Although I've been drinking iced tea here in Georgia for quite a few weeks now, I wanted to honor today's kickoff of National Iced Tea Month by sharing a new simple syrup recipe I tried over the weekend using fresh spearmint leaves.
As every sweet tea-swilling southerner can attest, few things are more annoying than getting to a restaurant, asking for sweet tea, and being told to add a packet of sugar to the glass of cold tea. You end up with unsweet tea with grains of undissolved sugar in the bottom of the glass. Making a simple syrup solves that problem! All you do is heat equal parts granulated sugar and water (I used 1 cup of each) and stir 'til all the sugar is dissolved. That's it! Then, you can keep unsweet tea on hand for the unsweet crowd but still be able to quickly sweeten it for those who like a sweetened drink. After I turned off the heat, I flavored this simple syrup by adding a handful of mint leaves which I left in the cooling syrup for about 30 minutes and then strained off.
I poured some of the simple syrup in this three-inch cream pitcher so it would be easily available, and there's more of the syrup in a plastic container in the fridge. I poured about two tablespoons of it into a glass of unsweetened iced tea and oh my, did the spearmint flavor shine through. Heavenly!
When you strain it, it's perfectly clear, as you can see here. This simple syrup was so easy to make, I may try it again soon with other herbs and perhaps some fresh strawberries and peaches later this summer. It's my little tribute to National Iced Tea Month!