I have a friend in D.C. that I've known since I graduated from college. She’s a neo-natal
. We met when she was in nursing school. I’d majored in chemistry and she was having
trouble with the subject when I was asked to tutor her. Our tutoring sessions made us life-long
friends. She spent a lot of time in my
apartment and used to say I made the best iced tea in the world. Of course, I thought she was being facetious
since I had very little money and tea bags were the only drink I could afford
to buy. Consequently, there was always
tea in my refrigerator. I didn’t find
out until long after I married, had children, and divorced that she actually
meant it. Howard University Hospital
|Credit: Free Images|
My son also says I make the best tea in the world. He’s unaware of the comments from my nurse-friend. But he should know. He’s seen a lot of the world and drank a lot of tea (his refreshment of choice). For several days when he was about ten, he watched me make tea, asking questions about how much of this to use and how long to let it boil. Then one of his friend's parents I ran across in the local grocery store mentioned the tea. Apparently, my son had gone to her house and made tea for them. She wanted the recipe.
Credit: Free Images
Tea has been a part of human life since the Stone Age. Yet people in the United States used to only drink it iced in the summer time. Tea has now become an anytime drink. (In the South, it was always an anytime drink.) I think my father personally championed this change, since we had iced tea year-round and I grew up in Buffalo, New York. My father was from
South Carolina where tea
is a staple. He didn’t teach me to make
it however. I concocted my own
experiments until I came up with something that had people turning their heads
like on a television commercial and asking, “Who made this? It’s really good.” I will give a little credit to my father for
one ingredient although the knowledge came to me indirectly through one of my
younger sisters (I have five sisters and a brother. I’m number two.). She told me about the baking soda.
Mind you, I didn't start out to develop a tea recipe. It happened when the coffers were low and I didn’t want to go out in the cold or rain or dark or whatever the reason was at the time to buy the missing ingredients. So, like any girl scout has been trained (or people who loved watching McGyver build a shopping mall from sand and chewing gum), I went to Plan “B” and used what I had. And what I had were two regular tea bags and one bag of apple spice tea. I used to use three regular tea bags and sugar.
Sun Tea was popular about ten years ago and I tried that, but quickly realized it was only a method of getting people to buy more tea bags and therefore making the tea companies more profits. Quickly, I dropped that idea. One reason was the inconvenience. Sun Tea had to sit in the sun for hours to brew. I’d have to get it ready and put it outside in the morning before leaving for work. With all I had to do to get three people up dressed, breakfast prepared and eaten, beds made, and lunches ready (with one kid who is not a morning person), who had time to think about Sun Tea? And when it was gone, you couldn't make more on the spot. Plus my kids didn't think it was as good and the kind you boiled on the stove. So following the path of least resistance, I went back to the tried and true.
In my first romance novel, Under the Sheets, I loaned my heroine the tea recipe. She owned a restaurant and it was a favorite drink of her patrons. It was also the defining moment for the hero when he discovers the heroine's secret. I put the recipe in that book. And here it is for you. So, as you sit down to read the next Heartwarming novel, grab a glass of Apple Spice tea and relax. I hope you like it.
My first Heartwarming novel is Summer at Kendall Farm. It will be released in January 2015. I just got the cover and it's wonderful. The book is available for pre-order.
Apple Spiced Iced Tea
2 regular tea bags (a cheap brand, store brand is fine)
1 apple spice herbal tea bag
Sugar (to taste or optional)
Baking soda (as much as you can pinch between two fingers)
|Credit: Free Images|
Fill a small sauce pan half full of cold water. Add the three tea bags and bring to a boil. Boil for two minutes. Remove from stove and add a pinch of soda (The box keeping your refrigerator fresh is fine to use. The soda will make the tea bubble to the top of the pan, so be careful. It will also give the mixture a rich, dark color.) Fill a half-gallon size pitcher half full of cold water. Pour tea into a pitcher and stir. (Discard tea bags.) Add sugar to taste. Fill pitcher to top with more cold water. Serve over ice.
Note: Do not add lemon. The strength of the lemon juice will negate the apple spice influence.
Substitutions: You can substitute any herbal tea you desire and experiment with the flavor. I've used Orange Spice and Cinnamon Apple Spice with good results.