As summer winds down, raise the flavor level by pairing Ghirardelli Intense Dark chocolate with this naturally hydrating & thirst-quenching Cherry Lemon Iced Tea!
When I was in India, iced tea was a new kind of drink that had started to get a lot of attention from the college-goers of our times. Some of my friends would drink iced tea because they felt it looked like alcohol, which they were not permitted to consume. Oddly enough, I never tasted it for the same reason - I felt it had alcohol in it! While I grew to understand that this was not true, I kind of developed a negative opinion about it. When I would hang out with my friends after college, some of them would order an iced tea while my bestie and I would always order an iced coffee. She was the one who got me hooked onto iced coffee and just recently she encouraged me to try my first iced tea! On my last trip to India, I visited her in Pune. We reminisced and caught up over some iced coffee she made for me. Later in the day, however, she insisted that I taste her iced tea.
I simply loved it! I also felt sad that I had missed out on this drink all these years. Don't get me wrong, iced coffee still reigns supreme as my choice of beverage, but iced tea tasted really good. So many of us miss out on wonderfully delicious things because of misconceptions. My lesson was well learned! Though KR is not a big fan of iced beverages, I wanted to make it for him once I got back to Florida. When I had the opportunity to work with Ghirardelli Intense Dark chocolate, I felt it was the perfect opportunity to pair this intense, complex, and perfectly dark chocolate with iced tea. Chocolate is everyone's favorite. Quoting Kramer from Seinfeld - "Oh you may stray, but you'll always return to your dark master, the cocoa bean" - a simple truth that is well-spoken :)! The deep flavor of Ghirardelli Intense Dark chocolate pairs so well with the sweet tea!
There's a certain joy in eating chocolate as is, savoring every bite and letting the flavor wash over your tongue, yum! Kicking back with some Ghirardelli Intense Dark chocolate and iced tea is exactly what I do to unwind and savor the moment! So, off I went to my local Publix. I picked up a couple of Ghirardelli Intense Dark chocolate bars in Sea Salt Soiree and Intense Dark, 92% Cacao Moonlight Mystique, along with some red cherries. Do check it out, Ghirardelli chocolate has exquisite flavor, you won't be disappointed!!
I did a lot of research and made multiple attempts at nailing the recipe. I would love to share some of the tips and tricks I learned in the process. You can use loose tea or tea bags to make iced tea. I tried making it with both and ended up liking the teabag version more. For basic iced tea, calculate one teabag per cup of water. Use filtered or bottled cold water, to begin with. Do not steep the tea for a long time. If you steep longer, the tea will develop a bitter flavor or become too strong. Steep for 5-8 minutes and then taste every 30 seconds and stop when you have the desired flavor. Don’t add raw sugar into a chilled iced tea. Always add the sweetener while the tea is still steaming so it dissolves fully. Add ice to the tea right before serving. Now let me share with you how I make Cherry Lemon Iced Tea, which is influenced by my friend's recipe. First, wash the cherries well, then discard the stems and chop them up.
Throw away the seeds too. In a thick-bottomed saucepan bring water to boil. Then add cherries, mint leaves, star anise, sugar, and vanilla extract. You can use agave nectar or simple syrup instead of sugar. Stir until the sugar or agave nectar dissolves. Then reduce the flame and let it cook for 30 minutes on low. Mash the cherries while they’re cooking. Take the cherries off the flame and rest them covered for an hour. Now is a perfect time for you to quickly enjoy a bite of Ghirardelli Intense Dark chocolate! Later, strain the mixture and transfer it back to the saucepan. Bring the cherry mixture to a boil over moderate heat. Remove from the heat, add the tea bags, and let steep for 5-8 minutes. Discard the tea bags and let cool to room temperature. Transfer the cherry lemon tea to a large pitcher and refrigerate until chilled. Serve in chilled glasses with ice cubes. Garnish with lemon slices and mint leaves for a beautiful display and enjoy.
Pair this Cherry Lemon Iced Tea with Ghirardelli Intense Dark chocolate for an afternoon tea party or brunch event! This drink can also be served at parties, on date nights, on a girl’s night or you can simply sip on it as you go along with your day. For added indulgence, add a dollop of vanilla ice cream to each glass before pouring the iced tea on top.
If you like serving an interesting mix of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks at your parties, then here are some I would recommend for you to serve - Rose Lemonade, Strawberry Hibiscus Rose Punch, Fresh Guava & Watermelon Non-Boozy Summer Drink, Tropical Orange Strawberry Spritzer & A Non-Alcoholic Party Drink!, Indian Watermelon Cooler, The Ultimate Detox Drink with Berries & Lime!, 4 Ingredient Mango Mastani Drink Recipe, How To Make Cold Cucumber Soup Shots, Spiced & Chilled Thandai Milkshake | Dry Fruit Milkshake, Healthy Cantaloupe Berry Breakfast Smoothie Shake and How To Make The Perfect Indian Masala Chai | Tea.
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Cherry Lemon Iced Tea!
- First, wash the cherries well, discard the stems and chop them. Throw away the seeds.
- In a thick bottomed saucepan add 2 cups of water, cherries, lemon juice, mint leaves, star anise, and vanilla extract. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce the flame and let it cook for 15 minutes. Then mash the cherries while cooking. Take it off the flame and let it cool down completely.
- Strain the mixture and transfer to a bottle or bowl. Allow it to cool down completely.
- In the same saucepan, add 2 cups of water and sugar. Bring to a boil and wait till the sugar dissolves.
- Take the saucepan off the flame. Add the tea bags and steep the tea for 10 minutes, then discard tea bags.
- Allow the tea to come to room temperature, then transfer to a large pitcher filled with ice cubes. Stir in the cherry juice and set in the refrigerator. Garnish with lemon slices and mint leaves and enjoy!