We’ve been at a big family reunion in Tennessee this past weekend, and it’s been pretty warm here. To keep everyone refreshed and rehydrated we’ve made massive vats of iced tea.  In this USA Weekend’s video we demonstrate not only how to make iced tea quick and from scratch but also how to flavor it interestingly.

Fifteen-Minute Iced Tea

Serves 8

Using a 2-quart Pyrex measuring cup makes this tea a one-pot drink—from brewing to pouring. If you don’t have a microwave, you can also place the tea bags and water in a medium non-reactive saucepan. Heat mixture over medium-low heat until very steamy, darkly colored, and bubbles form on the bottom and sides of the pan, about 190 degrees F, 8 to 10 minutes. Continue with steeping instructions in this recipe.

5 black tea bags
1 quart water
2 to 6 tablespoons sugar, optional (depending on desired sweetness)
1 quart ice cubes plus additional cubes for glasses

Place tea bags and water in a 2-quart Pyrex measuring cup. Cover with a small plate. Heat mixture on high power until very steamy, darkly colored, and water starts to move, but not boil, about 190 degrees F, 8 to 10 minutes, depending on starting water temperature and power of microwave. Remove cup from microwave.  Let tea steep for 3 minutes. Remove and discard tea bags to keep tea from getting bitter. Add desired amount of sugar; stir until dissolved. Add ice; stir until melted. Fill desired number of glasses with ice. Stir tea, pour over ice, and serve immediately.

Iced Tea with Lime and Mint: Follow recipe for 15-Minute Iced Tea adding a handful of mint sprigs (about ½ cup) and 1 ½ teaspoons finely grated lime zest to the tea as it emerges from the microwave. Cover and follow steeping instructions straining lime zest (if you like but not necessary) and fishing out mint before serving.

Iced Tea with Orange and Cloves: Follow recipe for 15-Minute Iced Tea adding 12 whole cloves along with the tea bags and 1 ½ teaspoons of finely grated orange zest to the tea as it emerges from the microwave.  Cover and follow steeping instructions, straining before serving.

Ginger Tea: Follow recipe for 15-Minute Iced Tea adding 6 to 8 ginger coins smashed with a knife blade to the tea as it emerges from the microwave. Cover and follow steeping instructions fishing out ginger before serving.