April 16, 2010

Maple Sugar Iced Tea

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It's still early spring but we are having a summer-like weather. Today the temperature will go as high as 80 degrees. I'm just starting my vegetable garden and staying outside clearing the yard of winter debris in this hot weather makes me exhausted and I get dehydrated quickly. But it's the perfect time to make gallons of sweet iced tea. Not just any iced tea but similar to the one served in restaurants in the Philippines, I think in the late 70s or maybe early 80s, called Butterfly iced tea. The iced tea was so popular the people who owned the restaurant and the drink started selling concentrate in gallon jugs at the supermarkets. But the drink disappeared just like that, never to be heard of again, it's a mystery. I read that somebody interviewed the owners who for some reason would not even talk about the ice tea and its demise. Odd.

Anyway, I have been making an iced tea drink that tastes similar to the Butterfly iced tea. The not-so-secret ingredient is maple extract. The flavor becomes unique when combined with the juice of the Philippine lime, calamansi, although lemon juice is equally wonderful with the maple flavor. Maple sugar is sold at most grocery stores but it is super expensive and maple flavoring is available at King Arthur Flour online and catalog.

A year ago I discovered an unopened jar of maple syrup that has expired. I don't really understand why it has an expiration date, it's sugar syrup, why should it go bad. Instead of throwing it away I boiled the syrup down, dried the crystals, broke them into large chunks, and that's what I use together with raw sugar to sweeten the iced tea. Yum. I could finish a gallon of this stuff in a day.:-)

Maple Sugar Iced Tea
makes approximately 4 cups
3 English breakfast tea bags
2 cups boiling water
maple sugar or syrup, to taste
raw sugar (demerara), to taste
juice of 1 lemon, strained
1 cup ice cold water
1½ cups ice
  • Brew tea in boiling water. Discard bags. Add maple syrup or sugar and raw sugar until dissolved. Add the juice, water, and ice. Enjoy.


Anonymous said...

Yes, I do have a vivid memory of Butterfly Iced Tea. The only place I had it was the seafood restaurant then in Cubao called Josephine's. I drank this tea like I will never see the sun again. Yes, you are absolutely right it disappeared and just left and teased my palate. Which particular brand of English breakfast tea you are using? I want to make this tea as close to the one you are making. I will give this a shot tomorrow. I am clueless in what was in it. I thought it was mango juice or pureed. Never pops in my head it's maple syrup, sugar or extract. Thanks.

Oggi said...

A, I use Twinings brand. I read about the maple extract from a comment in a Filipino food blog. When I first made it [with lemon juice] a year, or maybe 2, ago I knew right away it is the key ingredient that makes Butterfly iced tea so good.

Mirage said...

I've been drinking lemon juice + maple syrup a lot (it's a cleansing diet they say)...I wanted to ask if it would make a big difference kung syrup instead of sugar, buti I read the ingredients carefully again...hihi. That big glass looks yummy, ganda ng kulay!

Oggi said...

G, I have a lot of lemons. I will try the lemon and maple syrup "diet". Thanks.

Sidney said...

It is so hot here... I really need such a refreshing drink !

Juliana said...

Oh! Love the idea of using maple sugar...the tea looks very refreshing :-)

caninecologne said...

hi oggi, what a neat flavor combination. i would never think to put those two together - maple sugar and ice tea/lemon. summer's almost here and that would be the perfect drink!

Patty said...

Thank you very much for this post! I remember Butterfly Iced Tea very well and have vivid memories of my family buying big jugs of it. I am so glad that I have found your recipe and can now make it at home.

Oggi said...

Sidney, it's always hot in Manila.:)

Juliana, you'll love the flavors.:)

R, Filipinos are very creative and know how to pair flavors.:)

Patty, you're welcome.:)

Lulu said...

I remember this! We would go to Quiapo and after the mass, my aunt would go to a manghuhula that sits right outside the church then she would take me to a hotel called Royal where they would serve this! Thank you so much for reminiding me of this happy drink. Oh, i think their version is different since they would put it in a blender with ice so its all frothy and served it in a tall halo halo glass.

Oggi said...

Lulu, I think making it into a slushie/slurpee is a great idea. I'm definitely making regardless of the cold weather.:)

princess said...

may i ask, how much maple sugar or syrup,
raw sugar (demerara)is needed when you'll do the mixing??

Oggi said...

Hi Princess,

It depends on how sweet you want it. Try half cup then taste and add raw sugar.

Anonymous said...

I lived in Cagayan de Oro in the early 70's. We would travel to Manila to shop. During these trips we found Butterfly Tea and always thought it was tea with vanilla flavoring but could never duplicate it. It was so delicious and such a treat in the heat. I'll be making this soon!

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