I have never been an iced tea lover. Forced into trying it–through thirst or politeness–it seemed either cloyingly sweet or tongue-bitingly bitter. But in my quest for alternatives to Diet Coke, iced teas are simply too big to ignore. Even better, tea has been linked to a number of health benefits from delivering a healthy dose of antioxidants to possible cardiovascular and diabetes benefits (source: Wikipedia).
And there was one sweet, flavored tea that I used to love.
Many years ago, I carpooled to ballet class with another neighborhood student. On cold winter nights, she sometimes packed a thermos of hot “Russian Tea” for the home trek. Sweet and orangey, it warmed our souls then infused life back into our weary bodies.
The original drink was made with Lipton tea powder and Tang Instant Breakfast Drink. Since I have never found instant organic tea—much less instant organic Tang (!), I decided to do my own natural version, iced for summer. Why shouldn’t delicious low calorie drinks be part of my natural healthy diet?! Here is the recipe:
Ingredients (5 8 oz servings)
- 1 quart water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 6 cloves
- 2 T sugar
- 1 T loose tea (or 2 teabags)
- 1 c orange juice
1. Put water, spices and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for about a minute. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
2. Add 1 T loose tea. Cover pan and let steep about 5 minutes.
3. Strain. Refrigerate until cool.
4. Add orange juice.
5. Serve over ice (perhaps with a slice of fruit??)
This could be steeped in a teapot, but I wanted to do a version that would work with basic kitchen supplies. Although slightly higher in calories than my recent lemonade, this comes in under 50 calories/serving and could be made lower by using stevia instead of sugar.
Do you have a favorite natural iced tea?
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