When you’re headed for the road (beach trip!) or it’s too early in the day for cocktails, you still need something summery in hand. Drinks should be fresh and festive even when they are non-alcoholic.
During these long, scorching days, we wind up drinking more now than any other time of year. We also have access to just-picked berries, making this the perfect time for an iced white tea with blueberries and raspberries. Grab your muddler and read on.
5 white tea bags
1 cup blueberries
1 cup raspberries
1 tablespoon sugar
Now that it’s berry season, they are my fruit of choice for tarts, barbecue sauce, and drinks. Since iced tea should be chilled in the refrigerator rather than over ice, which is too diluting, there is enough time to macerate berries, making them tender and juicy. A half hour or more on the counter with a sprinkling of sugar helps them to release their natural juices, creating a lightly sweet, bright syrup. By the time you’ve packed your beach bag, everything will be ready to stir together.
Combine the blueberries and raspberries in a bowl and use a muddler or wooden spoon to lightly mash them. Blueberries have a thick skin, so this will help to move the softening process along. Sprinkle with the sugar and allow to sit, stirring occasionally.
Next prepare the iced tea by bringing 5 cups of water to a boil and letting them rest for a minute as white tea brews better in not quite boiling water. Steep tea for 4 minutes. Discard tea bags and put pitcher in refrigerator to chill.
White teas have a delicate sweetness that marries well with berries. Harvested when the tea leaves are still young, they are lighter and often more refreshing than green and black teas. I recommend selecting one with fruity notes for this recipe.
Once the iced tea has chilled, pour macerated berries and their juices into the pitcher. Berry pieces will mostly settle in the bottom and can be spooned into individual glasses or just left in the pitcher If you prefer to eliminate the berry pieces entirely, use a fine mesh sieve when adding the berries and syrup to the tea.
Serve in tall glasses filled with ice. I prefer to drink this with no additional sweetener, but simple syrup can be used if you prefer more sweetness.