Words Natalie Jaques, Images Vicki Ravlich Horan
Long sunny days and balmy evenings, BBQs, Christmas and New Year functions, these all symbolise the Kiwi summer. It is customary to feel like something refreshing to drink at the end of the day, whether it is to share with friends, to cool off with, or to just mark the end of a beautiful day.
It’s tempting for this to be a wine, beer or gin and tonic; however, today I’d like to offer you some delicious, non-alcoholic options to try.
Iced teas – they are easy to make, impart health boosting properties, plus they are thirst quenching and refreshing!
Hibiscus, known as ‘sour tea’ in Iran, is a delicious and refreshing summertime drink. This pleasant-tasting herb with the deep-red colour also has beneficial health properties, specifically for those looking to support cardiovascular health. There was a study in 2010 that showed that drinking a daily consumption of three servings of H. sabdariffa (hibiscus) tea, which can be easily incorporated into our daily diet, effectively lowered blood pressure in pre and mildly hypertensive adults.
Studies have shown that H. sabdariffa can relax blood vessels, perhaps via action on calcium channels, and acting as an ACE inhibitor, and a diuretic. There have also been studies showing that hibiscus can inhibit platelet aggregation (blood clotting) and increase blood vessel integrity helping to reduce cholesterol.
Hibiscus also contains vitamin C, which makes it a popular tea to help support immunity and the formation of collagen.
Hibiscus Iced Tea Sparkler
4 cups boiling water
8 bags (or 16 tsp) hibiscus tea
½ cup honey
2 cups sparkling water
strawberries to garnish
In a large pitcher, combine tea bags, honey and boiling water. Let steep for 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on how strong you like your tea.
Remove tea bags or dried herb.
Add ice to pitcher and stir in sparkling water.
Add mint. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until chilled. Garnish with strawberries and serve.
Lemon Verbena, Honey and Lemon Iced Tea
Another great tasting herb to make an iced tea with is lemon verbena. Lemon verbena is a fresh, lemon-scented herb that has a long history of medicinal and culinary use. Traditionally it was used to make a soothing tea to aid digestion and to alleviate colds, flu and break a fever. There have also been studies showing that lemon verbena can help with muscle recovery due to its high antioxidant levels, plus may help with weight loss when combined with hibiscus.
1 tbsp lemon verbena leaves
150ml freshly boiled, filtered water
Infuse for 5 minutes then remove the leaves.
Stir in 1 tsp honey while your tea is still warm and allow to cool. Add the sweet tea and 1 tsp lemon juice to a shaker with plenty of ice. Shake vigorously, then strain into a glass with fresh ice. Garnish with a lemon slice and a sprig of mint.
These are just a couple of the herb teas that can be enjoyed cold. Others include peppermint, lemongrass and chamomile, plus the Japanese have reaped the health benefits of chilled green tea for years. Serve your herb teas chilled or experiment a little to make a refreshing iced tea mocktail perfect for those summer evenings.
The Herbal Dispensary
6 Wallis St, Raglan