Warm weather calls for iced tea, and cocktails on the patio. So I have combined them both in this Spiked Iced Tea Cocktail. Please enjoy alcohol responsibly.
Iced Tea or Sweet Tea: What's the Difference?
You've probably noticed cold glasses of tea being called iced tea and also sweet tea. They are basically the same thing with one difference, sugar. Sweet tea is a staple in the southern USA, where tea is brewed and heavily sweetened, cooled and served over ice.
Although iced tea is also often sweet, it can be lightly or completely unsweetened. Iced tea in the south is unsweetened.
Brewed Tea vs Powdered Mix
Here in the North, when we have iced tea, it is often a commercial product from a can or bottle or a powdered mix stirred into water. However, real brewed or steeped tea is far superior to any commercial product and it's really easy to make, and also inexpensive and delicious, too. In fact, if you aren't adding sugar, you don't even need to boil the water. And if you are adding sugar, you get to control how much.
The Many Types of Tea
Did you know that all tea comes from the same plant? The differences between white, green, and black teas all have to do with what part of the plant it's from, when it's harvested, where the tea is grown, and how long it's dried, among other factors. Within each one of those three tea varieties are many sub-varieties and blends that give different teas their distinct characteristics. If you would like to learn more about tea, I found this fascinating read: Different Types of Tea Explained
What Type of Tea To Use
I used black tea for this spiked iced tea, specifically orange pekoe. Black tea stands up well to the rum in this cocktail. I brewed the tea to be quite strong and with the rum, lemon, and brown sugar, it's delicious, and the tea flavour is not overpowered, but instead, complimented perfectly by the rum and lemon.
What Sweetener to Use
Although you can simply use refined white sugar, brown sugar, especially dark brown sugar, is especially nice in this spiked tea. The hint of molasses is perfect with the rum. You can also try demerara sugar or coconut sugar for the same effect.
What Type of Rum To Use
There are four different types of rum. Here are the basics:
- White rum is not aged for very long and is the mildest in flavour. It's the rum of choice for mojitos, like this Red Currant Mojito and in pina coladas.
- Amber rum is aged for longer and has more of a caramel flavour. It's the rum that I used in this tea cocktail recipe, and also the one you'll find in a Mai Tai, or a Cuba Libre (rum & coke).
- Dark rum has been aged the longest and has a deep, smoky flavour. Dark rum has the strongest flavour, and it's often sipped on its own. Besides cocktaisl like the Dark & Stormy, dark rum is wonderful in recipes, like these Spiced Rum Grilled Peaches
- Spiced rum is a dark rum with added spice.
I recommend the amber variety in this cocktail recipe. It complements the tea perfectly without overpowering it.
Can You Keep This Drink In The Fridge?
This recipe makes eight 16-ounce drinks, so it is a big batch and perfect for entertaining. Ideally, you should use it within a day. After that, the sugar in the mixture will start fermenting, and the taste will probably be off. If you won't be able to use it all in one day, instead, try cutting the recipe in half.
Summer is the perfect time for cocktails on the deck, porch or patio. Here are a few more delicious sippers for you to try:
- Prosecco Margarita Cocktail
- Rhubarb Gin & Tonic Cocktail
- Greyhound Drink- Grapefruit Vodka Cocktail
- Mexican Mule
- Caprese Caesar Cocktail
Spiked Iced Tea Cocktail
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- 8 black tea bags
- 2 cups amber rum
- 2 lemons sliced
- Put 4 cups of water and the sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Stir to dissolve the sugar. When the mixture comes to a boil, remove from heat
- Add the teabags and allow to steep about 2 hours
- Pour the tea into a one-gallon pitcher
- Add rum and lemon slices, top up with cold water to fill and stir
- Put in the fridge to chill for several hours or overnight
- Serve over ice in glasses