Sparkling Iced Cider
This is a refreshing, not too sweet autumn beverage that I served at a brunch last week. If you are also serving coffee, use decaf tea to avoid a caffeine overload. The signature flavor of Constant Comment Tea - orange and spice - blends well with the sparkling cider. Sparkling Iced Cider uses simple ingredients and may be made well in advance, freeing up those frantic last minutes before guests arrive. If you want to notch up the kick a bit, pour in 4 ounces of spiced rum before adding the sparkling cider.
4 Constant Comment (by Bigelow) black tea bags
43-inch cinnamon sticks
1 25.4 ounce bottle sparkling apple cider
Juice from 2 lemons
Place tea bags and cinnamon sticks in a large, heatproof container with tight fitting lid. I used my 8-cup glass measure. Add 4 cups boiling water. Steep for at least 30 minutes. If you prefer it sweeter, add sugar while tea is still hot to assure it dissolves. After about 30 minutes, remove tea bags and discard. If you like a lot of cinnamon flavor, leave cinnamon sticks in the tea. Make sure it is cold before using. This concentrate may be made 2 or 3 days in advance.
When ready to serve: remove and discard cinnamon sticks. Combine tea, sparkling cider and lemon juice in a glass pitcher and stir gently. Serve over ice. If desired, garnish with thin apple slices studded with whole cloves or strips of lemon peel.
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