|Cool your boots with a tall Thai tea|
For many, the making of Thai tea is a mystery. Oddly orange with unidentified exotic smells and tastes, its concoction is often left to restaurateurs and vendors who specialize in such things. That's a pity when it can be made so cheaply and easily at home. And the tastes, while they may be exotic, are familiar enough in other contexts: vanilla, cinnamon, star anise, black tea, and tamarind. Orange flower water as well as artificial dyes sometimes go into the dry tea blend. Come on; you didn't think that orange color came just from natural, wholesome tamarind and tea, did you? The brand I use, Pantainorasingh, comes in one-pound bags and is readily available at many Asian markets or through Amazon.
Thai Iced Tea
4 cups water
½ cup Thai tea blend (Pantainorasingh brand)
½ cup sugar (white or — my preference — demerara)
3-4 Tbl half-and-half*
In a 1.5-2 liter pot, bring the water to a boil. Add the tea blend and sugar, then return the mixture to a slow, soft boil. Boil five minutes, then turn off the heat and let the dark, aromatic mix cool 10-15 minutes. Strain it with a fine-mesh sieve or a cotton strainer into a jar or large bottle and refrigerate.
To serve, fill a 16-20 glass with ice, then pour cooled, sweetened tea to within two fingers of the rim. Finish the drink by pouring in 3-4 tablespoons (1½ -2 oz) of half-and-half.*The term "half-and-half" confuses some people, so allow me to quote from an earlier piece about goat cheese ice cream:
Half-and-half is, nominally, half cream and half milk in the United States. But that ain’t necessarily so. As Anne Mendelson explains in Milk: The Surprising Story of Milk Through the Ages, it is a “term with no uniform meaning.” Practically, it refers to a light, creamy liquid with 10.5-18% milkfat, depending on the state and manufacturer. Richer than milk, not as rich as heavy cream. Since light cream can range from 18-30% milkfat, there may be some overlap between it and half-and-half. Experiment and substitute at your peril/discretion.Goes well with:
- Brown Cubes of Joy (coffee ice cubes) in New Mexico.
- Soulless Ginger Lemonade (and plain without the ginger)
- I get serious about the preparation of a proper cup of tea, but still have enough sense to laugh at myself for doing so. I'm not the only one: Rip it. Dip it. Sip it.
- Masala chai is something I'm less likely to make in the summer months, but when I do brew up a batch on those mornings when I'm up at 4:30, here's how it's done.
- If you know it's going to be especially hot, lay in some bread pan ice blocks for your cool drinks.
- Finally, making plain, everyday, unsweetened iced tea is even simpler than the Thai tea here. Grab some loose tea, a gallon of water, and get brewing.