06 June 2008

Better, and Colder, Than a Turkish Prison

Ah, summer in New York.

When I'm not busy cursing the Mr. Softee ice-cream truck for idling directly outside my bedroom window for hours at a time, watching people slip and fall on the sidewalk's glistening garbage-juice trails, or lancing my blisters, I'm complaining to anyone who'll listen how living here must be hotter than the surface of the sun.

And you know what that means: more iced tea.

I don't know if I'm getting all weak and soft in my advancing age, but I really have been craving it this year. Usually I'm content with a few lukewarm cups of green every morning, but lately I've been motivated to brew a giant pitcher and patient enough to let it get really icy cold, even if it entails lugging around a headache for half the day while I wait.

The other day, a certain incredible jewelry designer even requested some- Turkish apple tea, in fact. I don't know if it was because we were hanging out daydreaming about exotic vacations or just reminiscing about the time she spent in a Turkish prison (long story), but just before I left, she grabbed my arm and said, sotto voce, with a not-so-small note of urgency, "Turkish apple tea. Find out everything you can, and put it on your blog."

On my way home, I remembered a recipe buried in an unassuming little apple cookbook by a Welsh woman, Olwen Woodie (I think that's her real name, at least post-Turkish prison). I dug it out and then tried to do some further research online. There's not much out there, however. Apparently, there is a bagged, pre-sweetened apple-flavored tisane you can buy, but I think we all need something a little more bracing than herbal, no? I also discovered that Turkey is the fifth largest producer of tea worldwide- the majority of it black, and grown around the Black Sea. Ataturk! Who would have guessed?

And now that this post is longer than the escape from a Turkish prison, I present a most likely inauthentic elma cay, or Turkish apple tea. Regardless, it's more sweet and refreshing than being in a Turkish prison, especially if you can score some fresh apple cider and mint at your local farmer's market like I did this morning.

Turkish Apple Iced Tea
Makes: 6 servings.

4-6 tablespoons black tea (I used Darjeeling)
4 large stalks fresh mint, plus additional for garnish
2 cups apple cider or juice
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 lemon, cut in thin slices

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil; add tea and mint sprigs. Cover, turn the heat off, and steep for 5 minutes. Strain into a teapot and stir in apple cider, honey and lemon slices. Add additional mint, if desired, and refrigerate until well chilled.

I'd even try it hot- with a few whole cloves and cinnamon sticks instead of the fresh mint- in colder weather. Apple is one of those unusual drink flavors that really can shine in both temperature extremes.


Anonymous said...

Once, while taking (failing) an Islamic Art class, my teacher explained to us that in Turkey, it's considered very attractive for women to have big, hairy eyebrows that meet in the middle. I question that story.

marva gladstone said...

Big, hairy eyebrow-growing or not, I wanna make me some of that Turkish tea. Especially this weekend when it's going to be 2466 Kelvin out.

Bonbon Oiseau said...

You did it. Thank you. Although I tried this (delicious) recipe and my eyebrow hairs are still not connecting. What gives?