Every time we go out to my favorite Thai restaurant I always order my favorite drink : a Thai Iced Tea. On hot, sticky summer months there is nothing else I like than a tall, chilled glass of this creamy tea drink. I look forward to grasping the glass, with beads of coldness on the outside sticking to my fingers– a sure sign the beverage is as chilly as the North Pole and that is exactly what I want.
The tall tea drink looks magnificent in the ombré shades that go from light mocha to dark amber. Then I dunk my long spoon into the crushed ice on top, penetrating through the hues of milky brown that float like clouds in the glass as I stir the drink. The process of stirring alone makes me drool so I waste no time sipping the cool, sweet herbal-like nectar to soothe me from the summer heat.
Thai Iced Tea is a favorite at many Filipino and Asian restaurants and their menus. Like I mentioned before, the Philippines has many things in common with our Asian neighbor, Thailand. Our beverages and cuisine are on top of that list. Both the Philippines and Thailand are geographically in a part of Southeast Asia that experience warm, tropical weather all year round, even during the rainy season (the last 6 months of the year). So chilled, easy-to-mix beverages like this Thai Iced Tea are a welcome respite from the year round nearly 100 F heat index and humidity in both these countries.
The process of making Thai Iced Tea is as easy as making a regular cup of tea and adding milk. The generous Nancie McDermott shared a reliable recipe on her cookbook “Simply Vegetarian Thai Cooking”. So here is my version of this favorite beverage inspired by Nancie. Make this often. You’ll love it so much you will find yourself mixing it up all year round just like I do.
Thai Iced Tea
- 1/2 cup Black tea leaves or Thai tea leaves
- 4 cups water
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 12 oz. crushed ice
- 1 1/2 cups evaporated milk or Half-and-Half
- Over medium high heat, in a medium stock pot add 4 cups water and let it boil. Add the tea leaves. Stir so the tea mixes well with the boiling water. Lower the heat and simmer the brew or 1 minute more.
- Remove the tea and water from the heat. Add the sugar and mix well. Cover and let the tea mixture cool to room temperature. This kind of tea will brew to a bright, dark orange.
- Pour the tea mixture in a large pitcher while straining through a sieve. Discard the tea leaves. Cover the pitcher and refrigerate. This keeps for at least one week.
- To prepare Thai Iced Tea: fill each tall glass with crushed ice, up to 3/4 of the glass. Add the iced tea to fill the brim of the glass. Slowly pour about 1/4 cup (60 ml) of evaporated milk (or Half-and-Half) into the glass. Serve immediately while beverage is cold.
- Cook's Comments: I used my supply of Tazo black tea variety "orange chiffon" which is a mix of Earl Grey, orange peel, vanilla and buttercream flavor. In her cookbook recipe, Nancie McDermott shares this tip --- " Thai tea can be ordered by mail or online sources if you do not live near an Asian market. The powdery leaves keep for months so buy a good supply and you can keep a pitcher of tea on hand at all times."
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Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided in the recipe links is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.
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