Got the Winter Blues? Krystal Keith has the cure and it is Southern and sweet!
“I am craving summer right about now as it is unbearably cold outside,” says Krystal. “My love of winter and the nostalgia it brings only lasts until the day after Christmas and then…I’m quickly over it. One of my favorite summertime beverages to make with my Grannie growing up was sweet tea.
“And I’m not talking about adding sugar to your iced tea,” she clarifies. “I’m talking sugar cooked into your tea while its hot, which amps up the level of sweet. It is a southern staple so if you haven’t had it, get on board (just don’t tell your doctor I said so). My dad’s bar in Las Vegas used to serve a peach sweet tea with apples on the top and I fell in love with how beautiful that creation was so I came up with my own version for you guys to try out.
The cinnamon isn’t overwhelming but is more of an infusion to compliment the apples. This is the perfect drink for a picnic or a summer BBQ — or if you’re like me, the perfect drink for a cold January afternoon as you stare at a picture of yourself at the beach and wish you’d asked Santa for a time machine.”
Photo courtesy of Krystal Keith.
8 cups water, divided
3 cinnamon sticks, whole
8 large tea bags (Lipton’s or your favorite)
1 cup white sugar
2 cups ice
3 cups peeled and diced Granny Smith apples
For rimming the glass: (optional)
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon
Boil 4 cups of the water. Remove from heat and add cinnamon sticks. Allow to Steep for 10 minutes. Carefully remove cinnamon sticks with tongs. Bring water back to a boil and again remove from heat. Add tea bags and allow to steep for 10 more minutes. Carefully remove tea bags with tongs. Add sugar and stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Pour into a pitcher filled with 2 cups ice and the additional 4 cups of water (note that the ice will melt). Add the diced apples to the top. Place in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve. Stir the pitcher before serving so that the apples aren’t the only things that pour out.
In addition, I like to rim my mason jars and glasses with a cinnamon sugar blend. To do this you will blend 1 Tbsp sugar (fine sugar if you have it) and 1 Tbsp cinnamon and pour it on a plate or in a cereal bowl that your glass will fit down into. Run a piece of apple around the rim of your glass a few times, running it just a hair down the inside and outside edge as well. Flip your empty glass upside down and set it into the cinnamon-sugar blend and gently move it in a small circular motion just a few times until the rim is coated. Fill the glass with the iced tea and the apples will float to the top!