I have a weakness for sparkling water.
The first time I tasted it, it was an unwelcome surprise on a hot day in Europe, when I had no idea bottled water came any other way than flat. I'm not sure when, precisely, my mind went from revulsion to obsession, but it surely did. Oh, yes, it surely did.
I don't drink much soda anymore, just sparkling water. I love the subtle bubbliness, and try to add it to anything I can think of.
Like this Passion Tea Lemonade, for instance. It was instant love when I tried this drink at Starbucks last summer. It's refreshing beyond belief just the way it is, but I love to make it with sparkling water to feed my obsessive need for bubbles.
I don't know how to go about describing this drink to you. It's floral and herbal, fruity and a little exotic, tangy and sweet and crisp. I'm able to find TAZO teas in my local grocery store, but if you can't find it, you can substitute plain hibiscus tea. It won't be quite as magical, but it will still be awesome.
Sparkling Passion Tea Lemonade
1/2 c. sugar
2 1/2 c. water, divided
4 bags TAZO Passion tea
2 c. ice
1, 12 oz. can lemonade concentrate
2 quarts sparkling water or club soda (or tap water, if you don't care about effervescence), well chilled
In a small saucepan, combine 1/2 c. water and 1/2 c. sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally until all sugar has dissolved. Set aside to cool completely. Then let chill in refrigerator until needed.
1n another saucepan, bring the remaining 2 c. of water to a boil. Remove from heat, and let tea bags steep in hot water for 3 minutes. Discard tea bags, and pour hot tea over ice. Stir in the lemonade concentrate. Let this mixture chill completely -- at least 2 hours, if not overnight.
If you are not using sparkling water, you can add tap water before chilling. If using sparkling water, wait to combine with tea mixture until ready to serve. When ready to serve combine tea mixture with chilled sparkling water or club soda, add sugar water mixture (called a simple syrup) to taste. Serve over ice, if desired.