Thai Iced Tea makes me think of my sister Susanne, who upon entering her local Thai restaurant, orders her first tall tumbler of Thai tea as she walks to her table. Maybe frequent enjoyment of this beautiful, scrumptious drink is the reason she herself is so sweet.
Sold in one-pound cellophane-wrapped packets in Asian markets, this finely chopped black tea is spiced with cinnamon, star anise, and vanilla, and then tinged with a bit of food coloring to create its gorgeous terra-cotta hue. Like Thai coffee, Thai tea is traditionally sweetened well with sugar as it brews and crowned with a generous splash of evaporated milk or half-and-half just before serving. You can brew Thai tea in a teapot, drip coffeemaker, or French press, making it very strong and adding the sugar while the tea is still very hot.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
4½ cups water
¾ cup Thai tea powder
¾ cup sugar
Crushed ice or ice cubes to fill each glass
1 to 1½ cups evaporated milk or half-and-half (3 to 4 tablespoons per glass)
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the water to a boil, stir in the Thai tea powder, and remove from heat. Stir well to mix in the sugar and then let it cool, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar.
When the tea has cooled to room temperature, strain it through a finemesh strainer or coffee filter into a pitcher and chill until serving time.
To serve, fill 4 to 6 tall glasseswith ice and then add about ¾ cup Thai tea to each glass. Top off each glass with 3 to 4 tablespoons evaporated milk.
Serve at once, as the evaporated milk cascades over the ice and swirls languidly into the tea.