bit boring. Iced tea doesn’t have to be boring. It can easily be dressed up with all kinds of different flavors to create a drink that is just as refreshing and even more delicious – and my Tiki Iced Sweet Tea is the perfect example. This iced tea is just the thing for summer barbecues and luaus. It was inspired by tropical tiki cocktails, which are always a treat in hot weather. Unlike the cocktails, the tea is nonalcoholic and perfect for anytime of day and just about any audience.
I made this iced tea using a blend of green and black teas. Black tea is flavorful and lends a bit of caffeine to the blend, while green tea tempers the strength of the black tea and makes room for other flavors. It’s an excellent base for iced tea drinks like this one. I brewed it double strength because iced tea is always served with ice, which can overly dilute a tea that is too weak to begin with. That being said, you can use only black tea if that is what you have (and I feel it works a little better than green tea alone).
I sweetened the tea with sugar and a little bit of molasses. I chose to add molasses because tiki cocktails are made with rum, which is produced from sugarcane byproducts, such as molasses. There isn’t enough molasses to dominate the other flavors in the tea, but there is just enough to hint at the rum-based drinks that inspired the tea in the first place and give the tea some real depth of flavor. In addition to the sweeteners, I added in pineapple juice, guava nectar and freshly squeezed lemon juice to build some more layers of tropical flavor. You can still taste the tea itself in the finished drink, but you get the essence of a tropical holiday – and it tastes fantastic.
32-oz double strength black or green/black tea, hot
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp molasses
5 oz guava nectar
5 oz pineapple juice
3 oz lemon juice, freshly squeezed
In a large pitcher, combine hot tea with sugar and molasses and stir until dissolved. Stir in guava nectar, pineapple juice and lemon juice.
Chill tea in the refrigerator until cold, about 4 hours, then serve over ice.
* To brew double strength tea: Steep 8 tea bags in 32 ounces of hot water for 3-5 minutes. Single strength tea uses 4 tea bags for that volume.