Summer is not even actually here yet, at least not technically according to Science. Somebody should really tell that to the heat index here in my neck of the woods, which has been in the triple digits this week. I’m gonna be honest here. Summer is not one of my favorites. I’d say it probably comes in at number 3 in my ranking of seasons–after Fall and Spring and just eking ahead of Winter.
It beats Winter mainly because I do enjoy not being cold all the time, being able to type without stiff fingers and only needing to wear one layer of clothing for modesty’s sake and not three or four layers just to feel kind of warm (y’all, my house is drafty and does not retain heat well). But Summer–especially in Oklahoma–comes with ridiculously high temperatures coupled with ridiculously high humidity and grass that never stops growing and has to be mowed constantly and SO MANY BUGS including West Nile-infected mosquitoes and . . . you get the picture. I’m not a fan.
That said, there are a few things I do enjoy about summer. One is the aforementioned ability to wear less and be warm. I love the sun, all the light it brings, and the longer days, and the disappearance of seasonal affective disorder. I love swimming, though I don’t get many opportunities for it. Ditto camping. And road trips. And cookouts and cold drinks.
Speaking of cold drinks, one of the very best things I enjoy about summer is sipping iced coffee.
Mmm, iced coffee.
It can be hard to get right, though, especially when you make it at home. I’ve been experimenting with it for a few years now, and I think this year I’ve found a dairy- and sugar-free recipe that I’m pretty happy with (yeah, I know–way to take all the fun out of it, Jean. But I have issues with dairy and I need to watch my blood sugar, so I can’t have as much fun as some of y’all can get away with. I thought my iced coffee days were over — last year I didn’t even try — but this version is great for my health requirements and is totally satisfying).
I start by following combined instructions from The Kitchn and The Pioneer Woman (I make it concentrated, a la PW, but make it in my French press like The Kitchn) to make a pot of cold brewed coffee. For reference, my French press holds about three cups and I put in about six rounded tablespoons of grounds and fill it up with cold water (I like my coffee strong). This provides me with two days’ worth of coffee concentrate, which I transfer to a pitcher and keep in my fridge.
Next, ice. I used to just add regular ol’ ice cubes, which of course watered everything down. At some point I tried making frozen coffee cubes as seen on Pinterest, but I didn’t really love that. Although these days I usually drink my hot coffee black, I like some sort of milk in my iced coffee, and as far as non-dairy options go I’ve found I prefer unsweetened almond milk. So the other day I hit on the idea of freezing almond milk cubes, and you guys! This is just right. As the cubes melt it just makes the coffee creamier. Also, as the cubes sit in the glass they soak up the coffee and sweetener, so it’s like little iced coffee pops to crunch on when you get to the bottom of your drink.
So I set up the cold brew and put an ice tray full of almond milk in the freezer the night before I plan to drink it. In the morning, I pop a few of the cubes into a glass or mug, fill it about two-thirds of the way with coffee concentrate, then fill it up the rest of the way with more almond milk and stir in a packet of Stevia. Best iced coffee my dairy- and sugar-deprived self has had in ages.
Have you perfected your own iced coffee recipe, or found one online that you swear by? If so, share it in the comments! Iced tea recipes are also welcome — that’s my second favorite.
I’m taking a break from the blog next week (I know, I just got back from an unplanned break — but my schedule has space next week for a vacation and since it might be the only chance I get all summer I’m seizing it while I have the chance), so I will leave you with some more iced coffee links to help you create your perfect iced coffee at home.
- The Pioneer Woman – Perfect Iced Coffee
- The Kitchn – How to Make the Best Iced Coffee
- With Salt and Wit – Perfect Homemade Iced Coffee
- Taste of Home Instant Iced Coffee Recipe
- A plethora of iced coffee variations on Pinterest
And hey! Want to get a friendly and casual letter from yours truly in your inbox this weekend? One that talks about how I plan to spend my sort-of vacation, what projects I’m working on, and what things are bringing me joy right now? If you said yes (or even just thought it), click here to sign up to Daydreamer Dispatches, my semi-weekly letter to friends of the blog!
I hope you all have a glorious week!