Summertime and the livin’ is easy…and nothing could be easier than whipping up a batch of iced tea to enjoy in the middle of a scorching summer afternoon or a sultry summer night. You can even amp up the experience with some fancy ice cubes for iced tea that is easier than pie, and dare I say it…? Just as delicious.
Step 1: Choose a Liquid
Anyone can make ice out of water. The true tea visionary thinks outside the tap. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a handful of good old-fashioned water-based ice cubes. But whether it’s iced tea or an iced tea cocktail, we’ve all had a melted ice cube throw off the flavor of our drink, gradually watering it down more and more until it is a mere shadow of the beverage you craved.
But did you know…you can freeze other liquids? Eureka! Problem solved.
Say goodbye to watered-down iced tea and hello to the flavor sensation that is…ice cubes made from not-water. So make your choice. What liquid will you freeze?
You can fortify your iced tea with ice made from the same tea base. As the ice cubes melt, rather than watering down the flavor, they simply add more of the same tea!
Create a fun fusion with a complimentary tea. A base of mango iced tea suddenly becomes a strawberry mango swirl as your strawberry tea ice cubes slowly add their flavor to the mix. Throw in a couple of pineapple tea ice cubes for a juicy burst of the tropics, and you’ve got yourself one cool flavor sensation!
Add a pop of beautiful blue color (and fabulous fruity flavor) with ice made from butterfly pea flower tea. Or infuse a lush ruby red hue and tart earthy twist with a handful of hibiscus tea ice cubes. Mix and match your favorite blends to keep your iced tea table fresh all summer long.
For a similar experience (and a dash of sweetness), try freezing different juices to add to your iced tea. Or toss in some frozen lemonade for the most satisfying Arnold Palmer around!
Once you’ve chosen your liquid, it’s on to step 2.
Step 2: Choose Your Optional Add-Ins
It’s important to state: step 2 is optional. If you want to choose your liquid and skip straight to step 3, that’s totally your call! Your fancy ice cubes will be perfectly tasty and will effectively chill your tea.
But if you’d like to kick it up a notch, get even fancier with add-ins!
Any add-ins you choose will provide a pop of visual interest to your beverage, plus have the added bonus of garnishing your drink as the cubes melt.
The basic categories are herbs, fruits, and florals. But heck—you can throw whatever your fancy heart desires in there!
Sprinkles. Gold leaf. Actual gold? (Though I wouldn’t recommend it, for a variety of reasons.)
The most accessible ingredients, however—especially during the summertime—will fall into those initial three categories.
In the world of herbs, you could play around with mint (amazing for summer), rosemary, thyme, or even cilantro, depending on the flavor profile you’re going for! As the ice melts, the aromatics from the herbs will add a pleasant dimension to your tea that no mere water ice cube could dream of.
For fruits, experiment with whatever the bounty of summer presents to you. Whether that be berries such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries. Tropical fruits like pineapple, mango, papaya, or even stone fruits like peach, plum, apricot, and cherry.
You could even zest your favorite citrus—lemon, lime, orange—and freeze the peelings in your ice. Whatever fruit speaks to you, chop it up and throw it in! (Or for berries, toss them in whole. No chopping necessary!)
Florals add a stunning visual—choose small buds easily contained in a single cube, either fresh or dried.
Violets are gorgeous, rose buds are elegant, pansies are charming, and butterfly pea flowers are vibrant. Take a walk through a garden and see what inspires you!
For a floral touch that lends both visual and aromatic nuance, consider lavender buds, chamomile blooms, or rose petals.
If you have a single, large ice cube mold, you may have room to feature a single, larger bloom such as a marigold, chrysanthemum, or gerbera daisy.
Step 3: Freeze your Ice Cubes
This may come as no surprise, but once you’ve chosen your liquid and your add-ins, the next step is to…put them in the freezer.
Of course, you’ll need some tools, a receptacle will be necessary.
Classic ice cube trays will do the trick, or you can zazz it up with fun shapes or fancy designs. I’m a big fan of the “one giant ice cube” look, or you can never go wrong with some adorable floating hearts.
They have silicone ice molds for every occasion—flowers, hearts, stars…think anything you might find in a box of Lucky Charms. Not to mention cats, dogs, cacti, Disney characters, pineapples, butterflies, ducks, geometric shapes…anything and everything under the sun. Seriously, do you want little skulls bobbing around in your iced tea? That could be yours!
You can also check out ice cube molds targeted for whisky drinkers…they’re often fun and very fancy—with no extra effort on your part! Just fill the mold with your liquid of choice, pop in your add-ins, open your freezer, set it, and forget it. (But please don’t forget to close your freezer before you walk away. That’s a very important step.)
And that’s about it! With very little fuss or muss, you can have the fanciest ice cubes around, all summer long!
So if you’ve got an “ice is nice and tea is for me” kind of mentality, kick your summer beverage game into high gear with some fancy ice cubes for iced tea!