The mint iced tea at the Wood Homestead Maple stand at the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket is absolutely the most refreshing drink I know. A perfect balance of cooling mint, mellowed by maple and perked up by lemon, though both so subtly that one might not be able to identify them in a taste test, It is adored by marketers of all ages.
Because it is habit-forming, I was not surprised to learn from a friend that it contains some caffeinated tea (not acknowledged on the sign at the stand, but confirmed when I asked, and perhaps the reason for my wild spending sprees at the market of late).
I found myself with a wicked craving for this virtuous, uplifting treat while vacationing in New England this past Saturday. Calls to Wood Homestead Maple Farm dead-ended at the answering machine, which most likely attests to the popularity of the Stamford, NY farm's maple and sorghum products (including maple cotton candy) at farmers markets.
If the sugarers were too busy, I was going to have to seek satisfaction elsewhere, so I resolved to re-create their splendid formula in my vacation house kitchen. I gathered fresh mint (growing abundantly in—and beyond—gardens all over the vicinity), local maple syrup, lemons and a dusty old tea bag from the back of the cupboard, and stirred up a concoction with a slightly less subtle, but equally refreshing quality. If you haven’t tried the original at the market, please do. And if like me, you’ve become pitifully dependent on the drink, you’ll find that my recipe provides some relief.
Maple Iced Tea
Inspired by the iced tea sold at the Wood Homestead Maple stand at the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket.
4 cups boiling water
1 bunch fresh mint
1 black or green tea bag
1 tablespoon maple syrup, or to taste
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Place the mint and tea bag in a heatproof pitcher or bowl and pour the boiling water over. Let steep until almost cool, then stir in the maple syrup and lemon juice to taste. When cool, strain and chill. Serve over ice.