Raise a Glass of Bubbly with a Fabulous Sparkling Tea
Sparking teas have become ever more popular in recent years, and it’s easy to see why. Not only is sparkling tea a wonderfully light and refreshing thirst quencher, it’s also a great alternative to drink instead of wine or other alcoholic beverages. From elegant bottles of sparkling tea on the shelves of Fortnum & Mason to a diverse assortment of bottled and canned varieties, sparkling teas can be found at a variety of outlets, where they may be referred to as ‘sparkling iced teas’, ‘fizzy teas’, ‘iced tea spritzers’ or ‘sparkling cold brewed teas’. However, it’s very easy to make your own delicious versions at home, where you can use your imagination and create some sensational sparkling tea recipes for your own enjoyment or to serve to family and friends. Sparkling teas are delightful to drink on their own, but they can also be a great accompaniment to certain foods, and some pair particularly well with fish and seafood dishes, risottos, or sushi.
A sparking tea is simply created with cooled, brewed tea, that is topped up with sparkling water and ice cubes. Unlike carbonated soda drinks such as cola and energy drinks, which are sometimes loaded with sugar and additives, drinks made with sparkling water are a much healthier option. They are a good choice of beverage if weight loss is a goal, as they give a feeling of fullness, and being sugar-free, are low in calories or even calorie-free. Add to this the health benefits that tea can offer and you have the perfect guilt-free drink to serve for all kinds of occasions.
There are many types of tea that are suitable for sparkling tea recipes; delicate green, white and oolong teas can work well, but black tea, such as Darjeeling, is also good. It’s worth experimenting with blends of teas with flavours that complement one another, such as a mix of Assam Silver Needle white tea with an aromatic Oolong. Hibiscus tea lends a crisp fruitiness to some blends. The subtle, floral flavours of a sparkling Jasmine tea are particularly refreshing, as are the grassy notes evident in a sparkling green tea. Herbal teas and fruit tisanes can also be used.
Whatever tea you choose, be careful not to infuse it for too long so the brew becomes bitter. Cold brewed tea is good to use for sparkling teas, as fewer tannins are extracted from the tea when processed this way, making it less bitter than tea that’s been brewed in hot water. Cold brewed tea can be made by steeping loose leaf tea in cold water, in a covered glass pitcher or mason jar in the refrigerator for 8-12 hours, before straining the infusion.
For a basic recipe for cold sparkling tea, use 2 teaspoons of loose leaf tea for every half a cup of water. Heat the water to an appropriate temperature for the type of tea used and infuse the tea leaves in a teapot, taking care not to over-steep (longer steeping times and higher temperatures for black teas than green, white or oolongs). Strain the tea into a jug or pitcher and let it cool, then fill some tall glasses with ice and pour in the tea, leaving enough room to top up with sparkling water. The tea can be sweetened if desired with sugar syrup, but some teas have a natural sweetness. Other ingredients may be added, such as fruit juice, thinly sliced citrus fruits, or mint leaves to make a fabulous summer cooler.