Wrapping a fuzzy blanket around your shoulders, snuggling up against a fluffy pillow, staring deep into the glowing embers as they lick the sides of the fireplace, peacefully sipping on a steaming mug of tea—all activities I would absolutely not fathom partaking in during May’s 90° weather! However, right behind good ol’ water and my daily glass of Kombucha, tea serves as my go-to beverage, the comforting qualities and health benefits of which I couldn’t stand to lose during the summer months. Unfortunately, yesterday (and on other stiflingly muggy days) tea presented the unpleasant challenge of pouring hot liquid into my vinyasa-yoga-flowed out, already sticky-sweaty body. No thank you.
Luckily, there exists a magical solution for transforming a contemplative mug of warming tea into a refreshing beverage for the warm-weather months: sun tea. Yes, tea brewed by the sun. Can you imagine a more hippie-esque drink? Well, those hippies certainly have something up their sleeve with this ridiculously easy, infinitely variable, and deliciously cooling version of tea. The laughably simple brewing process consists of filling a large pitcher with cold water, throwing in a couple tea bags, sticking it in a sunny spot outside, and chilling it in the refrigerator. If you’d like to complicate the “recipe” a bit by incorporating a couple flavorful additions, fresh herbs and fruits/citrus offer lovely layers of complexity. My favorite combinations include lemon+rosemary, strawberries+basil, and orange+tarragon which I’ve chosen to highlight here.
Orange-Tarragon Sun Tea (Raw if using raw tea, Soy Free, Oil Free, Nut Free)
Makes as much as you like, really.
A large pitcher full of cold water
Mild-flavored tea bags (I used 4 bags of Kukicha for 8 cups of water, but any unflavored green or black tea would work well. Adjust the number of tea bags to how strong you’d like your finished sun tea).
Fresh tarragon, chopped fine
Place the tea bags in the pitcher filled with water. Set in a sunny spot outside for 4-6 hours depending on the desired strength of your tea. Remove the tea bags. Stir in the tarragon and orange slices. Place in the refrigerator and let chill for a couple hours to allow the flavors to meld and to cool down from the sun’s heat. Serve over ice, pouring through a strainer to avoid tranferring the chopped tarragon into your glass, if you like.