Being born and bred in the South, I have always loved my coffee and iced tea. But for some reason, I have also had a life long passion for hot tea as well. After my father's stint in the UK during WWII I have also developed a great fondness of the UK. Some of my closest friends reside in Hastings, East Sussex, UK, and after returning from my third visit with them this June after a month, was properly introduced to Pimm's Cup No. 1. Seems that Pimms is one of the preferred summer drinks in the southern part of the UK. If you are not familiar with it you can Google it and read for yourself, but the "No. 1" designation refers to base spirit. The "No. 1" uses Gin as the base spirit. There are others that utilize Scotch Whisky, etc.
I decided that why not bring tea (iced, not hot by the way...in case you were getting concerned) and Pimms together and see what happened...LOL I am sure that this has been done before and most likely a long time ago, but I have yet to find it. I would recommend this very light refreshing drink to anyone that loves Iced Tea.
I would recommend any good BLACK PLAIN TEA or FLAVOURED TEA. I have not used this combination with green tea and personally don't think that green nor oolong would be good candidates. I also would recommend Assam black teas (tFactor Assam Tea is the very best: http://www.tfactor.us/) in particular or a good English, Scottish, or Irish Breakfast tea as these tend to be good strong, brisk teas that I find blend great with Pimms. I assume that Liptons could do, but I have always disliked Liptons because as it gets stronger it gets bitter. I realize that we, as a nation, pretty much gave up tea drinking as a national beverage after the American Revolution, but as such it seems to have left America to suffer with low grade teas, just like you will find that most coffee drinking Brits stuck with Instant Coffee...YUCK! The only black tea that I would NOT recommend is Louisianne brand tea. That has got to be the most anemic tea that I have ever tried. One British brand of tea that you can find commonly now, at least here in Texas, is Tetley. That is very good as well.
I also think that just about any HERBAL TEAS, especially the "Zingers" from Celestial Seasonings (my favourite has always been Red Zinger). BTW, if you don't already know, the "red" part of Red Zinger is from a particular Hibiscus Flower and is why when you find this for sale in Hispanic grocery stores it is named: Flor de Jamaica. If you find this wonderful flower/herbal tea; try it for goodness sake. About a 1/4 cup of flowers will make at least a quart, so you can adjust ratios and amounts accordingly. This is also great brewed directly with your black teas as well, non-flavoured and flavoured alike or brewed separately and added to your tea.
I apologize for rambling so, but as you can see, I really get passionate about certain things and cooking of all sorts has been just that for about the past 40 years. If you have put up with this posting this far, I am sure you are wondering what in the world is the recipe?
Okay...basically the recipe is what ever you like. I have used a 1 to 1 ratio, but think for most folks a 1 part Pimm's Cup No. 1 to 3-4 parts tea would work well. It really is so dependent on what tea you use, how strong you brew it, and how strong you like your drinks mixed.
I hope some one tries this very refreshing concoction. Also, if you love lemon and/or lime in your iced tea, that works great in this recipe as well. Basically, just think of this as "spiked" iced tea. It's just that Pimm's No. 1 happens to partner well with the briskness and astringency of tea.
P.S. When I was a child, one of my classmate's parents were British ex-pats. My mother was admonished that only Americans used "tea bags" and gave her a proper tea pot along with a tea cozy that she crocheted. I only mention this because, much to my amazement and chagrin, convenience has overpowered an old English tradition of properly brewed "loose leaf" tea. You will be hard pressed to find even the oldest "Nan" (grandmother) that brews tea with loose tea now in the UK. What a shame. Matter of fact, the two Nans that I personally know have gone even a step WORSE! They use INSTANT TEA... We really must be in END TIMES...LOL The vast majourity of tea bag tea now, is grown and processed in Kenya, Africa; not India! Tea bag tea is basically the lowest, if not one of the lowest grades of tea. They are referred to as Fannings or Dust due to their size which lends themselves to fast rapid brewing times. This is why I was so delighted to find tFactor Teas online. This is a family owned and operated company out of Florida. If you really like/love tea or have had similar passion for tea, like me, treat yourself to some of the best teas in the world. They are also registered growers and suppliers of Darjeeling Teas as well...the "Champagne of Tea". If you haven't tried Darjeeling tea...do. It brews up a lighter infusion with some of the most exotic "honey-like" aromas. Sorry...Rambling again!
I actually went through Harrogate this June. That was my first time and the couple that I was with didn't have enough time to visit long. We are planning to go back in the near future and really looking forward to it, it is really a very beautiful place. I had found Taylor's of Harrogate before I knew much about Assam tea. My favourite blend from Taylor's is their Yorkshire Gold. I even got my mates in the UK to try it and they all seem to love it as well. This past Christmas when I was visiting my friends in Hastings, I actually brought back several pounds of Yorkshire Gold, as Taylor's makes several versions of Yorkshire Gold. Believe it or not, one is suppose to be especially for "hard water". I have quite hard water here at home, but still prefer the standard Yorkshire Gold.
The problem with most "loose" tea is that even though it is loose, it is extensively cut. You might want to see if you can find some whole leaf tea or some that may be listed as "broken leaf". The more that the tea is chopped up the more surface area and the more oxidation that takes place that degrades it quality. If you have the time to call the nice folks at tFactor they can explain it much better than me.
Just a note to tell you how wonderful the folks at Taylor's are, about 4 years ago I found them on the Web and emailed them not onlyt did I love their tea, but that how I regreted they were not offering for sale online some tea mugs that had their logo on it. Now get this...they emailed me back that since I loved their tea so much that they would be happy to send me two of their mugs...not only free, but free shipping as well. They are wonderful folks, to say the least. I would endorse them anytime.
I can't beging to tell you how much better I feel these days after basically giving up my daily coffee. If you are interested in really good green tea, take a look at some of the Japanese tea sites. The ones that offer Matcha, Gyokuro, and Sencha are worth a look. They appear quite expensive as do the really good Taiwanese teas like Pouchong, but if you consider they are intended to be reinfused up to 5 times with some, they are not as dear as they first appear.
Take care and happy Steepin' and Sippin'
You are most interesting about all you know about tea. I know very little have to see if I can get the gold one some where, would love to try
I do want you to know my daughters also have tea all the time, as a matter of fact one one them took me to a small British tea house, very quaint, where one can have most any tea from the world plus sweets or sandwiches. That is where I had Assamy tea fot the forst time,
bye for now