The only thing better than a good recipe? When something’s so easy to make that you don’t even need one. Welcome to It’s That Simple, a column where we talk you through the process of making the dishes and drinks we can make with our eyes closed.
I’m a big fan of flavored, fruity iced tea—but I’m not a fan of the effort required to actually make some. I used to have a whole process: cook fruit with sugar and water, brew tea, mix the two, and on top of all of that, wait until everything cooled down so the ice didn’t dilute the flavor I worked so hard for. It was worth it, but I’d be lying if I said I made it often. That is, until I started making iced tea with jam. Yes, iced tea with jam.
A flavored iced tea is the ideal warm weather beverage, especially for someone like me who doesn’t drink alcohol. It’s cold, refreshing, and earthy but not overly sweet or boring. On one sweltering day last summer, I couldn’t bear the thought of turning on my gas stove to make a flavored syrup for iced tea. I opened the fridge in pursuit of a refreshing bev and there was nothing except a jar of raspberry preserves staring me in the face. It hit me: Use the jam to make a pseudo-simple syrup and brew the tea directly in that hot syrupy liquid.
Here’s how to make it
All you do is boil 6 oz. of water, add 1-2 Tbsp fruit jam to a tall glass, and then pour the water into the glass. The amount of jam depends on how sweet you like your tea; 1 Tbsp is pretty mild and just slightly sweetened. Stir it all up to make a flavored syrup, then add your tea bag of choice.
Then, make a concoction that I like to think of as a tea concentrate. Let the tea brew for 3-5 minutes—or for a bit longer than you usually would so it’s stronger than your typical desired strength—and then remove the tea bag. While the tea is still warm, fill the glass ice cubes to both cool it off and dilute it to the perfect, not-too-bitter-not-too-mild strength.
The flavor combinations are endless: I’ve done raspberry jam with green tea and black tea, orange marmalade with black tea, and strawberry jam with mint tea. My go-to combo is seeded raspberry jam with black tea, usually Earl Grey. I love the little bits of texture from the raspberry seeds, and the sweet, floral flavor the raspberry pairs so well with the earthy, almost citrusy, quality of a good black tea. Now, I make cooling glasses of iced tea on a whim, because it’s truly that simple.