There are few things more refreshing than an iced coffee on a hot day. Unlike popsicles or ice cream, you can really slow down and savor an iced coffee without worrying about making a sticky mess. Flavored iced coffees in particular can really hit the spot during the summer, and my latest love has been homemade Salted Caramel Iced Coffee. This coffee drink is just sweet enough to satisfy a craving for something indulgent without being overly sweet, and it is easy to customize it to suit your own tastes. For me, I like to make it with strong coffee as a base and serve it up with a generous swirl of whipped cream.
If you have iced coffee at home, then just make your drink with iced coffee to start out with. If you don’t have iced coffee at home, you’re going to have to start off hot. This gives you some advantages, since it is very easy to dissolve sugar, caramel and other ingredients into hot coffee. The disadvantage is that you might have to wait for the coffee to cool before you can enjoy your refreshing beverage. When I am making iced coffee, I brew double strength coffee. This not only cuts the sweetness of whatever syrups I’m adding, but it dilutes itself when you pour it over ice, bringing it down to a perfect consistency and temperature.
I used a storebought salted caramel sauce to make this drink (from Trader Joe’s), which make the drink-making process quick and easy. If you don’t have a salted caramel sauce, you can simply add a pinch to your favorite unsalted caramel sauce. Don’t forget to drizzle the drink on top with caramel and add a few grains of salt to really enhance that salty-sweetness before serving!
Many people think of tea lattes as hot drinks that should be enjoyed in cold weather or on cool mornings. Just as many coffee drinks are good over ice, so are tea lattes and they’re a great alternative to a regular pitcher of iced tea when you want a drink to cool down with on a summer afternoon. This Iced Lemon Tea Latte is one of my current favorites and was inspired by another summer classic: lemonade.
The lemon tea latte starts with a lemon-flavored tea. I used Cuppa Cakes Lemon Chiffon, which has a very clear lemon flavor in a mild herbal green tea base. I brew tea at double or triple strength for iced tea lattes, since you’re going to be diluting the tea quite a bit with both ice and milk. I brew the tea hot, add sugar and a touch of vanilla extract (a few drops of lemon extract can be added to boost the lemon flavor on a tea where it is not present or not prounounced), then pour it over ice and finish it with cold milk. It’s creamy, lemony and it has just the right amount of sweetness. I like to think of it as somewhere between lemonade and a milkshake – and for a lemon lover, it will be a instant hit.
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I am a big fan of Mint Juleps, a classic cocktail that is made with bourbon, sugar and mint. They’re usually found at the Kentucky Derby, where race-goers need a refreshing drink to sip while they are hanging out in the sun on a warm spring day. My only problem with the traditional julep is that the drink is quite strong and I need something that is going to last a little bit longer if I’m relaxing outside in the heat. My solution was to create a Mint Julep Iced Tea that is an even more refreshing take on the classic drink.
The drink starts with sweet black iced tea, poured over muddled mint and bourbon. Muddling mint is a great technique that is often used when crafting cocktails to release the oils in the mint leaves, and it works just as well in iced tea. It also gives the drink a nice look when it is served to have the mint leaves at the bottom of the glass. Bourbon goes very well with black tea and the mint makes the drink especially refreshing and palate-cleansing as you sip it.
This recipe is scaled to make one serving of iced tea. If you want to serve a crowd, I suggest starting with a large pitcher of sweetened black iced tea and then assembling the drink – adding the bourbon and mint to each glass – as you serve. And, of course, you can omit the bourbon for a refreshing minty tea if you want the idea of a julep without the alcohol, too.
Cafe de Olla is a Mexican spiced coffee that is a very enjoyable way to prepare your coffee if you’re looking for a little variety. The coffee is prepared on the stovetop and it is flavored with cinnamon, orange and cloves, and sweetened with piloncillo. Piloncillo is an unrefined Mexican sugar that you can find sold in cones or large chunks at Mexican markets. It has a unique flavor that is somewhere between brown sugar and honey, and while it takes a little bit of work to chop up the block that it comes in, it is well worth the effort.
This coffee is traditionally brewed by combining all the ingredients in a saucepan and allowing them to steep together, than straining out the spices when you’re ready to serve it. You can also make it in smaller batches in a french press, but I find that it is easies to make it the traditional way because nothing gets caught in the mesh of my french press. With the saucepan method, you can also easily taste your coffee and adjust the sugar level to taste, as piloncillo is quite sweet and you may find that you don’t want quite as much in your brew.
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