At Aladdin’s Mediterranean Grill at Emory Point you can customize your iced tea and make this flavorful Lebanese version that the restaurant calls the perfect thirst quencher. Fill your glass with ice and then sweetened or unsweetened tea, or a combination of the two. Then top it off with a few drops of rose water, a few drops of orange blossom water, a teaspoon of slivered almonds, a few leaves of fresh mint and some lemon wedges. Aladdin’s Mediterranean Grill, Emory Point, 1568 Avenue Place, Atlanta. 404-748-4587.
Brandon Hughes, chef of Bellina Alimentari at Ponce City Market, grew up drinking sweet Lipton iced tea. Although he’s not personally a fan of lemon in his iced tea, at Bellina Alimentari you can customize your iced tea to taste. Lemon? Sure. Mint sprig. Absolutely. Bellina Alimentari, Ponce City Market, 675 Ponce de Leon Avenue, Atlanta. 404-330-9933.
Dan Latham, Culinary Projects Manager for Farm Burger and former semifinalist for Best Chef: South for his work as a chef at L&M Kitchen & Salumeria in Oxford, Mississippi, says, “Growing up, my dad had me make sun tea (leaf tea, spearmint, sugar and lemon) in a huge mason jar every weekend. I’d let it sit in the sun all day, then I’d have to serve it to him after he had worked in the yard. I’ve hated iced tea ever since. I even refused to serve it at L&M’s until my wife made it add it to the menu because it’s so good.” This jar of sun tea is steeping on his porch at home. For those who enjoy iced tea, Farm Burger serves Blue Durango. Farm Burger. 3 Atlanta-area locations in Buckhead, Decatur and Dunwoody.
At Park 75 and Bar Margot at Midtown’s Four Seasons Hotel, there’s no chance your iced tea will be diluted with plain old water. It’s served with cubes of frozen tea for the full iced tea experience, along with sprigs of fresh mint and lemon wedges. Park 75 and Bar Margot, Four Seasons Hotel, 75 14th Street NE, Atlanta. 404-881-9898.
Fuji Hana Thai Peppers makes its Thai Iced Tea by brewing a blend of Thai tea Leaves and crushed tamarind seeds. The tea is unusual in several ways including that the tea itself is boiled for 15 minutes, then strained into a pitcher with sugar to sweeten. Once cooled, the tea is poured over ice, then half-and-half and sweetened condensed milk are poured on top. Fuji Hana Thai Peppers, 2606 George Busbee Parkway NW, Kennesaw. 770-419-9500.
Sachi Nakato, the third generation owner of Nakato, is very knowledgeable about shiso and its uses. At her family restaurant, they serve Shiso Mint Leaf iced tea as a beverage special. Shiso leaves are used to create a refreshing summer iced tea beverage in Japan and Nakato enjoys offering this its guests each summer. The shiso leaves are boiled and the infusion turns a beautiful purple color. Then it’s mixed with vinegar for its healthy benefits and sweetened with a touch of sugar. Nakato Japanese Restaurant, 1776 Cheshire Bridge Road NE, Atlanta. 404-873-6582.
Kristen Murphy, Superica
Ford Fry is a big fan of iced tea when it’s super fresh and super cold. His restaurants do a big business in sweet tea, especially at lunch. At Superica, they serve another refreshing drink - Agua de Jamaica. It’s made from dried hibiscus flowers steeped in boiling water for 20 minutes. Then they strain it and add sugar or honey and cold water. Superica, Krog Street Market, 99 Krog Street, Atlanta. 678-791-1310.
Morningside’s newest restaurant, Whiskey Bird, serves yakitori, Hong Kong sliders, tacos, lots of salads and veggies and plenty of iced tea. Whiskey Bird, 1409 N. Highland Avenue NE, Atlanta. 404-600-5797.
AG at The Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta
The AG at the Ritz-Carlton has a long list of iced teas and cocktails to try. Seasonal iced teas are made with homemade infusions and flavors currently on the menu include Peachtree I.T. with Georgia peaches and rosemary and Lemon & Lime with thyme and fresh citrus. With the restaurant’s ice program, diners can choose their texture from gourmet (top hat ice), crushed, flavored with bitters, herbs and fruit, stemmed, spheres, perfect cubes, or clear blocks. AG at the Ritz-Carlton Atlanta, 181 Peachtree St NE, Atlanta. 404-659-0400.