Sweet Basil and Mint Iced Tea

Last year when I went to San Francisco to visit my friends Rose and Kim, Rose made sweet basil and mint iced tea for a picnic we had in golden gate park.  It was simply wonderful and refreshing to drink while spending a beautiful summer day outdoors.

You may not think of basil as an herb you would use for tea, but being in the mint family it shares many of its sweet, cooling properties.  In Chinese Medicine mint helps to circulate Liver Qi, which means it can improve digestion and mildly release stress.  It is also cooling and releasing in nature, which makes it perfect to enjoy in summertime because it cools down the body.  Being that basil is so similar in nature, it works in much the same way.

Beyond their functions, mint and basil’s flavors go very nicely together.  Pick up some fresh herbs at the farmers’ market and it will only cost you a few dollars to whip up a batch!

 

Sweet Basil and Mint Iced Tea
Half a bunch of fresh mint (about 1 ounce)
Half a bunch of fresh basil (about 1/2 an ounce)
1/3 c maple syrup (or agave/unprocessed cane sugar)
8 c water (1/2 gallon)

Put 4 cups of the water on to boil while you rinse your herbs.  I like to use my trusty french press anytime I make tea.  It’s big and sturdy so it can whole a lot of herbs and water.  If you don’t have a french press you can put the herbs in a muslin bag or straining bag and steep them in a pitcher.  If you don’t have any of these, you could probably skip straining it all together, since the leaves remain whole there aren’t many little bits of anything in the water.

Pour the water over the herbs and let them steep for at least 10 minutes.  Save a little of the water to add to the maple syrup in a separate container, to make sure it’s melted and incorporates well with the tea.

Strain the tea, boil the other 4 cups of water and steep the leaves again.  The tea from the first round should be very strong, so this second steeping gets additional taste out of the leaves but also waters down the batch a bit.

Mix all of the tea and maple syrup together in a large pitcher or bottle.  Taste test it and if it’s still too strong add a bit of water to your liking.  refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

This tea is great to bring to picnics, barbecues, on hikes or any other summer event.  It’s cool, refreshing and just a tad sweet.

Yields 8 cups

 

Would go great with:

Comments

14 Responses to “Sweet Basil and Mint Iced Tea”
  1. A says:

    Question – does this taste good?

    • jacqueline says:

      to the first question – yes! it’s just a little sweet and minty. very refreshing and nice to drink.

      and to the second – i’m not entirely sure why, it might have something to do with spam. i’ll ask cameron, who does all the technical work here on the site, he knows more about how that stuff works. thanks for asking!

  2. Question says:

    Just a question. If my email address is NEVER published or shared, then why is it REQUIRED? I’m thinking maybe to cut down on spam or something, but still. Folks are so hung-up on privacy these days (myself included, obviously). Why would email be required? Sorry to come across as a jerk. I am rather blunt.

  3. rose says:

    mmmm I love that stuff. also, lately I’ve been making lots of lemon verbena tea picked from the front porch. I want you to come meet my herbs!

  4. jacqueline says:

    i would love to! i just saw someone buying a lemon verbena plant from the market on friday and he was ranting about how delicious it is.

  5. Alex Zorach says:

    This sounds and looks really good. I wish I could try some!

    I recently discovered holy basil tea which is an herbal tea made out of a close cousin of sweet basil that is used in Ayurveda (the traditional medicine of India) and as a seasoning in Indian food. It’s delicious, and there is substantial evidence that it has a number of health benefits.

    I haven’t tried making tea from regular sweet basil (honestly, I can’t grow enough of it–I constantly use it up in tomato salads as fast as I can grow it!) but I’d imagine it would also make a delicious tea. And, given what I know about its chemistry, I suspect that it may share some of the health benefits of its Indian cousin.

  6. Cassandra says:

    We are making this right now and it smells delicious!!!! We added a sprig of lemon verbena to it because it sounded good. Just tasted the 1st part—YUM 🙂 Thanks for sharing this. I don’t think I will be able to drink dry herbal tea again.

  7. Kirsten says:

    I just made this with mint and basil from my garden. It smells SO good! It ended up a little sweet for my tastes, but wow. Thanks for the recipe!

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