11 Ways to Flavor Plain Iced Tea

Bold flavors and unique combinations are the new wave of iced tea this summer.

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Photo By: Jackie Alpers

Photo By: Jackie Alpers ©2016, Television FoodNetwork, G.P.All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jackie Alpers ©2016, Television FoodNetwork, G.P.All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jackie Alpers

Photo By: Jackie Alpers ©2016, Television FoodNetwork, G.P.All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jackie Alpers ©2016, Television FoodNetwork, G.P.All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jackie Alpers ©2016, Television FoodNetwork, G.P.All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jackie Alpers ©2016, Television FoodNetwork, G.P.All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jackie Alpers ©2016, Television FoodNetwork, G.P.All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jackie Alpers ©2016, Television FoodNetwork, G.P.All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jackie Alpers ©2016, Television FoodNetwork, G.P.All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jackie Alpers ©2016, Television FoodNetwork, G.P.All Rights Reserved

Primp Your Pitchers

Studies suggest that iced tea hydrates just as well as water — but it's a lot more fun to drink. This summer, raise the flavor level even further by dressing up pitchers of plain tea with a myriad of fresh add-ins like sweet berries, fragrant herbs, tart citrus and more. Start with a base of brewed iced tea, then get creative! Our gallery of ideas will inspire you.

Cinnamon Berry Sweet Tea

Simple syrups are the staple of sweet teas. This one combines equal parts sugar, water and fresh or frozen mixed berries with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Bring all of the ingredients to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and discard solids. Cool completely, then stir a teaspoon or two (or three!) of the berry syrup into a tall glass of brewed black iced tea. Garnish glasses with fresh berries and cinnamon sticks.

Green Tea Mojito

Muddle 4 lime wedges with 10 mint leaves and a teaspoon or two of sugar in a highball glass. Top with your favorite brewed iced green tea and lots of ice. 

Mason Jar Iced Tea Shake-Ups

The night before you plan to drink your iced tea, put all of your favorite ingredients for it (including tea bags) into a Mason jar, shake and refrigerate. The next day: Voila! Iced tea to go. This version is made with black tea, cucumber and strawberry slices, mint leaves and lime wedges. For a little morning snack, feel free to nibble on the fresh fruits and veggies after you drink the tea!

Tomato-Basil Iced Tea

Muddle 5 halved heirloom cherry tomatoes with 5 leaves of fresh basil and a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. Top with brewed iced tea. Stir in a teaspoon of sugar if you like it sweet. 

Cherry Mint Shrub Mocktail

Simmer 5 to 10 mint leaves with 1 cup each of cherries, sugar and water for 15 minutes; strain. Add 1 cup apple cider vinegar and chill. Use 1 to 2 ounces of the shrub syrup per glass of plain iced tea. You can learn more about shrubs in this short video from Alton Brown.

Iced Tea with Limoncello

Two ounces of the popular sweet Italian lemon liqueur poured into a tall glass of plain iced tea makes a simple yet sophisticated Arnold Palmer. It’s easy to make homemade limoncello for a fraction of the price of the store-bought version.

Tropical Coconut Iced Tea Cooler

De-cap a young coconut. (Some markets offer this service for free while you wait.) Empty the coconut water into a large shaker with equal parts iced tea, ice and a splash of pineapple juice. Shake vigorously until frothy, then pour back into the coconut and garnish with lime for a fancy nonalcoholic tropical drink.

Iced Tea Float with Lemon Sorbet

A scoop of lemon sorbet in a tall glass of iced tea makes a refreshing treat. Garnish with lemon zest for, well, more zest.

Whiskey Iced Tea Pomegranate Mash

Muddle 2 tablespoons of pomegranate seeds in the bottom of a rocks or old fashioned glass. Pour in a shot or two of whiskey and a dash of bitters. Top with strong-brewed plain iced tea or bergamot-infused tea. Garnish with freshly ground black pepper.

Iced Tea with Frozen Peaches and Fresh Thyme

Using frozen peaches is a creative and tasty update on plain ice cubes, and they won’t dilute your drink. Add brewed black tea, and a sprig of thyme to round out the flavor.

Iced Tea Sangria

Slice up a lemon, an orange and a plum. Pour a bottle of white wine such as Pinot Grigio and 1/2 cup of orange liqueur into a large pitcher. Add the sliced fruit, 1 cup of blackberries and 1 cup of cooled, strongly brewed black tea. Chill for at least 4 hours and serve over ice.