As the summer progresses, appetite and cravings that we associate with the colder months vanishes. The requirements of the body change, from seeking warmth we all look for ways to cool off from the scorching sun. Whether we are out and about or are spending all our time in air-conditioning, our bodies are dehydrated and we naturally crave cold sweet liquids. While sherbets are great and am a big fan of a good rose sherbet, we all seek options which do not have added refined sugar.
Such cooling drinks use the natural sugars already existing in the fruit which takes away the need to add refined sugar.
So what I have for you are two summer cooler recipes which are very easy to make, will be liked by adults and children alike and are also a great base for cocktails.
Hibiscus and Anise Cold Brew Tea
Hibiscus Flower Tea, is a joyous experience on its own. First the colour, liquid ruby red, with a sheen giving you the perception of liquid crystal. Aroma, very floral and one can almost be sure that the waft tells you that it will be deliciously tart and that it is. Floral and Tarty in flavour. And last but not the least, packed full of anti oxidants. It’s great on its own.
Now let’s talk about the other ingredient, anise. Sauff, as it is popularly called in India. I picked up some from a proper spice market in the interiors of Rajasthan. An experience that was memorable, because even if anyone was taken to that market blindfolded, they would know we were dealing with anise/ aniseed. A tea made with anise, is also an aromatic play on the senses. Fills the house with the fragrance, leaves behind a pretty green liquid, and is definitely flavourful with a sweet aftertaste.
So the work to be done is simple. Make the two teas, Anise and Hibiscus and let is cool down. If you are serving children, they might want it to be a little sweeter and for that you can add Honey or Maple Syrup or Agave. Do not add any powered sugar. That will make the tea cloudy and less appealing to the eye. And who wants to spoil the real spectacle of mixing two clear green and red liquids as per taste.
So whenever I make this tea, I like to make it a little DIY, serve cold iced glasses, with two unusual carafes (hoarded over the years from my collection of ever breaking glassware), one with chilled Hibiscus Tea and another with chilled Anise/ Aniseed Tea, and then allow the everyone to blend their own, adds to the drama and makes serving more interesting.
Anise/ Aniseed Tea
3-4 tsp anise/aniseed (choose the thicker ones, they are sweeter)
4 cups water
1/2 cup dried hibiscus flowers( might seem a lot but these take up a lot of volume)
4 cups water
1. Make the Anise/ Aniseed Tea. Boil the water in a heavy bottomed pan
2. Once the water starts to boil, add the anise/aniseed.
3. Boil the tea on medium flame for 5-7 minutes or till the colour of the water is green and you can smell the aroma everywhere.
4. Strain and cool
5. Make the Hibiscus Tea. Boil the water in a heavy bottomed pan. You can also use a kettle.
6. Once the water has come to boil, add the hibiscus flowers and let it steep
7. After 5-7 minutes, the petals will steel and sink to the bottom.
8. Strain and cool
9. To serve, fill glasses with ice cubes. Mix the two teas in equal proportion. 10. The colour of the hibiscus tea will take over, but you can taste a refreshing cool beverage with the floral tartness of Hibiscus, rounded off by the sweet aromas of anise/ aniseed.