Thai Iced Tea and Good Friends

I have a very close friend visiting from across the country this week, and we both share a special place in our hearts for this Thai iced tea. We can sit and shoot the breeze for hours over a glass or two of this intoxicatingly flavorful drink. As a treat, I decided to make this for her arrival so we could come home from the airport and have this refreshment waiting for us. Nothing is better for the weary traveler on a warm spring day than a nice, cold, thoughtfully prepared beverage upon their arrival. For those of you who have never experienced Thai iced tea, it is a delightfully creamy sweet treat with hints of warm vanilla and a subtle fruity flavor that can’t quite be placed. I used to only get this special treat when I went out to a Thai restaurant, then I discovered how easy (not to mention inexpensive) it is to make it at home!
 The first ingredient you will need is Thai tea. It comes in an orange package and you can find it at most Asian, Thai, or International markets. Just ask for Thai tea – they will know where to direct you. I wish I had a picture of the package, but the last time I purchased this tea was before I started this blog. Sorry. Here is a picture of what the tea looks like once it is out of the package.

 The second ingredient is a MUST. Really, no substitution will suffice. This ingredient is evaporated milk. This is what is responsible for making the drink intensely creamy and rich. It also lends a flavor that other products (half & half or cream) just can’t match.
 The instructions are very simple:
Boil a quart of water. When at a rolling boil, add approximately four tablespoons of the Thai tea directly to the boiling water and stir in. Boil for a few minutes until the tea reaches a deep orange color. 

Strain through a very fine sieve. The traditional method calls for the tea to be strained through a cloth strainer, but I use our coffee strainer instead. It works like a dream. Just use whatever ultra fine sieve or tea infuser you have on hand. Add 1/2 – 2/3 cup sugar while the tea is still hot. Always feel free to sweeten more or less according to your taste preference. Authentic Thai tea is very, very sweet. 

Let cool to room temperature.
When cool, pour tea over ice and add the canned milk.

There you have it! Isn’t its orange color just spectacular? I really do love making this for a quick afternoon get together. It has aspects of traditional iced tea time in the afternoon with just enough of a twist to make it absolutely fabulous.  

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