Friday, January 25, 2013

GreenTea-Lemonade Season

Aaaaaah, it's here. April weather. 

Wait! What? It's only January, you might say.

But, yes, it's near 80 degrees here in Austin on January 25th. That's right. It's not even February and I'm in shorts, a t-shirt, and sweating while I clean the house. This calls for a GreenTea-Lemonade.

GreenTea-Lemonade (GTL) began for me my senior year in college. My sister was working at the only Starbucks that had just opened in my alma mater's teeny-tiny town, and all the cool kids went there to "study" and hang out. It was seriously a novelty, except that I didn't like or drink coffee of any kind. In my mind, if there was soda to be had, what other form of caffeine was needed? Needing to fit in and have a signature drink to order, my sister suggested I try their new iced tea drink: GreenTea-Lemonade. And thus GTL shattered my soda-only world. 

It became my go-to drink during warmer months, in desperate attempts to be able to share in the coolness of Starbucks. It became my substitute for those numerous (failed) attempts at giving up soda. It became my sanity when I was caring for two little rascals the year I spent as a Nanny in D.C. It became my one source of comfort during the last two summers in ATX, with temperatures of 100+ degrees most days.

I can drink my weight in GTL.

Last March my friend Anne came to play, and I got her temporarily hooked on GTL. So hooked that as we were wandering the strip in ATX, our shopping was constantly interrupted by a desperate need for the potty. We kept running back in to the nearest Starbucks to get $.59 refills and use the free restroom. It sort of backfired, but somehow we still ended up buying plenty of clothes. Somehow.

Somewhere along the way, I started making my own GTL. I had to; I couldn't support that kind of habit long-term. A venti GTL at Starbucks is about $5, and remember - I can drink my weight. I don't know how many ounces I weigh, but I'm pretty sure that would cost a lot on a daily basis. Now I buy organic green tea in bulk from Sam's, and organic lemonade from HEB and Central Market. Then I mix it fresh for every drink, and sometimes add in some mint leaves. Plus, I use the same cup every time, so I'm being environmentally friendly. I used to mix half tea & half lemonade, but after a while that became too sweetly acidic for me. In light of making healthier choices I now view the lemonade as a sweetener, rather than a main component. 

Today I decided to compare the "nutritional" facts about my two favorite drinks: GTL and Dr. Pepper. In sugar alone, I think it's pretty clear who the winner is here, and that's without mentioning all the good antioxidants and other properties that are known to be in Green Tea. Anything good in Dr. Pepper besides it's 23 artificial flavors, including High Fructose Corn Syrup? Nope.

If you order GTL in the store, request it as unsweetened and with light ice. 
The syrup they add makes it too sweet and too much ice just means you end up with a watery drink.
Remember if you make this at home, you can make it with even LESS sugar.

I just wanted to share a summertime favorite with you, in honor of summertime's super early arrival today... in January.

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