I hear that summer has officially ended, but as a resident of Southern California, we'll be having toasty days and sultry nights for at least a couple of months. So while many of my friends in the northern reaches are starting to enjoy warm evening tisanes and tumblers, I am in want of something chilled.
I'll enjoy a glass of Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio from time to time, but I'm wanting to avoid alcohol before bedtime. Iced tea is off limits, too, as any caffeine after 3 p.m. will keep me awake for hours.
As fortune would have it, I received a package from my friends at Palais des Thes, introducing me to their "Les Jardins" (Garden) collection of herbal infusions. From the moment I opened the package, my senses were already engaged. "Garden" is right! The delicate scents of fruits, berries, spices and flowers washed over me. My first infusion? Hanging Garden, or Jardin Suspendu.
The herbal tea bags are jumbo sized to brew an entire pot of tea with one bag. I steeped one bag in a half liter of water for about an hour at room temperature, then I removed the bag and put my steeped carafe into the refrigerator.
Night has fallen, the girls are finally in bed. It is finally my time to unwind. My first sip of chilled Hanging Garden is heavenly. The light floral bouquet with a hint of the citrus-y bergamot and the bright mango combine beautifully into a refreshing treat without being overly sweet. I'm able to sip slowly and savor the flavor and the scent.
The back door is open and the warmth of the evening drifts in lazily. I listen to the sounds of suburban California. Car doors shutting as families arrive home for the night. Giggles of the teenage girls down the street. Crickets. A rustle in the bushes from a bunny (or a skunk, though I prefer to think it's a bunny!).
Summer may be over, but warm nights on the patio with iced (herbal) tea are not.