I confess that I don't drink a lot of iced coffee (I further confess that when it finally gets too hot for me to drink hot coffee at breakfast, I switch to Diet Coke, yes I know that's terrible). However, in recognition of running a Cafe with people who did drink iced coffee as customers, I now have some very tasty iced coffee drinks in my repertoire. They're a bit complicated (sorry) but you can make the components then have them onhand for coffee drinking through the week.
Here's what you need:
I make my base iced coffee by combining 1 part ground coffee, 3 parts water, and letting them sit in the fridge for a full 24 hours then straining (I used a French press). This gives you a strong coffee brew for making the flavored drinks that follow - if you want regular iced coffee cut this with water, adding about a third again more (or to taste).
I advocate for using ice cubes made of coffee in your ice coffee drink. Those are just what they sound like - coffee, in an ice cube tray, frozen.
1/2 cup strong iced coffee (recipe at top)
2 Tb minted cream (recipe below)
3 coffee ice cubes (optional, but don't replace these with regular ice, just omit)
Mint Cream Recipe:
1 1/4 cups of heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 bunch of mint
This lightly sweetened cream has two components, minted cream and mint simple syrup. Why two? Because I tried it other ways and I never got the balance of sweet and mint to be what I wanted. It's easier to get a more intense mint flavor in the simple syrup, so I mix that in separately. Also I just like to always have mint simple syrup around during the summer - in my own kitchen I double that part of the recipe to be sure there's extra.
Component 1: Scald the cream and throw in 1 cup of crushed fresh mint leaves. Place in refrigerator overnight, in the morning (or 8 hours later) strain the cream, pressing the leaves to get out the cream. Component 2: Make mint simple syrup. Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan, bring to a simmer and add 1/2 cup well-packed mint leaves. Simmer for around a minute (you want the sugar to be dissolved) then remove from the heat. Let it steep (covered) for 30 minutes. Strain, pressing the leaves to get the syrup out.
Now mix the cream and the syrup. I mix in a ratio of 1 cup cream to 1/4 cup syrup - if you want it sweeter add more syrup, if you want it mintier add a few drops of mint oil, or make your coffee drink with a sprinkle of minced fresh mint leaves.
Lemon Honey Espresso
1/2 cup strong iced coffee (recipe at top)
3 lemon-coffee ice cubes
1 Tb honey syrup (more to taste)
2 Tb half and half or cream
Lemon Coffee Ice Cubes: For these cubes, I used a particular variety of coffee, Halo Bariti, with super strong blueberry flavor* (not the spray on fake kind, the beans themselves taste like blueberry). It's an Ethiopian coffee, sometimes classified as a Yirgacheffe. Another choice would be Ethiopian Harrar coffee. Or just get a nice quality coffee regardless of blueberry flavor notes, I realize I'm being obsessive here. Now mix 3 cups boiling water, 1/2 cup ground coffee, zest of one small lemon and let steep for 6 minutes. Strain. Mix the juice of the lemon with the strained coffee mixture. Freeze into ice cubes.
For Honey Syrup: Combine 1/2 cup honey and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan, warm and stir until honey is fully dissolved into the water.
*Would it make sense to fake the blueberry by adding something like blueberry juice to the ice cubes? I haven't tried. If someone wants to try and let me know, I would encourage it.
Not, strictly speaking, iced coffee but still tasty.
3/4 cup whole milk (it has to be whole milk to work with the seltzer, or even better part milk and part half and half. . . if you have a lower percentage milk then increase to one cup and omit the seltzer)
2 Tb coffee syrup (recipe below)
1/4 cup seltzer water
Stir syrup into the milk, froth**. Add the seltzer.
1 cup brewed coffee - it needs to be a high quality coffee (really it truly does, I use a cup of my iced coffee here)
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 a vanilla bean, split lengthwise down the middle
2 Tb cocoa powder
2 Tb coffee liqueur (if you don't have this, add a splash of bourbon, or rum, or omit)
1 tsp espresso powder (this is bumping up the coffee flavor . . . technically I think you could simmer down regular coffee to add intensity, the problem is that the more you cook the coffee the more bitter it will get until it is unpleasant and so we have this cheat. Instant coffee is not a substitute, if you don't have espresso powder simply omit and be prepared to add a little more syrup to your milk).
Combine the coffee, sugar, vanilla bean and cocoa in a small saucepan. Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the coffee liqueur and espresso powder. Let sit 15 minutes more and remove the vanilla bean. Cool. This, by the way, would taste great in milkshakes too.
**Frothing without a frother: You're making the milk. . .well, frothy. You're shaking it up. In a mason jar (covered), a cocktail shaker, a water bottle, in a big bowl with a whisk would likely work, I've read online that one of those tea strainer spoons (mesh with handles) works really well. Note that cold milk with more fat won't get as frothy as a cappuccino topping, but that's fine - you don't want it that frothy.