Lemon iced tea deserves all the hype it receives, and for the record, it does receive a lot nowadays! It’s refreshing, mild, and soothing — literally the drink version of a feel-good movie you never get tired of watching. The best part? It’s pretty easy to make at home, even for kitchen virgins (is that a term? idk). I have been a lemon iced tea diehard for so long, and I’ll say yes to it any day, no matter the weather or season.
When made at home, this citrusy goodness is a great substitute for sugar-laden carbonated drinks and canned juices. I’m not one to gatekeep good recipes, especially the ones that take less time to make. It’s an act of social service (*wink*) — aren’t we all juggling tasks infinitely and yearning for time?
Ahead is the easiest recipe for my favorite iced drink. Save it for your next dine-in date or an evening soirée with friends/family.
To make gorgeous-looking (and smelling) lemon iced tea at home, you just need the following ingredients that are readily available in any kitchen.
- Tea leaves – 1.5 tablespoon
- Honey – 1 tablespoon
- Sugar – 2 tablespoons
- Lemon – 2 whole
- Ice cubes – as required for serving
- Water – 2-3 cups
Silly note: Don’t be rigid with the quantities, as they are merely an estimate. I usually just wing it! The first time is a bit of a challenge, but once you get it right for your taste, stick to the ratios.
You can discard sugar if you are keen on cutting it down. Or completely use sugar without honey (in step 5 below). Tea leaves can be substituted with tea powder of choice. Let’s dive into the recipe now.
The Making of Lemon Iced Tea
- Take two lemons and start with preparing lemon zest – either by peeling the lemons and fine chopping it or grating it (wouldn’t recommend grating as it takes forever).
- Extract lemon juice from the same two lemons and set it aside for now.
- Take a pan, add two tablespoons of sugar, lemon zest, and half a cup of water, and heat them on medium flame to make syrup. It takes about 5-7 mins for the syrup to ooze a citrusy aroma. That’s your cue to turn the heat off.
- Parallely, make tea decoction with 2-3 cups of water and 1.5 tablespoons of tea leaves or tea powder. This should take about the same time as the sugar-lemon syrup. Strain the decoction.
- Here comes the final step. Take the serving glass, add the sugary syrup, lemon juice, and one tablespoon of honey and mix them well. Now add ice cubes (as much as you prefer) and add the strained decoction. Stir well.
Oh, and do not forget to add that sliced lemon to the rim before serving. You gotta drizzle a jot of aesthetics to get it Instagram-approved.
Et voilà! Your very own homemade lemon iced tea is staring at you with admiration, for you did a great job. Told ya. It’s easier than you think.
If you want to eliminate sugar entirely, skip the sugary syrup part (step 3) and instead add lemon zest or lemon peel while boiling decoction (step 4). To skip honey, substitute it with sugar in the final step.
When you’re short on time, give instant lemon iced tea mix a try. You literally have to add two spoonfuls of the mix to a glass of cold water and top it with ice. I love the one by Nestea. It always finds a place for itself in my summer groceries shopping list.
Anyways, if you happen to try the recipe, do let me know how it turned out!