Another of my favorite things about summer? Iced tea, natch. I don’t know what it is, but the second the temperature passes 80 degrees, downing iced tea by the gallon starts seeming like the best idea ever. Of course, the ideal way to enjoy iced tea is to either make a batch of sun tea on your porch and have it while sitting out on said porch admiring the weather, or have a freshly brewed glass brought to you with a slice of lemon at some sidewalk cafe where you can snack and watch the world going by. Sometimes, though, that’s just not an option, and what you have available is your corner bodega on the way to the Barnes & Noble or a last minute pedicure.
These are the times when I wish I was in Asia, where you can step into the Circle K or 7-Eleven (no, really) and find iced tea in virtually every form imaginable: black plain, black with lemon, black with honey, black with milk, green, green with honey, green with lemon, chysanthemum, jasmine… and the incidence of overwhelming syrupiness was much lower than it is here. I, quite frankly, can’t stand 90% of all Snapple. Yes, I gather it’s “the best stuff on Earth,” but it is waaay too sugary for me to find it refreshing on a hot day. If it has copious quantities of ice, I can handle it, but straight out of the bottle, their peach iced tea, for example, is 90 calories of sugar per 8 ounces (see also, not anything like the whole bottle). If I’m hot and thirsty and need to grab a bottle at the local deli, that’s just not going to do it. (It is, I might add, nearly as much sugar as Coke.)
Thankfully, in recent years the stores have branched out enormously in the area of iced tea, and we’re no longer stuck with the traditional syrupy iced tea with lemon of years past. So, here are a few of my favorite genuinely refreshing iced teas.
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