Startling as it seems, there are bushels of first-of-the-season stone fruits—peaches, apricots, nectarines—at my local farmer’s markets and that gets me thinking about a tea-based sangria. For those teetotalers in your life, here’s a simple but delicious idea: a way to introduce real fruit flavor into tea. I’m not a fan of artificially flavored or colored anything, so the process of steeping real, fragrant fresh fruits in tea and then drinking the result, over ice, fizzed up with some carbonated water or poured over a berry sorbet for a chilling and thrilling dessert, appeals even before the thermometer reads above 80 degrees F. The method is simple.
This one may be the hardest part: Find the best most aromatic fruits you can find—a mixture of peaches, apricots and nectarines will yield a complex flavor (don’t worry if you live in an area where the fruit array goes barely beyond fresh rhubarb and the waning mountain of citrus; tuck the idea into the back of your head or your mental, digital or printed recipe file, for the summery moment when these fruits are easily available).
Peel, pit and slice the fruits (1 lb. net per quart of tea) and immediately put them into the just brewed hot tea of your choice; I think black teas work best here but if you are resolute green tea or oolong lover, by all means, go that route.
Refrigerate the fruited ice tea overnight.
Next day, decant into a pitcher or glasses filled with ice (saving or tossing the macerated fruit), sweeten with agave or honey dissolved in a little boiling water (this should help to clear up any cloudiness in the tea).