Sunday, June 28, 2009

Summer Daze: Earl Grey Iced Tea

Yesterday was just the latest in the string of a dozen days (seems much longer than that) of fevered stifling weather in St. Louis. Two things refreshed me like a cool drink of water on this blazing summer day.

One was a ballet performance that I enjoyed for a few hours (in air-conditioned comfort, thank goodness). The light as air ballet dancers transported me to another world of grace and beauty where everyone is lithe and dexterous and spectacularly skinny.

The other was literally a cool drink. I swapped out my usual hot chai for a pitcher of sweet lemony iced tea.

Normally I will only drink Indian blends of black tea- the usual brands like Taj Mahal and Red Label. A couple of years ago, I tried Earl Grey tea thinking it was simply another term like "afternoon blend" and "breakfast blend" and was really taken aback by the unmistakable flavor of this distinctive tea. The aroma of bergamot in the Earl Grey tea was so intensely floral and fruity all at once that it felt like I was sipping perfume. To this day, I can't make up my mind about whether I love or hate Earl Grey tea. I would never drink it on a regular basis but on occasion, it feels very special indeed. And if you have to consume things that taste of perfume, there's no better time than summer. A bag of Earl Grey tea added that special something to my pitcher of iced tea.

Earl Grey Iced Tea


5-6 cups filtered water
4 tea bags Orange Pekoe black tea (I used Taj Mahal brand)
1 tea bag Earl Grey tea (I used Twinings brand)
3 tablespoons sugar
Juice of ½ lemon

1. Heat the water until it is just threatening to boil.
2. Immerse all 5 tea bags in the water and turn off the heat.
3. Add the sugar, cover the pot and let it rest for 30 minutes.
4. Remove and discard the tea bags.
5. Add the lemon juice and refrigerate the tea.
6. Taste for lemon and sugar and adjust if necessary.
7. Serve over plenty of ice.

To go with the cold iced tea, I made some potato-cheese patties. I stuffed a mixture of Pepper Jack cheese, sharp cheddar and minced cilantro into a potato mixture (boiled potatoes, a couple of slices of leftover bread, cumin powder, red chilli powder and dried mango powder), then shallow-fried the patties. Melting herbed cheese encased in golden potatoes. Mmm. These re-heat beautifully in the oven/toaster oven so they are perfect for making ahead for a get-together.

Have a delicious* week ahead. I'll be back here in a couple of days with a cool summer dip.

*Oops...there I go, using a lazy food adjective again!


  1. I'm afraid I would become mute on the subject of food if deprived of the standard exclamatory words :)

    I shied away from Earl Grey tea for a long, long time - I think the name was unappealing to me for some reason and I just didn't know what it was. Had I known it had the citrusy flavor of bergamot, I'd have tried it much sooner. Anyway, I like it very much now, but never thought to try it iced!

    And Nupur, those potato cheese patties... oh my gosh they sound good. I know they would be a huge hit with my family.

  2. Oh yes.. it's getting hotter by the day.. thank God, evenings are still very cool!
    Ice tea reminds me of Yoko Sizzlers in Mumbai- weird combo, but I always had iced tea with a sizzler!

  3. Hee, hee, hee. I love Earl Grey Tea. But I remember I had EXACTLY the same reaction after buying a canister of "Lychee Black Tea" once in Chinatown. I though "Lychee" was just the brand name, - it was lychee-scented black tea. And it was exactly like drinking perfume. I didn't care for it. Earl Grey though - that's good stuff.

  4. At least you didn't use 'yummy'. That's one I cannot stand.
    Wonderful to have you back!

  5. wow!!
    Nice and easy recipe!
    I had always had iced tee in restaurants or outside.
    Never made at home!!
    My hubby is grt fan of this, will definitely make it now!!

    Never new its so simple.

  6. Yum.


    Enjoy today's cool!

  7. You didn't actually use it to describe food, so it's ok, I guess..:)
    This actually reminds me of how I used the phrase 'delicious morning' in a school essay (heavily influenced by Enid Blyton, I am sure) and my English teacher didn't think it was an appropriate adjective to describe mornings..:)

    I am not a very 'tea' person..but lemon iced tea sounds like just the thing..I wish we had ceiling fans.
    and the potato-cheese patties sound delicious..;-)

  8. I've never had a cool version of Early Grey Tea! Singapore is always hot so anytime of the year is good for this glass of tea :D

  9. I don't drink tea...but honestly its looking nice.. feeling like taking a bit of that tikki..

  10. Nice n cool tea with hot patties...perfect..It started raining in mumbai so I cant even think of having cold things now..:)

  11. mmm..being the glutton i am..i am just drooling at the patties :)...never tried the brand of tea...not such a big fan of tea to be the milky chai tho. Aren't those ballet dancers just amazing....they are so light on their feet..i guess you have to be painfully skinny...coz you get have to jump and twirl and if you are a woman...get hoisted in the air numerous number of times...

  12. Oh! I could so use a tall glass of that iced tea right now!

  13. Earl grey is my favourite 'indulge' tea. I never thought of enjoying it the iced tea way! Thanks!!

  14. Oh that potato cheese pattie...looks drool worthy....hmmm nice to pair up with some delish tea....

  15. Did you soak the bread for the patties Nupur?

  16. There is a 'lady grey' tea too and its wonderful. I loved it hot during winters. Want to try it cold after reading this.

  17. I'm not a fan of Earl Grey either, but sometimes teas taste completely different when they're iced. In the summer I tend to blend lots of different teas to make unusual iced tea concoctions. Kind of like wearing flowered dresses -- something you might only do in summer!

  18. Cathy- I shied away from Earl Grey for the longest time too...I had some misconception that it would be a blend that was too insipid for my taste.
    The cheese patties are a total crowd-pleaser! I know I'll be making trays of these for future get-togethers.

    Manasi- Iced tea and sizzlers- that sounds divine! And no, evenings here are just as hot as the middle of the day :(

    Diane- That first sensation when you sip flowery stuff is quite hilarious, right? Yes- Earl Grey is good stuff, it has grown on me.

    Ammani- But when something is "super-yummy" you just can't help calling it that :D

    Chakhlere- Yes, it is very simple to make at home.

    Parita- It was!

    Alanna- Not only was it yum but it was mmm...mmm...good ;)
    You know this is summer in St. Louis when we call high-8os "cool".

    Lavanya- Oh those English teachers- I loved mine but yes, she had her own ideas too :)
    I wish wish wish we had ceiling fans too.

    Nags- The cool version of Earl Grey is very tasty- give it a try.

    Preeti Singh- Many people who don't like hot tea love iced tea :)

    Prathibha- Well, the patties are actually perfect for rainy weather.

    Rajitha- The ballet dancers are skinny but amazingly strong and athletic...that's what amazes me the most! All toned muscle, not an ounce of excess fat on those bodies :)

    TBC- Make yourself a pitcher, a tall glass won't do for this weather :)

    Namita- I completely agree; I drink Earl Grey only when I am in a relaxed and indulgent mood.

    Kitchen Flavors, notyet100- Thanks :)

    Shilpa- Yes, I soaked the bread briefly and wrung out all the excess water before mixing it with the potatoes.

    Anonymous- I've heard of lady grey but have not tried it yet.

    Lydia- LOL I agree- it is exactly the kind of flowery thing that you could only get away with in summer. I love your idea of the blended iced tea concoction!

  19. i'm not a tea drinker but love iced lemon teas - have tasted earl grey iced teas and i'm not really a fan.

    BUT that potato cheese patty I can certainly appreciate! ;)
    I had the most divine aloo tikki last week in Lajpat Nagar - as Dilli as you can get. Crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, liberally laced with the two chutneys - ah heaven!

  20. Miri- Oh my goodness, the Lajpat Nagar tikki sounds incredible! The chaat in North India is totally mind-blowing. Someday, I dream of spending a week in Delhi just eating my way through these famous places.

  21. Try half and half with the iced earl grey, it will rock your world.


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