Summer pleasures 

Of tea and other cool things.


It's time again for our annual tip sheet for the sunny season. Why not start with a tall, cool glass of tea?

This is not a story about sweet tea. People who love sweet tea know how to make tea sweet. Add sugar. Stir.

It is a story about tea, however. Here's an essential truth about tea: When it's hot outside and you're inside, sweatily knitting up a bunch of wool (which has to be done in summer so you'll have the sweater ready by winter) or trying to read a book without falling asleep on the couch, air conditioning alone won't keep you alert. You need iced tea.

You could brew up some Lipton — in the sun or on the stove — and, if you're lucky enough to have mint outside, smush some up and slice a lemon and stir in some sugar, or not, and voila, you have very good tea.

But tea can be sexier than that. It can make a hot afternoon more festive. It can wake you up or, as you'll see below, make you tipsy. Here's how.

 The following recipe comes from a friend who didn't do anything halfway. When our children were 3 years old and could be kept occupied by a baby pool, we'd sit in the shade in her back yard — even in July — and drink her tea all afternoon. The tea did an astonishing job of keeping us cool, even during heat so oppressive it was hard to breathe. You know the kind.

 Putter's iced tea

Brew 8 to 10 tea bags (throw in some black currant tea for good measure). Add:
1 cup orange juice (or orangina if you want a little fizz)
Whole lemon squeezed
Fresh mint and sugar to taste

 Folks who frequent the River Market will know about this tea: Wael “Wally” Abdin's rose water tea. Abdin, who owns Middle Eastern Cuisine, uses the Cortas brand of rose water from Lebanon, where he was born. It is, Abdin says, “100 percent pure.” The trick is not to use too much rose water, or you'll end up with something too perfumey. He also recommends orange blossom water, also made by Costas, for tea.

Wally Abdin's rose water tea

To 16 oz. glass of tea of choice add:
1/8 to ¼ tsp. Cortas rose water
Touch of sugar

If you don't play bridge you might not know this recipe that calls for — ye gods! — instant tea and boiling water and more boiling water. We were directed to it by a friend who, as far as we know, doesn't play bridge but does like iced tea. She actually substitutes real tea, but we thought we'd stick with this version, from Allison Crawley of Marvell, just to be contrary.


Bridge Day Mint Tea
1½ cups boiling water
3 heaping tsp. instant tea
6 mint sprigs
1 cup boiling water
1 cup sugar
½ cup lemon juice

Combine 1½ cups boiling water, instant tea and mint sprigs and let steep, covered, for 15 minutes. Boil another cup of water and add the sugar and lemon juice to it. Strain the tea mixture to remove the sprigs and mix with the sugar mixture. Add a quart of cold water. Deal 'em. Makes 1½ quarts.

 When it comes to tea, the most knowledgeable person I know is Pam. She brews her own and drinks from china cups — always. Tea bags? Forget it. Mugs? Please. She's got tea from all over the planet in her cupboards and throws around words like oolong like nobody's business. She throws a bag of red zinger into her pekoe iced tea just for kicks. She even reads tea leaves. But lately, she's been using something new in the tea world: tea tied into bundles that turn into flowers when steeped in hot water. The bundles are so pretty you can leave them in the pitcher for all to see. River City Coffee and Tea carries Numi tea flowers; the black tea, Midnight Peony, is the one used here. Numi also makes green tea flowers and white tea flowers, which would make a weaker tea.

Pam's flower tea

Brew 3 Midnight Peony tea flowers in 2 quarts water. Fill a pitcher part way with ice and add slices of orange and a tea flower or two, then layer more ice, remaining tea flower and oranges. Pour in tea. Put on the kitchen table so it catches the sunlight streaming in. Save the tea flowers; they can be steeped again.

Long Island Iced Tea is every clear booze in the world plus lemon juice poured into a Coke. But we're sticking with real tea here in this recipe for Tipsy Tea. Tea maven Pam used cream of limoncello, the lemon liqueur made in Little Rock by Michael and Yuli Waters, to make these two variations, which probably shouldn't be drunk while trying to knit or reading Proust. The limoncello should be kept in the freezer.

Tipsy Tea variation 1
Brew black tea, African rooibos tea or chai.
Pour 2 jiggers Lombardi cream of limoncello over ice. Fill glass with tea. Add crushed mint.

Tipsy Tea variation 2
Brew black tea, African rooibos tea or chai. Pour 1 jigger tea over ice. Fill glass with limoncello. Add crushed mint.

And now, simple syrup. I've never bothered to make it, but the Capital Hotel Bar and Grill serves its iced tea with a sweet tiny glass jug of the stuff and it is a good idea. As Travis McConnell, the chef, points out, you don't end up with unsightly undissolved sugar in the bottom of your glass. McConnell says simple syrup is great to sweeten lemonade, as well.

Simple syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup hot water
Combine, stir. For thicker syrup, dissolve more sugar. If you've made too much, dilute with 3 more parts water and put it in your hummingbird feeder.


From the ArkTimes store


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Leslie Newell Peacock

  • UALR artist Mia Hall is off to Penland

    The Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina has announced the hiring of Mia Hall, of the Department of Art and Design at UA Little Rock, as its new director.
    • Jul 19, 2017
  • ACLU asks court to enjoin antiabortion bills

    Lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union asked Judge Kristine Baker to grant an injunction against four laws passed this year by the General Assembly that would: * Make abortion after 15 weeks riskier by outlawing what the medical profession considers the safest procedure, dilation and evacuation; * Require doctors to inform local police when an abortion performed on a teenager age 14-16 absent any indication of abuse and that police create a record of the teenager's abortion and be provided the fetal remains; * Require abortion providers to ask women seeking an abortion if they know the sex of the fetus, and, if they do, obtain all of their previous obstetrical records to determine if they have a "history of aborting fetuses" of a certain sex, as the lawyer for the state said today in court. * Require notification of a woman's partner — or abuser — that she intends to have an abortion, ostensibly so they can agree on the disposition of the remains of the fetus.
    • Jul 13, 2017
  • Sherwood man arrested on child pornography charges

    The U.S. attorney's office in Little Rock announced today the arrest of William Thomas Murry, 60, former owner of the Kawasaki Sports Center on University, on charges of the possession and receipt of child pornography.
    • Jul 12, 2017
  • More »

Most Shared

  • So much for a school settlement in Pulaski County

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Cynthia Howell got the scoop on what appears to be coming upheaval in the Pulaski County School District along with the likely end of any chance of a speedy resolution of school desegregation issues in Pulaski County.
  • Riverfest calls it quits

    The board of directors of Riverfest, Arkansas's largest and longest running music festival, announced today that the festival will no longer be held. Riverfest celebrated its 40th anniversary in June. A press release blamed competition from other festivals and the rising cost of performers fees for the decision.
  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.

Latest in Top Stories

  • Good for the soul

    The return of Say McIntosh, restaurateur
    • Jun 1, 2010
  • Robocalls are illegal

    Robocalls -- recorded messages sent to thousands of phone numbers -- are a fact of life in political campaigns. The public doesn't like them much, judging by the gripes about them, but campaign managers and politicians still believe in their utility.
    • May 31, 2010
  • Riverfest winds down

    With Cedric Burnside and Lightnin' Malcolm, Steve Miller Band, Robert Cray, Ludacris and more performing.
    • May 30, 2010
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »


2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation