Takeya Iced Tea Pitcher

Cool Summer Iced Tea… in a Flash!

Takeya Iced Tea Pitcher

I’ve always liked iced tea fine, but it wasn’t until I moved to Texas that I really began to appreciate it. There’s nothing like a big glass of chilled tea on a hot, sweaty day. Now that Austin is really heating up again, I find myself guzzling it on almost a daily basis. (Looks like I’m onto something, apparently it’s National Iced Tea Month – they have a day/month for everything!) I don’t love sweet tea like some southern dwellers – I prefer it no sugar, with lots of lemon. No matter how you liked your iced tea, it can be a bit of  a hassle to make at home. Sometimes I make hot tea, pour it into a water bottle, add ice, etc. but it’s not the most graceful process. 

Takeya sent me their new flash chill tea maker to check out, and I was interested to see if its specialty “beverage system” was better than my patented “pour warm tea over some ice in a cup” method. Turns out, yes, it is.

Takeya Iced Tea Pitcher

If you’ve ever used an infuser system it’s kind of the same idea. You put tea (either loose leaf, bagged, or their special Takeya pods) into the little infuser section in the middle, add in some hot water, let it steep, take the infuser out, add a bunch of ice, close the super-seal top, and shake-shake-shake. Voila! A batch of icy, flavorful tea.

Takeya Iced Tea Pitcher

You can buy one of these bad boys from the Takeya online store – the smallest version, the 1 quart, runs for $25. If you’re an iced tea aficionado, it’s really not a bad deal at all. And way easier/classier than throwing some ice cubes into a mug of tea.

Here’s a recipe from Takeya to get you started…


Watermelon, Lime, & Mint

INGREDIENTS

FOR 2 QUART ICED TEA MAKER

Makes 8 glasses

2 TAKEYA Mintopia Green Iced Tea Packets

4 cups cold water, preferably filtered

4 tablespoons honey

Ice

1 lime

2¾ cups watermelon, chopped into ½-inch pieces

²?³ cup fresh mint, chopped

(Optional: extra watermelon for garnish)

DIRECTIONS

To get an even bigger watermelon kick from this drink, fill glasses with frozen watermelon cubes just before serving the Green Mint iced tea infu­sion. Just slice watermelon into 1-inch cubes and freeze until solid.

1. PREP Tear open the TAKEYA Mintopia Green Iced Tea Packets, pour tea into Tea Infuser and twist into lid.

2. BREW Heat water to a boil, cool for 3 minutes and fill the pitcher halfway. Lower the lid with attached Tea Infuser into the hot water, allowing steam to vent, and brew for 3 minutes. Remove the lid and detach the Tea Infuser. Stir in honey until dissolved.

3. FLASH CHILL Top off with ice, seal lid and shake for 30 seconds to flash chill. Remove 2½ cups of the iced tea to make room for the fruit infusion.

4. ADD CITRUS FLAVOR Twist the Citrus Juicer into the top of the pitcher and juice the lime. Twist off the Citrus Juicer, seal and shake to mix.

5. ADD FRUIT & HERB FLA VORS Twist the Fruit Infuser into the Infuser Extender and add chopped watermelon and mint. Twist the Fruit Infuser into the lid, lower it into the iced tea and seal airtight. Zip on the Thermo Jacket and infuse for 3 hours in the refrigerator.

FOOD PAIRING Bring on the spices and pair curry, pepper and hot sauces with the sweet and refreshing flavors of watermelon, lime and mint.

Good Enough to Put Your Name On

Once, last year when I was pregnant, my husband and I had Chipotle for dinner.  He ate his whole burrito. I ate half of mine.  I put mine in a container in the fridge with a note that said, “Do not eat this burrito.  If you eat it, you will be stealing your baby’s food.”

In the same vein, my friend Colleen is one of the most generous people I know.  She lives in community at a Catholic farm in West Virginia, where she, her husband and a  handful of other year-rounders play host to hundreds of volunteers every year.  She is a master at cooking food for a crowd.  And, sometimes, she puts her name on her food.

So, what is it about certain foods that turn normally mild-mannered women into petulant 3-year-olds, yelling, “Mine!” while clinging to a beloved box of truffles?  Well, it’s not a character flaw.  It is simply a sense that certain foods and beverages deserve special treatment and savoring.  I don’t want my husband scarfing my burrito at 11pm when he could just as easily make a peanut butter sandwich.  Similarly, volunteer coming across some tangerine Spritzers in the fridge would probably not recognize that they were imported from the nearest Trader Joe’s, which is four hours away. Which brings me to the tea.

 

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A Celebration of Iced Tea… and Booze

This is a very special day. For starters, yes, it’s Friday, but not just any Friday. It is, apparently, National Iced Tea Day! Duh. On this holiest of days, everyone must appreciate the refreshing luxury iced tea brings to our lives. I know I certainly do.

Of course, there is one glaringly obvious inherent flaw in iced tea: no booze! What is the point of even drinking any liquid if it’s not going to get you buzzed, you know? Never fear. Many geniuses out there agree with my “iced tea needs more alcohol in it” conclusion. These days we have a cornucopia of boozy sweet teas to choose from: Firefly, Jeremiah Weed, Sweet Carolina, etc…

This is a somewhat controversial beverage; I have personally encountered haters who proclaim it “too sweet” or even “disgusting” …but you know what I say?  The same thing I say any time someone turns down delicious alcohol: great, more for me!

Now, let’s state the obvious: classic iced tea makes a great mixer. Just ask Arnold Palmer, the great man who discovered the glory of combining lemonade and iced tea, so brilliant that his name will now forever be associated with beverages instead of just golf. Tragically, this drink possesses the same drawback as traditional iced tea: non-alcoholic. However, let’s do the math. Iced tea (good mixer) + Lemonade (good mixer) = Good mix of good mixers = one GREAT mixer = Arnold Palmers are alcohol’s best friend! In-depth historical research informs me that we can call an alcoholic AP either a John Daly or a Happy Gilmore (…no) or a “Donovan.” What? Has anyone ever ordered a Donovan without feeling like a douchebag?

Anyway, the problem with alcoholic Arnie Palmies, Donovans, whatever you want to call this heavenly nectar: during the summer I want to drink them all the time. But the man wants to keep me down. Unlike mild-mannered sober iced tea, which is accepted everywhere, society frowns upon constant public consumption of iced tea cocktails. I say enough is enough! On this momentous holiday, I shall share my secret recipe for limitless summertime boozin’ fun. Mix up one of these bad boys after work today, and raise a glass to the weekend.

Public Palmer Cocktail


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Cupcake Rampage: Arnold Palmer Cupcakes

arnold 02
“I want you to kill every golfer on this course.”

Legend has it that one day at the height of his powers in the early 1960s, pro golfer Arnold Palmer was at the Cherry Hills Country Club in Cherry Hills, Colorado for one reason or another. Reportedly, Palmer asked one of the bartenders to mix him a special drink, the ingredients of which must have been so gauche that the Tom Cruise-wannabe behind the bar initially refused to sully his Boston shaker with the likes. At this, Palmer allegedly became so incensed with the mixologist’s cheek that he flew into a mild rage, threatened to get snooty, and, if his request was further denied, promised to get downright snotty.

Blanching at the prospects of facing down a murderously thirsty PGA Master and his posse, the barman wisely caved and quickly built Palmer’s beverage: a tall glass of ice, filled halfway with lemonade, and topped off with iced tea.

The drink has since earned the reputation of being the black-and-tan of the country club, the virgin Queen of 19th hole quaffers, and to this day, such a mixture is still known colloquially as an “Arnold Palmer.” Most barkeeps will know what you want when you order one by name, although some restaurant waitstaff may fix you with a funny look, since it is kind of a fusty old drink; something for teetotalers or closet lushes who want to keep their vice on the down-low. And while it hasn’t stopped marketers from pushing pre-packaged versions onto the masses, at least it comes with a readymade practical joke:

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