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Tea syrup and sparklers

I'm having a little love affair this week - with tea syrup! I was already a regular tea drinker, as is probably mandatory of people who watch Coronation Street as much as I do. I even wrote recently about making peaches and cream tea, which is like dessert in a teacup. But I'm branching out now upon the realization that tea can be so much more than a hot cup of comfort.

I blame my tea awakening on the fabulous Silk Road and a workshop there last weekend. I sat at the end of the tea bar with my youngest in the baby carrier and my mom at my left as the staff demonstrated how to prepare tea syrups - concentrated and sweetened brewed tea.

The syrups were blended with sparkling water to create refreshing beverages with truly unique flavours. Imagine cold bubbles fizzing with citrus and floral sweetness. I knew I'd have to try making tea syrup at home.

Here's how I made the tea syrup (Silk Road recipe):

4 tbsp Alchemist's Brew herbal tea (contains hibiscus flowers, spearmint leaves, lemongrass, rosehips, cinnamon bark)
2 cups of boiling water
1 1/2 cups of granulated white sugar

I put the loose tea in a large tea pot and poured the boiling water over top. After steeping for ten minutes, I poured the mixture over a fine mesh sieve into a medium saucepan. Over medium heat on the stove, I added the sugar into the brewed tea and stirred until the sugar dissolved completely. I removed the pot from the stove and poured the syrup into a large mason jar with a lid to cool in the fridge. It lasts up to a week in the fridge and I'll be freezing any leftovers.

Here's how I made the tea sparkler:

a few ice cubes
a few slices of lime
a few fresh mint leaves
2 tsp tea syrup

1 cup sparkling water

I put the first four ingredients in a glass, then topped it up with the sparkling water. Delish! Every time I make one my 3-year-old son wants to steal it.

As fabulous as these tea sparklers are, I can't just leave my tea syrup love affair there. The mason jar filled with that gorgeous fuschia syrup in my fridge is calling my name and urging me to try something else with it. I think I'm going to have to get baking... stay tuned...

Are you in love with fizzy drinks too? Which herbal teas are your faves? Have you ever made your own iced teas? Are you going to try making tea syrup?!