So as I sit here in my office, for what seems like the one millionth day without proper air conditioning (today’s issue: blown fuse in the compressor), I am sipping on my regular decaf coffee, only iced, rather than hot. Yes, I am aware that there is the theory that when it’s 10 billion degrees out (give or take a degree) you’re actually supposed to have hot drinks, rather than cold, as it’s supposed to make you in fact cooler. So of course, my next step was to Google that to check it out!
According to the Smithsonian Magazine (www.smithsonianmag.com) their answer, in short: Yes, a hot drink can cool you down, but only in specific circumstances. and I quote:
“If you drink a hot drink, it does result in a lower amount of heat stored inside your body, provided the additional sweat that’s produced when you drink the hot drink can evaporate”
The key is however that the increased perspiration needs to be able evaporate off your skin. If you are wearing a lot of clothing, or you are sweating so much that it’s just beading up and running off you rather than evaporating, then you are not cooling yourself off at all, and are better off going for a cold drink.
So, since we dress quite modestly here in the office, the chances of any overproduction of perspiration evaporating off my skin directly, while not slim to none, is close. So, I’m skipping the hot coffee and going for cold.
Sorry, that was a heck of a long into just to tell you that today is Iced Coffee Day! Since the basic recipe for Iced Coffee is pretty simple, I’m going to play up the variations by giving you recipes for a host of syrups that you can add to make your iced coffee taste just like something you paid $25 for at a store that rhymes with “Carbucks”! I’m also throwing in a recipe for coffee ice cubes. These are great for when you have a little coffee left in the pot, or just brew a pot for this recipe specifically, and then add these cubes to your coffee, and you’re not watering it down! Enjoy everyone!
Iced Coffee Concentrate (Cold Brew)
For the concentrate:
2 cup coffee beans, coarsely ground
8 cups water
For your iced coffee:
½ cup iced coffee concentrate
½ cup water
sugar or coffee syrup if desired
creamer such as half-and-half, almond milk, coconut milk, cashew milk or coffee creamer
Add the grounds and the water to a 64-ounce or larger jar or pitcher with airtight lid. Stir. Put the lid on and put the jar/pitcher somewhere out of the way on your kitchen counter, out of direct sunlight. Let it sit for at least 6 hours, up to 12.
Line a fine-mesh sieve with a couple of layers of cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Pour the water and grounds over the strainer and discard grounds. Pour the iced coffee concentrate into an airtight jar or pitcher and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. It will keep for up to one week.
To make iced coffee, fill a glass with ice and add ½ cup coffee concentrate and ½ cup water. Add cream/sweetener as desired and serve.
Coffee Ice Cubes
black coffee, cooled
ice cube trays
Brew a pot of hot coffee in your usual method and allow to cool to room temperature. Use whatever coffee is your preference, but the nicer the coffee the nicer the end result will be, so don’t scrimp on the flavour! If you like your coffee on the sweeter side, add in some sugar or sweetener at this point.
Pour coffee into your ice cube tray and place in the freezer to harden overnight. Place any left over coffee into an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for later. When the ice cubes are ready, fill into a tall glass to serve.
Cinnamon Dolce Syrup
½ cup light brown sugar
⅓ cup pure maple syrup
½ cup water
1 5-inch cinnamon stick
Add all ingredients to a small saucepan and set over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through and the sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 15 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick. Keeps refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Vanilla Bean Syrup
½ cup sugar
⅓ cup water
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Combine the sugar, water, scraped vanilla beans and pod and extract in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk constantly until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is bubbling. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Let cool completely before storing in a jar. I usually don’t remove the vanilla pod and just leave it in for flavor. You can remove it if you wish!
2 cups fresh or frozen blackberries*
⅓ cup water
⅓ cup sugar
* click here to learn how to clean blackberries.
Add the blackberries to a blender with the water. Puree until completely smooth and blended, then strain over a fine mesh sieve into a bowl – so all you have is blackberry juice. Combine the juice and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk constantly until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is bubbling. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Let cool completely before storing in a jar. This syrup can get extra sweet due to the flavor of your berries, so feel free to play along with water and sugar ratios.
You can use the same recipe to make raspberry, strawberry or blueberry syrup as well.
½ cup sugar
⅓ cup water
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
Combine the sugar, water and extract in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk constantly until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is bubbling. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Let cool completely before storing in a jar.
¾ cup water
¾ cup sugar
½ cup toffee bits (such as a Skor™ bar)*
*Please note that this will make this syrup dairy.
Combine the water, sugar, and toffee bits in a small saucepan. Heat over medium-high, stirring occasionally, just until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and pour through a fine mesh sieve into a cup. Let stand at room temperature about 30 minutes, and then use a spoon to skim any solids off of the top. Transfer to a storage container and refrigerate until ready to use.
¾ cup water
¾ cup sugar
1 candy cane, crumbled (optional, for colour)
½ to 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
Combine the water, sugar, and candy cane in a small saucepan. Heat over medium-high, stirring occasionally, just until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and pour through a fine mesh sieve into a liquid measuring cup. Stir in the peppermint extract. Half a teaspoon is a good starting point and then you can add an additional half a teaspoon if you desire. (Word to the wise – do not take a giant whiff of the still hot syrup unless you want a peppermint burn inside your nostrils.) Transfer to a storage container and refrigerate until ready to use.
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon molasses
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Let simmer gently for 10 minutes. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Pumpkin Spice Syrup
1 cup water
1 cup pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons pumpkin puree
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, cut into quarters
2 5-inch cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon whole cloves
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Add all ingredients to a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for another 10 minutes. Place a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl or large jar and strain syrup. Discard solids. Pour into an airtight storage container and transfer to refrigerator. Contents may settle, so just give it a quick shake before enjoying pumpkin spice deliciousness in your morning coffee or latte.