prop stylist: christina wressell.
Jennifer Rubell’s refreshingly casual take on this London-hotel tradition is perfect for a summer afternoon get-together.
There’s something about early June (memories of those last high-school days before summer vacation?) that makes me crave an afternoon with my girlfriends. Not a major production, just some cold drinks, a few nibbles and quality catch-up with fabulous women I never get to spend enough time with. (The menu works well for baby showers too.) I tell everyone to come over around 5 p.m., then brew up a few pitchers of unusual iced teas paired with surprisingly modern tea sandwiches. After a couple hours, we transition to wine and gab some more, before going our separate ways.
You never know your friends’ preferences du jour, so I cover my bases with –– three different teas, one from each category below.
my pick: Darjeeling
A deep, rich brew with a slightly golden color and an almost ambrosial flavor similar to late-harvest dessert wines.
the garnish: slices of fresh ginger
my pick: Sencha
Made from slender young leaves, this bright, grassy, slightly bittersweet green tea is the most popular in Japan.
the garnish: cucumber spears
my pick: Rooibos, aka red tea
This naturally caffeine-free tea is also high in antioxidants. It was harvested centuries ago by nomadic tribes in South Africa.
the garnish: fresh summer fruits such as melons or nectarines
All teas available at adagio.com
BREW & SERVE Bring a quart of water to a boil. Add 1/4 cup of loose tea leaves; let sit 5 minutes. Fill a pitcher with ice, and strain tea into the pitcher. When time to serve, I like to pour the tea into tall glasses for my guests, topping with the appropriate garnish from a bowl set next to the pitchers.
You never know your friends’ preferences du jour, so I cover my bases with three different teas, one from each category below.
watercress and radish
- 3tbsp. butter, at room temperature
- 6slices sourdough bread
sea or kosher salt
- 12stems watercress, leaves only
- 6radishes, thinly sliced
for this delicate
staple of life in
the South of
with fresh goat
cheese and herbes
goat cheese and tapenade
- 2oz. fresh, mild goat cheese
- 24slices ficelle (thin baguette,
sliced into rounds)
- 2tbsp. olive tapenade
(black or green)
- 1tsp. herbes de Provence,
plus more for garnish
take your tea
party in a
Forget cubes, granules and packets: There’s nothing worse than trying to dissolve sugar in an ice-cold drink. Try this no-brainer recipe instead.
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Combine sugar and water in a bowl; cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 3 to 4 minutes, or until water boils. Stir well to dissolve sugar and let cool. Pour into a pitcher and serve alongside teas. (Will keep in the refrigerator for at least a week.)
Fresh ice makes a big difference in the taste of iced tea. The night before your party, clear out your ice bin and refill so you’ll have a brand-new batch for the party.
chinese crab salad on sesame toast
- 1/2cup lump crabmeat
(about 4 oz.)
- 2tbsp. mayonnaise
- 1/4tsp. sesame oil
- 1/2tsp. chopped fresh ginger
- 1/2tsp. lemon juice
- 1scallion (both white and green
parts), finely sliced
- 6 slices dense white bread
- 11/2tbsp. salted butter
- 11/2tsp. sesame seeds seeds
TEA SANDWICH DOS AND DON’TS
Once you get the hang of it, you can experiment with your own creations, though there are some basic guidelines that apply to all tea sandwiches, nouveau and old-school alike.
Make them two or three bites. Use a variety of breads. Trim off crusts whenever possible.
Serve sandwiches that require utensils.
Include ingredients that will make the bread soggy.
Use too much filling.