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Very Berry Iced Tea with Honey Mint Syrup

Very Berry Iced Tea with Honey Mint Syrup

by Barbara Kiebel on June 13, 2014

I was recently invited by the folks with Tetley USA to participate in an Iced Tea Contest celebrating National Iced Tea Month. Now I’m not much of a ‘contester‘ but with a very limited number of participants being invited, the carrot dangled in front of me that included a trip for two to London in the mix and a HUGE yearning to take advantage of some new-found freedom and escape somewhere I decided to give it a shot. It does not hurt that I love iced tea in the summer. I’ve never been a hot tea drinker; unless you count those hot toddy beverages that we all hope will help us recuperate from a chest cold; yes, I’ve done that but the truth is that this Very Berry Iced Tea with Honey Mint Syrup was SO much better.

I invited a friend of mine, Sandy, to come over and help me test three different varieties on a theme that I had in mind. I knew I wanted something with a fruit forward element; now is the perfect time to experiment with berries while they are in abundance at the market. Still I wanted to add one more flavor that was compatible with the tea and the strawberries and blueberries I planned to use. To help with my decision Sandy and I had our own iced tea tasting. The main recipe was pretty straightforward; multiple fruits are muddled in a glass, topped with tea that has been chilled and is then finished with a simple syrup that is stirred into the mix (flavor to be determined!). Simple yet perfect for this time of year.

While my sous chef (HA…now I hope she doesn’t quit me since I called her that!) Sandy chopped and muddled strawberries and blueberries, I prepared three syrups. A ginger simple syrup, one combining orange juice and orange rind and the one I felt almost requisite; a mint syrup. Mint and tea are so ubiquitous that I made that syrup feeling I must but certain that it would not come close to adding the uniqueness of either ginger or orange. We sampled the ginger version first; using fresh, grated ginger and sugar. While we thought it tasted fine, the ginger was quite obviously not the best fit; maybe if I had doubled the ginger but it didn’t appeal enough to warrant that effort so we moved on.

Very Berry Iced Tea with Honey Mint Syrup

Next up was a fresh glass of tea using a the orange syrup made with orange rind, sugar and orange juice. Admittedly that one had us more excited; we could really taste the orange and it was much more complementary to our other flavors; we felt certain we had a winner. Poor mint; relegated to being tried just because it would be unfair not to and lo and behold Sandy and I learned something big. There is a reason the first person to ever combine tea, sugar and mint shouted it from the rooftops; it is a marriage that is simply meant to be. Hands down, pom poms up…this was our winner and while I had SO hoped for something more unique than mint I could not deny that more than unique I wanted something that tasted like my mind had imagined. Adding some lemon and honey to the mint syrup provided what I was hoping for; fruity, not too sweet and with a nose of something fresh and obvious. Mint it was. Adding those ingredients to a balanced and yet not too assertive tea to bind it all together resulted in a most enjoyable combination of flavors.

Tetley_Very Berry Iced Tea with Honey Mint SyrupBlackGreenFront_260The tea that I used for this ‘London on Ice’  Iced Tea Recipe Contest was Tetley USA’s new Black & Green Tea. This is a tea that offers the combined benefits of full flavored black tea with the health benefits of green tea without the bitter taste that can be present. For more information visit Tetley USA or on Facebook at http://Facebook.com/TetleyUSA.

There are three steps to this recipe and it’s helpful to make both the tea and syrup ahead of time and allow it to cool. I’ve included a little tip that I’ve used for years to insure your resulting tea will be clear (well, until you start to muddle it with fruit!). Has anyone heard of using a small amount of baking soda in your iced tea to keep it clear? It is a very small amount that in no way affects flavor but the resulting tea is so much more appealing. Whether making this recipe or any other; simply adding it to the tea bags and hot water makes for a miracle!

Have you ever combined iced tea with other components? I’m on a roll and would love to try more combinations; let me know in the comments if you have a favorite recipe! And cross your fingers that I’ll be writing a post one day in the next few months while standing in front of Big Ben!

Very Berry Iced Tea with Honey Mint Syrup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
For the Tea:
  • 8 Tetley Green and Black tea bags
  • 8 cups cold water, divided
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
For the Mint Syrup:
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 cup water
  • 1½ cups mint leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 6 Tbsp lemon juice (takes approximately 1 & ½ lemons)
For the Muddled Fruit:
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 tsp sugar
Garnish:
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Mint
Instructions
  1. Boil 4 cups of water; turn off heat as soon as water starts to boil and add tea bags and baking soda; let steep for 5 minutes. Put 4 cups cold water in a pitcher and add the tea. Refrigerate until cold.
To Make the Honey Mint Syrup:
  1. Combine sugar, honey, water, mint leaves and lemon juice in a medium size pan over medium heat; stirring well until all of the sugar and honey is dissolved. Continue to simmer for 2 minutes to extract mint flavor; remove from heat and cool thoroughly.
To Make the Muddled Fruit:
  1. Put the strawberries and blueberries into a medium bowl and gently muddle with a muddler or a large spoon. Sprinkle with 1 tsp of sugar, mix well and let sit for at least 10 minutes.
To Prepare the Tea:
  1. Spoon ¼ cup of fruit and juices into the bottom of a tall glass. Fill the glass with ice and pour tea into glass until about an inch from the top.
  2. Measure 2-3 Tbsps of the Honey Mint Syrup into the tea and stir to combine. Garnish with mint, strawberries and blueberries.

I received Tetley Black & Green Tea for the purpose of developing an iced tea recipe to enter into Tetley USA’s London on Ice contest;
however all opinions stated are my own.

I received a free box of Tetley Black & Green Tea to sample, and for the purpose of developing an iced tea recipe to enter into Tetley USA’s London on Ice contest. All opinions stated in this post are my own. – See more at: http://www.girlichef.com/2014/06/hibiscus-raspberry-chia-black-and-green-iced-tea.html#sthash.nj1sJ5HY.dpuf

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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tanya July 11, 2014 at 5:59 pm

Yum, this sounds so refreshing! I would love to taste it.
Tanya Most Recent Post: The Importance of Branding In Hiring

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2 Creative Culinary July 11, 2014 at 7:29 pm

We just loved it. I did not win (boo hoo) but that’s OK, I thought this was FANTASTIC!! :)

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3 Mandy June 27, 2014 at 3:56 pm

Hi! Do you refrigerate the mint syrup? I am thinking you don’t??

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4 Creative Culinary June 27, 2014 at 4:43 pm

I have been Mandy and it will stay liquid.

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5 Mandy June 30, 2014 at 11:24 am

thank you!!!

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6 Paula June 20, 2014 at 11:00 am

I really liked the sound of your orange flavoured tea but if you say the mint was the hands down winner then I am with you and keeping my fingers crossed that you are indeed on day posting from England. Good luck with the contest. Your tea looks wonderful.

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7 Creative Culinary June 20, 2014 at 12:02 pm

The orange was good too; I might make it next but no one was more surprised than me how wonderful the mint was with all of that fruit!

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8 Maureen | Orgasmic Chef June 16, 2014 at 2:12 am

I’ve been drinking iced tea all day but I can promise you it didn’t look (or taste) this good. Wow – it looks terrific.
Maureen | Orgasmic Chef Most Recent Post: The Ultimate Steak and Eggs Breakfast

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9 Creative Culinary June 16, 2014 at 8:37 am

Thanks Maureen; it really was so good. Ahem, shh, don’t tell but we might have added a teeny bit of vodka to it the next day. That wasn’t bad either. :)

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10 Sandy Fuller June 15, 2014 at 12:48 pm

Barb! That was some of the most fun I’ve had making iced tea. And I am honored to be named your sous chef! Ha! The testing was the best part. . . and I was very excited with each blend, but the mint was the best! Thanks for inviting me!! I feel you will be visiting BIG BEN very soon… pack your bags!

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11 Creative Culinary June 16, 2014 at 8:35 am

Next up? Grilled cheese anyone? That was fun; thank you SO much for doing it with me!

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12 Cindy Heyd June 15, 2014 at 6:56 am

I’ve been on kick lately for iced tea made with equal parts brewed hibiscus tea and orange juice. It looks like a summer sunset and tastes even better!

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13 Creative Culinary June 15, 2014 at 9:36 am

Oh that sounds good…and so pretty too; thanks Cindy!

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14 Kiran @ KiranTarun.com June 14, 2014 at 9:44 pm

Love this iced tea, Barb. Especially with honey mint syrup. So summery :)
Kiran @ KiranTarun.com Most Recent Post: Bean Sprouts & Tofu Turmeric Stir Fry

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15 Creative Culinary June 15, 2014 at 9:39 am

Thanks Kiran; it really did turn out wonderful; I’m making more…next I’ll need to put in a strawberry patch to keep up with demand!

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16 Holly June 14, 2014 at 6:50 pm

Yes! I would love for you to send me a post card from London and this looks like it will be your ticket! I hope the contest included a photography component because yours is stunning.
Holly Most Recent Post: Cherry Quick Bread #TwelveLoaves June

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17 Creative Culinary June 15, 2014 at 9:44 am

Thanks so much Holly. The truth is that for a way too long I’ve been rushing through photos and this one was one I put the planning and time into and it’s obvious it shows. Guess I need to do that more often? :)

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18 Deborah Mele June 14, 2014 at 9:36 am

I love making my own ice tea and drink iced green or hibiscus tea every day. Your recipe looks so refreshing, it will be perfect for summer entertaining for those who prefer nonalcoholic drinks.
Deborah Mele Most Recent Post: Chicken Mushroom Marsala

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19 Creative Culinary June 14, 2014 at 1:35 pm

I’m making it today for a get together; guests can add a bit of vodka if they want to…or not. Love how easy that will be for me! Thanks Deborah.

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20 Monet June 14, 2014 at 9:31 am

Hi Barbara! Wow this tea looks so refreshing. It’s only 10am but I can already tell we’re in for a warm day. Thank you for sharing!

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21 Creative Culinary June 14, 2014 at 1:34 pm

Absolutely and thank you; I’m making my 3rd batch; we’re a bit addicted!

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22 Amanda (@lambsearshoney) June 14, 2014 at 3:11 am

Oh Barb, this just looks divine. I’m an utter tea tragic and can’t wait to try this – especially the mint syrup. And I didn’t know the tip about the baking soda. I’ll be trying this next summer.
Amanda (@lambsearshoney) Most Recent Post: Cookbook Review – Stéphane Reynaud’s “Pies and Tarts”

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23 Creative Culinary June 14, 2014 at 1:53 pm

I don’t know what a tea tragic is but seems it’s someone who really likes tea…and that is good! Love sharing the baking soda tip; tea is so much prettier when it’s not cloudy!

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24 atasteofmadess June 14, 2014 at 12:09 am

This is gorgeous! This drink would make my summer complete :)
atasteofmadess Most Recent Post: Vanilla Bean Paste

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25 Creative Culinary June 15, 2014 at 9:49 am

Then you MUST make it!

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26 Lizzy (Good Things) June 13, 2014 at 8:04 pm

Oh yum! I will have two to go please!

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27 Creative Culinary June 15, 2014 at 9:45 am

OK; they’re ready. :)

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28 Martha June 13, 2014 at 7:12 pm

What a beautiful, fruity tea! I must try it soon!

I’ve never heard of the baking soda trick but will give it a try as well! :)

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29 Creative Culinary June 15, 2014 at 9:46 am

Martha it’s like magic although there actually is a scientific reason but I decided not to bore everyone; as long as it works that’s all that matter to me.

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30 nancy buchanan June 13, 2014 at 2:13 pm

Wow… just wow!!! I have now just found my new “go to” summer iced tea recipe!!! Nope haven’t tried it yet but from your description I know EXACTLY how it’s gonna taste and it is soooo up my alley!!!
Gorgeous photograph Barb!!!! Fingers and toes crossed that you win the trip to London – my absolutely favorite city (were there in March for a week for our 25th anniversary!) so when you win I have oodles of info for you!!!

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31 Creative Culinary June 13, 2014 at 5:03 pm

Thanks Nancy…mostly for the photo kudos; that stuff is work I tell ya (as if you didn’t know!). Off to make some tea now; I’m addicted.

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32 John@Kitchen Riffs June 13, 2014 at 9:36 am

Very creative iced tea! Love all the fruit flavors in it — perfect for a late afternoon drink. Mint’s a real favorite of mine, so glad it won out. That baking soda trick is interesting — I haven’t heard that (and will definitely be trying it!). Fun post — thanks.
John@Kitchen Riffs Most Recent Post: Chipotle Cherry Salsa

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33 Creative Culinary June 15, 2014 at 9:52 am

I had some friends over Friday night and had this in the fridge. I love it but I had tested and tasted and was sort of used to if you know what I mean? They raved; he drank it like there was no tomorrow and I felt that I had made the right choice. For years I limited my iced tea to teas made specifically for iced tea until someone mentioned baking soda and a whole new world of teas opened up for me for using in the summer. It works!

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34 Nina Willis June 13, 2014 at 7:51 am

Wondering if you have thought of trying flavored fresh mint plants to grow in your home or yard. Every summer I grow a big beautiful bucket of all kinds of mint varieties including orange mint, pineapple mint, lemon mint, apple mint and chocolate mint along with spearmint and peppermint….fresh flavored mint leaves offer a fantastic opportunity to experiment using different kinds of mint to add their lovely flavor not only to drinks, but to salads, grain dishes, veggies, meat and desserts – especially ices and ice creams. I recently added a bit of dried fresh mint along with fresh lavender from my garden to a batch of shortbread heart-shaped cookies to serve with iced tea. Growing and using all kinds of mint, along with all kinds of basil make me rejoice summertime! By the way, the most calming tea ever is Thai Holy Basil tea – it is delicious hot and cold. I make it at home adding dried Peppermint leaves and Holy Basil leaves with some dried Red Hybiscus (to lower blood pressure).

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35 Creative Culinary June 13, 2014 at 8:58 am

I had several mint varieties in my garden of the home I sold last year. This year? I have one in a pot in my newly sodded backyard. Boy have I got my work cut out for me! I’ve done lavender shortbread; the addition of mint sounds divine.

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36 Karen Harris June 13, 2014 at 6:13 am

I have never heard of using baking soda but I sure will next time. This looks so refreshing Barb. My fingers are crossed for you for the win!
Karen Harris Most Recent Post: Applegate #Wienervention 2014: Great Organic Hotdogs and Asian Coleslaw

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37 Creative Culinary June 13, 2014 at 8:57 am

It is a miracle for keeping tea clear. Thanks…though I would be happy with a weekend in Arvada right now this might be nice. :)

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