The weather has finally decided to behave itself and show some sun. Bring it on! It's really noticeable how much happier people are when the sun is shining. Children particularly are hyped up on ice cream and their respective adults while away the afternoons and evenings in beer gardens or even their own gardens. BBQs and pizza ovens are fired up for outdoor dinners, squeezing the most out of every last drop of sunlight.
One of the things I love to drink in the sun is iced tea. For years, whenever I've gone sunbathing in Abu Dhabi, I've always had a lemon iced tea not very far away from me. Since giving up putting sugar in my tea or coffee, I've found the ready made brands of iced tea to be very sweet so nowadays I only have one or two with plenty of ice to dilute it. For some perspective, I used to drink it as my primary form of hydration whilst in the sun.
Not being a hugely warm country, iced tea doesn't have the same significance in the UK as it does in the UAE. Don't get me wrong, you can find it in most supermarkets, it's just not a go-to drink. So, when the sun does come out, I like to make my own iced tea instead of rushing out to buy stocks of it like people panic buy bread in the winter. It's really not as complicated as you might think to make your own iced tea, and you can make it child friendly, or adult brunch friendly.
Thanks to Global Warming, our spring is a bit all over the place. We have springtime fruits and vegetables available in 20 degree weather as well as torrential rain. So it does feel quite summer-like when the sun shines but the berries, plums and cherries aren't quite sweet enough yet. So, enter Yorkshire rhubarb. Oh how I love thee.
When I buy rhubarb, I buy a fair amount and roast it with sugar and vanilla so that I can use it easily for anything. By roasting it all in one go, it's just ready to go on top of breakfast, bake into a cake, or, in this case, to make tea with.
Rhubarb and Mint Iced Tea
250g cooked rhubarb
1 tbsp loose Assam tea
1tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp caster sugar
5 large mint leaves
Add all the ingredients to a 500ml teapot and then fill the teapot with boiling water. Let everything brew for an hour.
When the hour is up, strain the tea into a storage bottle or measuring jug (to then easily pour the tea into a storage bottle) and chill in the fridge. When you get to the end, mash up the rhubarb and strain what comes out into your measuring jug.
This tea is quite concentrated so when you want to serve it, add some mint and lemon to a glass, then add plenty of ice. Then if you want a weak tea, 1/4 fill your glass with the tea and if you want a strong tea, 1/2 fill your glass. Top up the rest with water, lemonade or prosecco depending on the occasion of your drinking.