summertime cinnamon-orange iced tea

Though I'm from the deep south where syrupy sweet tea is offered in every restaurant and premade in every grocery store, I don't care for it. I usually opt for unsweetened with lemon when I'm out to eat (something that took a little getting used to, but now I crave) and almost daily drink a mug of hot cinnamony decaf tea in the afternoons at work. Chocked full of antioxidants and flavor, I find that the spices in my "Christmas tea" (as our intern dubbed it) replace the need for sugar. It's a nice alternative to the calorie-packed sweet teas and artificial sweeteners that I avoid.

So, as a cinnamon lover and a tea advocate, I knew I would like this recipe the minute I saw it. It makes eight cups and can be made on the weekends for weeklong enjoyment. It does come with a simple syrup, but I used a quarter of the recipe for the whole carafe. Perfect. Enjoy it on a warm, sunny day when you need some cool refreshment.

Cinnamon-orange Iced Tea
  • 2 large pieces of orange peel, plus orange
  • 1-2 cinnamon sticks
  • 8 black tea bags
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 quarter-sized coins of peeled ginger, chopped
  • 6 sprigs fresh mint
  1. Make the tea: Combine 8 cups water, tea, orange and cinnamon sticks in a large sauce pan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and remove the tea bags after they have steeped for five minutes (any longer and the tea will become bitter). Set aside to cool.
  2. Make the simple syrup (again, I only made 1/4 of this recipe and found it to be perfect): In a small sauce pan combine 1 cup of water with the sugar and ginger. Slowly bring to a boil and remove from heat. Tear the mint leaves and sprigs into smaller pieces and add to the mixture. Give it a good stir and allow it to sit for 20 minutes.
  3. Add the tea with the orange peel and cinnamon stick to a pretty pitcher and stir in a little of the syrup. Taste and add more as needed. Serve over ice with a pretty orange slice and a fresh cinnamon stick, if desired.

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