Cool Down with Iced Tea Pairings for Summer

There are few beverages as refreshing on a warm day as sun-brewed iced tea. Just like wine, tea can be a fabulous beverage to pair with your meals. Follow this guide for a delicious, and thirst-quenching afternoon tea.
By Annelise McAuliffe

iced tea

With the ability to be easily infused, tea is the perfect medium to introduce herbal, fruity, or more acidic flavors. Just like with wine, there are no strict rules for tea pairings. Adjust the sweetness of each tea to your liking and get brewing! Go with your taste buds and what you prefer when it comes to pairing the chilled teas.

When serving lighter dishes such as a salad, choose to make a tea that will not overpower the fresh flavors. Teas that have more acidity and added citrus flavors will do well with most vegetable and salad dishes. Try whisking an iced tea into your next vinaigrette dressing, too. With a slaw or watermelon and arugula salad, pair with an unsweetened or slightly sweetened green tea. For more added flavor, whisk in cayenne pepper, too. Try this recipe.


Red Meats
Pair a full-bodied tea with rich meats. Robust teas are often a good base to get the brewing going. Don’t be afraid to add a touch more sugar with these beverages and more fruit and herbs, too. A great way to match the flavors is by infusing the tea with the same herbs used to cook the protein. Experiment with a delicious mango green tea with juice or puree mixed in, along with ginger, thyme, or basil. Try this recipe for mango iced tea.



Poultry and Fish
For poultry, pasta, and fish served with a light sauce (not cream based) keep the tea simple, too. Start with a green tea with lemon and add a few raspberries or peach slices to begin infusing. With this pairing, you don’t want something that is too sweet or fruity. Simple flavors will help accompany the simple, delicious pasta or protein. Try this recipe.



When you’re mixing sweet and salty foods, pairings can become tricky. Stick to the basics with a green tea and mint blend and some added watermelon and basil for something new. Add seltzer water to the following recipe for a delicious refresher. There is something about bubbles and crunchy snacks that is so great. Try this recipe.



Depending on the dessert and what you enjoy, serve an ultra-sweet tea with the final course or a lighter tea that will balance the sugary dessert. Adjust spices and fruits to infuse the tea based on what ingredients are used in the dessert. This recipe for cardamom and honey iced tea would be wonderful with a rich vanilla ice cream or spiced pound cake. Adjust the sweetness level to your liking. Try the recipe here.


Annelise McAuliffe

Annelise McAuliffe

Mandatory family outings to the Detroit farmers' market and nightly home-cooked meals cultivated Annelise's respect and curiosity for food. A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, she spends her free time in New York City recipe testing, eating breakfast all day, and dreaming up international culinary adventures.

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Originally Published: June 10, 2014

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