Monday, July 4, 2011

Kuwaiti Cinnamon-Orange Iced Tea

Because of my Crohns disease, I gave up anything carbonated years ago so iced tea is now my favorite cold beverage (I used to love Cherry Coke and Dr Pepper!). Flavored iced teas are my weakness... I don't drink sweet tea but do like flavored teas even if slightly sweet. Matter of fact, it's pretty well known that I will eat at restaurants more often if they have flavored tea - whether their food is good or not doesn't matter much (I can quickly rattle off the names of restaurants that have "good tea").

When I came across this recipe from Aarti on FoodNetwork.com, I knew I had to try it. Not only does it have an ethnic spin to it (always intriguing for me!) but it combines flavors that I haven't found in a local restaurant flavored tea.

I've almost finished off the first pitcher and wish I had doubled the recipe. You add the simple syrup to your liking so mine is not overly sweet though you could dump the entire pot of syrup into yours if you like really sweet tea. The flavor is very complex; you get a bit of the spice from the black tea and ginger but this sweet mint and orange flavor, too. It's a very unique and delicious combination.

It's super easy so give it a try! This would be a great addition to your cookout or just to have on hand.

Kuwaiti Cinnamon-Orange Iced Tea
For the Tea:
2 large pieces orange peel, plus orange slices for garnish (optional)
1 cinnamon stick, plus more for garnish (optional)
8 black tea bags

For the Syrup:
1 cup sugar
6 quarter-size coins peeled ginger, chopped
6 sprigs fresh mint

Make the tea: Combine 8 cups water, the orange peel and cinnamon stick in a saucepan over low heat and bring to a boil. Add the tea bags and turn off the heat. Let the tea steep for about 5 minutes (no more or else it will be bitter), then remove the tea bags and chill the tea; don't remove the cinnamon stick or the orange peel yet.

Meanwhile, make the syrup: Combine 1 cup water, the sugar and ginger in a small saucepan over low heat and bring to a boil without stirring. Once boiling, turn off the heat. Rip the mint leaves and stalks into pieces and drop into the syrup. Let cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes. Strain the syrup, discarding the mint and ginger.

Strain the tea into a pitcher. Add the mint syrup according to your taste and stir. Serve in tall glasses over ice and garnish with orange slices and cinnamon sticks, if you like.

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