Making great iced tea is a cinch even if you don’t want (or are unable) to brew a large batch outside in the sun. How? You can easily make fresh, individual servings using a cocktail shaker. I learned this little trick when I worked as a barista while I was getting my business off the ground. (I’m pretty sure it’s somehow a prerequisite for artsy folks to have worked as a barista at some point in their life. There’s probably a rule book with that in it somewhere.)
In addition to water, obviously, here’s what you need for 1 serving:
- cocktail shaker
- tea (in a bag or loose leaf in an infuser)
- drinking glass
- cut fruit (optional)
Start by heating some water. Once the water is to temperature, add to your mug over the tea bag (or infuser if you’re using loose leaf tea). Let the tea steep according to package directions, noting that the ideal water temperature and steep time can vary per variety of tea. (Also note that some teas taste bitter if chilled, so consider that when selecting your tea.) Meanwhile, fill your cocktail shaker part-way with some fresh ice, leaving room for the tea you started brewing as well as room for shaking. After the tea has finished steeping, add the steeped tea to your cocktail shaker. Tightly replace the cover pieces to your shaker; shake it with the bravado of a James Bond martini. After you begin to feel that the outside of the shaker has cooled, carefully remove the top portion and pour into a drinking glass with ice in it. If you wish, you may add the tea bag or infuser to your drink. (Alternately, you can add it earlier to your cocktail shaker, however, shake very gently as to not tear the tea bag or infuser open.) I like unsweetened tea or tea with a little citrus added, but you could also make a simple syrup or add some honey.
As with anything that you use tea in, be sure to clean your shaker with a little hot water and vinegar or scrub it with some baking soda every once in a while to prevent the tea from leaving a residue inside your shaker.
Teas pictured in first image (left to right): strawberry, peach, tangerine orange, and pomegranate white tea. Cinnamon teas are surprisingly good iced, which I wouldn’t have expected. This method is also a great way to test out which teas you might want to make in larger quantities. Enjoy!