Hawaii has changed Iced Tea for me. I've never really been into it but now I’ve developed a thing for iced green tea and Plantation Iced Tea. Like an Arnold Palmer made with pineapple juice instead of lemonade, the best Plantation Iced Tea I’ve come across is from Diamond Head Grill on Oahu. It's slightly sweet but more exciting than regular iced tea thanks to lemongrass and cinnamon and this is my shot at recreating it so I can enjoy it even when I'm not on Oahu.
(about 2 1/2 ounces) divided
plus more for serving
(no sugar added)
(from about 4 limes)
Bring water to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat (don’t let it boil), about 5 minutes. Add tea, cover partially, and let steep until the flavor is stronger than desired but not bitter, about 8 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, trim the ends off the lemongrass, and cut the stalk into 2-inch pieces. Cut each 2-inch piece in half lengthwise then bruise by lightly hitting with the back of a wooden spoon.
Once the tea has steeped, discard the tea, add lemongrass, cinnamon, and mint (minus about 6 to 8 stems you’ll want to reserve for garnish) and let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Add enough ice to make 4 1/2 cups of tea, then stir in the pineapple juice, and sugar or honey. Place in the refrigerator to cool completely, about 2 hours.
Once the tea is cold, discard the cinnamon, lemongrass, and mint and stir in the lime juice. Taste and adjust with more lime juice or sugar as desired. Serve iced tea over ice and garnish each glass with a sprig of mint.
Food styling and photography by Aida Mollenkamp