It just means summer to me. I am pretty sure I've blogged about it during previous summers, but I love this stuff, and the crappier it is, the better it is. There isn't an ingredient in here that's actually found in nature, and if I ate a spoonful of it straight, one of my eyes would screw shut and my teeth would vibrate for a good few minutes. But when it's really hot out and I am dying for something sweet and summery, it's all I can think about taking out of the cabinet. By August, it's got weird clumps from the wet scoop and I don't want to look at it, but come next June, it's time to buy another. If you are in the market, just grab the biggest cheapest can you see and it will be perfect.
The question this time was what to mix it with. Ibisco (the bottle at right) is a hisbiscus liqueur that the liquor store guy found for me. He's figured out this whole BabyCocktails thing and likes to help me out with fun bottles of stuff that may lend itself to new sweaters. (which in itself is a little hilarious, but kind of awesome, and I do have a Blue Sky Alpacas sweater this fall that's going go perfectly with this, so he scored with this one.) Ibisco is a little like a St. Germain or a Cointreau, but it's not as sweet, and the hibiscus is kind of springy, if that makes sense. It's good.
I'd paired my Ibisco with gin and grapefruit already, but the tea requires I make an entire pitcher. So, when few friends stopped by last night I decided to set it up and we had a little taste test. I made a hibiscus iced tea buffet with either bourbon or vodka, and the vodka won by a large margin. We decided that bourbon is meant for real iced tea, with actual tea flavor. With that in mind, you can probably make this with bourbon if you like, but substitute the crappy tea for some of the real stuff. For all you vodka fans, the crappy mix tea is just right, since vodka goes really well with actual sugar flavor.
The recipe is below:
Sweet Tea Cocktail
2 oz of vodka
.5 oz of fresh lemon juice
.5 oz of Ibisco (or a whole oz, having made this a few times now...)
2 shakes of lemon bitters
Pitcher of Ice Tea
The way to do this is to make the giant pitcher of iced tea, and get your ingredients out. Pour the vodka, lemon juice, and Ibisco into a tall glass. Add the lemon bitters and a lemon wedge to each and stir. Add ice cubes. Pour tea into glass over ice and stir again. Enjoy! We had these on the back deck after a day at a friend's boat club and it was kind of perfect.