Caffeine. Coffee, especially. I'm sure I could live without it, but why in God's name would I want to? Despite my love of the java, I must admit: when I first heard about "iced coffee," I turned up my nose in disgust. But then several years ago, on a really hot, summer day, in desperate need of caffeine and not thrilled about a hot beverage, I tried a Starbucks iced coffee with vanilla syrup and cream. I was hooked. Love at first taste. Iced coffee is chuggable, in a way no other beverage is for me (save for water). And, it gets expensive, especially when you have a coffee habit like I do.
So I can't tell you how excited I was when I finally figured out that homemade iced coffee is (a) way, way cheaper than coffee shop coffee, (b) something that can be kept in my fridge at all times for instant access/caffeine fix, and (c) more fun than store-bought coffee because of the many customizable, also homemade, sweeteners I add. I've mentioned the phrase "homemade iced coffee" in regular conversation over the past week, and every time I do, I get asked for the recipe. So here you go.
I should note first, that @bobzuercher used to come into the office raving about the massive amounts of homemade iced coffee he drank, made with his French press. Having purchased and used a French press, I agree that it is a marvelous tool that results in a simply divine cup of coffee. It also requires a little more cleaning/maintenance than my Melitta Mill & Brew, and despite what a lot of you think, I am lazy. I save the French press method only for when I feel like I have extra time. The Mill & Brew works perfectly well for this coffee, as will whatever coffee maker you prefer.
Plain Iced Coffee
regular brewed coffee (make it strong, readers!)
Brew a pot of coffee. Let it come to room temperature. Put it in a pitcher/sealed container in the fridge, allow to cool. When you're ready, fill a big glass of ice and pour the coffee. Top with half & half (did you know they have fat free half & half now? I can't taste a difference in mixed drinks). Stir and chug.
Like your coffee sweet? I certainly do. I'm from Alabama. We are born with a genetic code that predisposes us to prefer sweet, and lots of it. Try this vanilla simple syrup as an add-in:
Vanilla Simple Syrup
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a small saucepan over medium heat, dissolve sugar in water, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and immediately stir in the vanilla extract. Allow to cool to room temperature, then add to your coffee; this concoction will keep in the fridge in an air-tight container for at least a week.
Don't like vanilla? Try hazelnut (instead of vanilla extract, add Frangelico or other hazelnut liquor), amaretto (yep, you guessed it, no vanilla/add amaretto liquor), or any other liquor or flavoring you prefer.
Enjoy being wide awake all summer long!