Some foods have simple flavors. What you put into the dish is what you taste when you eat it. Other foods – most foods, I think – are more than the sum of their parts. This was most evident to me when I made pad thai for the first time. I had eaten it many times, but would never have guessed that so few ingredients with such strong flavors would meld together to make that magical tangy-salty-sweet pad thai sauce. Many drinks fall into the former category: strawberry lemonade, for example, tastes like strawberries and lemons. Mint green tea tastes like green tea and fresh mint.
This tea is different. Sweetened enough so that the liquid is slightly thick, it is fragrant and floral. As with pad thai, if I didn’t already know what flavorings were added to this tea, I doubt I would have been able to identify them. Normally, I don’t post about recipes that I made almost verbatim from another site, but this one was so unique and delicious that I thought it merited an exception.
Cinnamon-Orange Tea (makes 1 pitcher)
I am sure this would be as delicious unsweetened, or more lightly sweetened. Use your judgment. From Food Network.
- 12 c. water
- 10 black tea bags
- strips of orange peel, taken from 1 orange with a vegetable peeler
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 1/2 c. sugar
- 1 1/2 c. water
- 1 1/2 inches ginger, peeled and sliced into coins
- 1 sprig mint leaves (4-6 leaves)
- In a large pot, place 12 cups of water, along with orange peel and cinnamon sticks. Bring to a boil. Turn off heat and add tea bags. Steep 4 minutes, and then remove tea bags.
- In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, 1 1/2 cups water, and ginger. Heat over medium heat until sugar has dissolved. Turn off heat, add mint sprig, and let cool to room temperature.
- Pour syrup through a strainer into the tea, and give a quick stir. Pour into a pitcher, and serve over ice.