Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Iced Tea Limeade

It's so hot! It's like a sauna out there -- nothing compared to the beautiful Pacific coast and Rocky Mountain air that I took in for two weeks when we were vacationing in Vancouver. Although it's good to be home, I already miss the cool mornings, crisp evenings, cedar-scented air and the comfort of knowing that at any point in the city, all I need to do is look up and I'll see the mountains, so close and beckoning.

Toronto's smoggy summer air welcomed us home. But hey, I'm not complaining too much. I still have more than half of my summer holidays left and lots of catching up to do. I was terrible at documenting my food adventures in Vancouver, although we did have quite a few! So I thought I'd try to re-make some of my favourite things that I sampled while on vacation and re-live the experience all over again.

Let's start with this drink. I had to start with something low-key and easy, seeing as I'm easing back into this Toronto weather. This drink is tart and refreshing and just the thing to keep you hydrated on a day like today. Let me tell you about what inspired this drink. On one of your last city walk in Vancouver, we stumbled upon this cute little coffee shop called Arbutus Coffee that's housed in a beautiful building in a mostly residential area. We literally stumbled on it -- it's in a place you wouldn't expect, much like Le Marché St. Georges which we loved, Union Market (saved for another post!) and the Wilder Snail where we bought juices and power bars, coffees and hot chocolate and sat on a perfect spot across the street in a park on our last day in Vancouver.

But back to the iced tea. When we came across Arbutus, I was a little caffeinated already, but couldn't resist trying the coffee, which was very strong and smooth. My partner took it easy, and ordered a summer special -- iced tea lemonade. I was offered a sip and was very impressed. It wasn't watery and bland like a lot of homemade iced teas can be. It was strong, very lemony and sweet: a perfect refresher on a summer afternoon. Thinking about Vancouver cafes today, I made a batch of my own iced tea, using limes instead of lemons, and brewing a strong white tea berry blend as the base. I sweetened it with some lime-infused simple syrup and drank it up with lots of ice. And although I wish I were drinking this refreshing tea from a straw, walking along a quiet sidewalk in Vancouver, relaxing at home with homemade iced drinks is just fine by me.

Iced Tea Limeade
makes about 5 cups

For the Lime-Infused Simple Syrup
1/2 cup of natural cane sugar
1/2 cup of water
zest of one lime

1. Combine the sugar and water in a small pot. Heat on low, stirring gently, until the sugar dissolves.
2. Turn off the heat. Add the lime zest and let it rest for about 15 minutes.
3. Strain out the zest and store in a jar.

For the Tea
4 tea bags of your choice (something fruity yet caffeinated would be my recommendation)
4 cups of boiling water
1 cup of cold water
juice of 4 limes
4-6 tablespoons of lime-infused simply syrup (taste as you go and add as much as you like)

1. In a pot, bring 4 cups of water to a rolling boil. Add in the tea bags, turn off the heat and let the tea steep. Allow it to cool.

2. Transfer your strong tea into a large jar or jug. Add the cold water, lime juice and syrup. Stir well.

3. Serve over ice and stay cool!

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