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Thai Iced Tea

Thai iced tea

A simple version of a sweet and creamy summer staple.

Our favorite part of Thai takeout? Sipping a Thai iced tea while we wait. Decadently sweet and creamy, this summery staple has the ultimate cooling qualities, and it’s a cinch to make. Home-made versions call for everything from sweetened condensed milk to half-and-half to evaporated milk (and even a mixture of all three), and after an afternoon of experimentation, we devised our own simple version that’s easily adaptable to all tastes. And to try it out in cocktails, here are three recipes to play with.


  • 6 oz. cold, strong-brewed, sweetened black tea
  • About 2 oz. evaporated milk or half-and-half
  • Glass:tall


Start by filling a tall glass with ice, then add 6 oz. of cold, strong-brewed, sweetened black tea (about 3/4 of the way up).

To make the tea, steep an 1/8 cup of black tea leaves in 4 cups of hot water for 10 minutes, then strain before stirring in 1/2 cup of granulated sugar. Let the tea cool to room temperature before popping it in the fridge—this will keep it from turning cloudy.

Finish by topping with a generous pour (about 2 oz.) of either evaporated milk or half-and-half. Note that while evaporated milk is more common among Thai street vendors since it’s shelf-stable and doesn’t require refrigeration, your neighborhood Thai restaurant often uses half-and-half.

Why isn’t the tea bright orange?That neon-like coral color you see in a lot of Thai iced tea comes from dye on the tea leaves. Even without dyed leaves, your finished tea will likely
have an orange hue, just more natural-looking.

Got down the basic brew?Feel free to spice it up with other flavors you like by adding anything from a split vanilla bean to a few star anise or cardamom pods to 1/2 tsp. of cloves or black pepper while the tea is still hot.

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