What to do when the days turn so hot that it seems like penitence to drink a hot cup of coffee? If, like me, you can’t shake off the after-meals coffee habit, the answer is iced coffee.
Summer came so suddenly. One day, there was a cool breeze blowing; the next day, the breeze was gone and, in its place, the humid sweltering feeling that comes with summer. The difference that twenty-four hours can make sometimes.
Summer came late too. Until mid-April, the nights were cool enough to dispense with air-conditioning. Then, three nights ago, I started to get that sticky feeling, my skin clinging to the bed sheets as though I got of out the bath tub and jumped into bed without toweling myself dry.
And we live in what’s supposed to be a cool, hilly suburb.
Making iced coffee is not exactly the same as making a hot cup of coffee. There are two tricks to achieve that wonderful balance so that your iced coffee tastes like it was mixed by a professional barista. First, you have to start with strong coffee. Remember that you will be diluting your drink with lots of ice so if you start with a bland coffee mixture, by the time the ice melts, your drink will taste like nothing more than colored water.
Second, you have to use twice as much sugar. I don’t know why that is so but it’s something I’ve learned over the years. If one teaspoonful of sugar is enough for a hot cup of coffee, use two when making iced coffee.
You can always make adjustments to suit your taste, of course. But this is my formula.
- 1/4 cup very strong brewed coffee (think twice the strength of a regular espresso)
- 3 to 4 teaspoons sugar (see notes below)
- milk as much as you like
Stir the sugar into the coffee until dissolved.
Stir in the milk, cream or non-dairy creamer.
Place ice cubes in a tall glass, about three-fourths full.
Pour the coffee into the glass. Stir. Serve.
You can use sugar syrup (simple sugar) in lieu of table sugar for a smoother iced coffee.
To make sugar syrup, boil equal amounts of water and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. DO NOT allow to caramelize. Cool the syrup and use.
Excess sugar syrup can be store in an air-tight container and kept in the fridge.