As a kid, the rule was I couldn’t have a “coke” until after noon, which goes to show that even back before all of the scientific evidence suggesting soda wasn’t all that good for us, my mom knew it was something that shouldn’t be abused. Of course, that didn’t mean that as a teen and adult I didn’t have my fill of the carbonated beverages.
But in my infinite wisdom, I’ve tossed out the can of preservatives, salt, chemicals and artificial color (don’t get me started on “fake” sugars) for a healthier alternative: iced tea. And the recipe couldn’t be simpler.
Start with your favorite brewed tea. Personally, I like sun tea, but any means of brewing will work. And here’s the secret: Brew it double strength. No, not to keep you up to study for a final, but because you’ll be diluting it with sparkling water and a little sweetener, courtesy of a splash of fresh juice. If you’re caffeine sensitive, try to avoid chemically decaffeinated varieties; instead, opt for a naturally stimulant-free herbal choice.
You’ll get the look and feel of a soda, a little pick-me-up if you so desire, minus all of the not-from-this-earth ingredients, and me thinks you’ll never go back to soda again!
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: Up to one hour (depending on brewing method)
Yield: 4-5 glasses
1/2 gallon brewed unsweetened tea (double the amount of tea, but not the water)
1/2 gallon sparkling water (unflavored is best)
1/3 cup fresh juice (unsweetened is best), or more to taste
Fresh mint and/or lemon for garnish, optional
Star by brewing your tea, using twice the amount of tea as recommended. Once done, remove the tea bags and allow to cool to room temperature. Fill a one gallon pitcher or container halfway with ice. Next, pour in your juice. Any juice will work, even lemonade. You can use more juice if you really like it sweet, but I prefer just a hint. Then, slowly pour in your sparkling water, followed by your tea. Give it a couple of stirs to combine and you’re ready to go.
Fill a large glass half way with ice, pour in your sparkling tea, garnish with a sprig of mint, or maybe a slice of lemon, and enjoy!
Note: If making it for just yourself or to keep it carbonated longer, combine only the juice and tea and keep the sparkling water sealed tight. When you’re thirsty, add ice to your glass, fill it half full of sparkling water and the rest with your tea and juice combo.