Although you can stick with a simple cup of coffee poured over ice, in no time at all you could turn that plain old iced coffee into something decadent and celebratory that would make a sweltering afternoon something to look forward to.
Every iced coffee starts with brewed coffee, so choose the best coffee you can find and brew it to a strength that can hold its own with additions like syrups, cream, and liqueurs. You can brew it cold by adding coffee grounds to cold water and letting it sit overnight before straining, or brew it hot via your chosen process such as French press, Italian coffee pot, stove top, or drip machine.
Once your coffee is brewed, get it nice and cold by chilling it in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving. (If you're in a rush, skip this part and just add extra ice. If you do this, make sure to brew the coffee extra strong so the melting ice doesn't water down the flavor.)
Brewing is also a great time to add an extra dash of flavor. Stir in a spoonful of cinnamon and cardamom or grate in a bit of orange zest.
If you like your iced coffee black, go ahead and skip to the last point, but if you like to add a bit of pizzazz to your drink, read on for mouth-watering inspiration.
While white granulated sugar may be the traditional sweetener for coffee, there are so many more options that add distinct flavors and nuances to make each cup unique. Try a special sugar such as muscovado, demerara, or turbinado. These sugars have delectably rich flavors that go beautifully with coffee, adding a caramelized note that also pairs well with a splash of rum. Add a drizzle of coconut milk to conjure up dreams of island vacations and dreamy sunset walks on the beach.
Syrups are another way to add flavor and sweetness to your iced coffee, and they're super easy to make. Add flavorings such as hazelnut extract, vanilla bean, or whole spices like cinnamon stick, star anise, and cardamom pods, and bottle it for future use.
Adding cold milk to iced coffee mellows the flavor and adds cool creaminess to the drink. Use whatever tastes good to you, from cow, goat, or sheep milk to nut milks such as hazelnut or almond or coconut.
In Australia an iced coffee just isn't an iced coffee without a big scoop of ice cream and a dollop of whipped cream. Some people stir in a pat of organic, grass-fed butter [link to butter article once it’s up] or a spoonful of coconut oil for added health benefits.
When you have your coffee concoction just right, pour it over ice and serve immediately and let the iced coffee delight your palate and perk up your day.
Photo Credits: Creative Commons, Smuconlaw, and cyclonebill