If you are from or live in the south, you’ve probably had more glasses of sweet tea than you can count. If you are not from the south like I am (Samantha here by the way), you could probably care less about it. When I moved to Atlanta I was shocked when the waitress automatically brought me sweet tea when I ordered “iced tea”. After a short time of living here, I learned that everyone and their mama drinks sweet tea and especially in summer months. When I asked Sharon about this phenomenon, she informed me that sweet tea is the drink of the south and a staple in many southern family’s homes. I was new to this “southern life” and trying to embrace it but I was not getting down with a drink loaded with sugar. I think I had maybe one sweet tea and then after that never drank it up until recently.
I went on a quick weekend get-away with my husband and we decided to not drink the entire trip since we were gearing up for a wine-filled week in Italy later that month. In search for something other than sparkling water, we ordered an iced tea at lunch and the waitress asked if we wanted sweetener with it. I immediately declined, but my husband’s, who always has a sweet tooth, interest was piqued. The waitress offered to sweeten it with a local honey simple syrup…GENIUS! We were hooked after one sip and I knew I had to bring it back and share it with everyone.
I had Sharon taste it and she loved it but we both agreed we had to put our Sage and Celery twist on it. That’s when we decided to make a sweet tea but just make it with a lavender infused honey simple syrup. Not only does lavender have a lovely fresh taste, it also contains many great benefits. Lavender is most widely known for is relaxation and stress release powers but it also has a good amount of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, iron and calcium. Lavender has also shown to improve mood, promote restful sleep, lower skin irritations, reduce inflammation, and soothe stomach bloating.
We love this version of sweet tea because the large amount of refined sugar normally used is replaced with honey. Refined sugar is empty calories that offer zero nutritional value, honey on the other hand has many beneficial plant compounds that offer health benefits. Honey contains phenols, enzymes and compounds like flavonoids and organic acids which gives it antioxidant powers. We all know how important antioxidants are because they help neutralize and remove free radicals from your bloodstream which helps keep you clear of illnesses and diseases.
Our Lavender Honey Sweet Tea the perfect summer evening drink! You get to enjoy the delicious taste of sweet tea but with the added health benefits of the honey and lavender. We used decaffeinated black tea because love having a glass with our dinner or afterward on our back porch. If you're looking for a little mid-day pick me up, use caffeinated black tea (a great way to cut down that Starbucks expense)! The recipe for the lavender honey simple syrup will give you a good amount, but don't fret because you can use it for many other things. It also happens to taste great on top of plain yogurt with some granola. Or if you're really feeling like you want to indulge, drizzle it on some vanilla ice cream!
Lavender Honey Simple Syrup:
1 cup honey
1 cup water
2 T dried lavender
7 decaffeinated black tea bags
10 cups water
Optional: lemon wedges
1.) Bring 10 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Turn heat off and add the 7 tea bags and let steep for 7-10 minutes or until the tea is at your desired strength. Remove tea bags and let cool.
2.) To make the lavender honey simple syrup: add one cup of honey, one cup of water, and two tablespoons of dried lavender to a saucepan. Bring to a low boil and cook until the honey melts into the water. Turn heat off and let cool for 30 minutes.
3.) Once the simple syrup is cooled use a fine mesh strainer (and funnel if needed) and pour it into an airtight bottle of your choice. This will last in your refrigerator for up to two weeks.
4.) Once the tea has cooled, fill your glass with ice, add two tablespoons of the lavender honey simple syrup and then pour in the tea. Mix to combine and add a lemon wedge if you prefer. Sit back, relax and enjoy!