Put the bottled beverages on ice and brew up a pitcher like no other with one of these refreshing suggestions.
Credit: Getty Images

For hot days at the pool or summer nights on the porch, there’s no more classic drink than a tall, cool glass of iced tea. But don’t let your taste buds get hijacked by the sugary bottled stuff—especially when it’s so easy to brew your own. And an added benefit of DIY is that you can spike your pitcher with all kinds of interesting (and nonalcoholic) mixers, so you can sip something different all summer long.

“Tea is an amazing drink because it’s healthy and so easy to make,” says Nadia De La Vega, tea specialist for David’s Tea. “You don’t need any special equipment.” There are two general guidelines for brewing a great batch: One, start with a tea concentrate, kind of like cold brew coffee. Just use double the amount of loose leaf tea you’d normally use so the flavor doesn’t get too diluted when you mix it. And two, follow the brewing temperatures on the package. “Some teas can burn,” says De La Vega. “And that increases the bitterness.” Master those rules and you’re ready to give these variations a whirl:

Broaden Your Base

Classic iced tea is made with black leaves, but you can play with the whole spectrum, from young fresh white tea leaves to caffeine-free herbals or rooibos. A green tea Arnold Palmer (just add lemonade) is such a great way to switch things up.

Add bubbles

The carbonation craze is still in full swing. De La Vega likes to top her glass off with some sparkling water (they come in all flavors now) or even kombucha. “Ginger kombucha with a fruit or spice tea like David’s Turmeric Glow is great,” she says.

Float some fruit

Fruity teas are begging to have berries or stone fruit slices dropped in them. De La Vega also likes “white tea with fresh peaches and maybe some grated ginger. Frozen fruit also makes a great ice cube alternative and adds a burst of flavor without a lot of extra sugar or calories.

Play With Herbs

Fresh herbs are everywhere—put some in your glass. De La Vega is a fan of mint, which she adds to green tea with coconut or chamomile. She also loves a cucumber-blueberry-fresh mint combo that she compares to spa water.

Freeze It

Cooler than being ice cold: ice pops with tea concentrate and fruit puree. De La Vega’s summer go-to is a hibiscus tea blended with pineapple puree. Just freeze and enjoy.