Nothing beats a tall jug of iced herb tea on a sunny summer’s afternoon — except, perhaps, a deliciously chilled caffeine-free herbal infusion which captures the sparkling flavors of fresh herbs and flowers picked from your garden.

This recipe is the first in a series of summer herb tea ideas and is adapted from my book, Infuse: Herbal Teas to Cleanse, Nourish and Heal. It is a refreshing blend of Lemon Verbena, Spearmint and Lemongrass, with Hibiscus flowers for a stunning ruby-red color and fruity tang. Use any or all fresh herbs, depending on what you have available. If you are using dried herbs, simply substitute a teaspoon of the dried herb for a small handful of fresh.

Flavors are less intense when a drink is chilled, so this is a stronger infusion, to ensure the aromas and flavors still sing.

Summer Lovin’ Iced Herb Tea

Makes 1 medium sized jug (double the quantities to fill a drinks dispenser)

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon dried Hibiscus flowers
  • 1 small handful Lemon Verbena leaves
  • 1 small handful Spearmint (or peppermint, orange mint – any mint will work)
  • 2-3 twists of Orange peel
  • 1/2 small handful, chopped Lemongrass
  • Orange slices to garnish

Directions

  1. Reserve a few leaves to garnish, then place all the other ingredients except the orange slices into a large teapot or large heatproof glass container (a mason jar works well).
  2. Pour over just boiling water and allow to steep for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Strain the infusion and allow it to cool before refrigerating until it is completely cold.

When you are ready to serve, add ice and garnish with the fresh herb leaves, orange slices and perhaps some edible flowers such as rose petals, borage flowers or johnny-jump-ups.

P.S. Why not make a little extra and freeze it in an ice cube tray? You can even drop a petal or leaf into each cube before freezing, to make pretty herbal ice cubes.

Writer Paula Grainger is a highly regarded British Medical Herbalist. After graduating with first class honors from The University Of Westminster, she created Lemon Balm, a popular Herbal Apothecary and Clinic in London’s Camden Town. She has worked with people of all ages using herbs to enhance their health and wellness and has a wealth of experience in communicating the power of plants through her workshops and writing. In 2011 she moved with her husband (the novelist Michael Marshall Smith) and their young son to Santa Cruz, California where, when she is not growing herbs or making herbal preparations, she continues to share her love and expertise of plant medicine with people on both sides of the Atlantic. Her first book INFUSE (co-written with Karen Sullivan) was published in Spring 2016.