Drinks and snacks for a road trip can get expensive! And there’s definitely nothing healthy about the choices we typically make when we pack snacks for a journey. Those 20 ounce bottles of soda or flavored tea can be $2, $3 or even more, depending on where you purchase them. Add to that the chips, candy and various other processed “treats”, multiplied by all the people riding in your car, and it doesn’t take long to run up a pretty hefty tab. What’s the alternative? How about two or three hours of your time, the day before your trip begins? With that small investment of time, you’ll be amazed at what you can pull together — homemade cheese crackers, homemade chocolate chip cookies, fresh fruit, flavored sparkling teas, mint tea and plain iced tea.
I’m happy to report that we have fine-tuned this option for our family. And, today, I’m going to share one of our favorite recipes. Please, don’t send me angry emails. lol I am in no way promoting these options as “health food”. I AM saying that they are healthiER AND so much easier on the pocketbook than the processed commercial options packed with ingredients you can’t pronounce. Road trips are for fun! And for treats! I just like having control of the treat ingredients. I’m bossy like that. 🙂
Since I’m participating in the #CollectiveBias #AmericasTea project, I decided this would be a great time to share the secret to making Homemade Sparkling Teas. When you see how easy it is, you’ll jump at the chance to save tons of money and a trip to the store by whipping these up for your family’s next road trip! I generally start by steeping my tea concentrates. Getting this process started only takes a couple minutes and then I get busy mixing up our favorite chocolate chip cookies and these delicious homemade cheese crackers. (Recipe coming in 24 hours.) I like my tea concentrates to steep for at least a full hour, so that gives me plenty of time to get both doughs mixed and ready to go. The cracker dough goes straight to the fridge to chill, the first pan of cookies goes into the oven and then I start the process of creating my sparkling tea.
Sparkling teas are a great alternative to soda. You still get the sweetness and the carbonation, but you also get some of the benefits of tea, herbs and spices. My sparkling teas have less than half the sugar of sodas and since I always use Bigelow Tea I am confident that I am getting the highest quality tea and ingredients at the peak of freshness. Bigelow Tea is a 3-generation, family-owned company that is personally invested in getting the highest quality teas to our kitchens. In side-by-side comparisons of the contents of a Bigelow Tea bag and another brand’s tea bag, the difference becomes obvious. Bigelow Tea has large pieces of leaves and whole leaves, that have been hand-picked, and does NOT include the tea dust and stems that are common in other brands. Bigelow Tea has pieces of dried citrus rind, dried fruit, and spices, etc. actually visible in their teas. They are not flavored with “flavor prills” like many of their competitors and the flavor is where you will reap the benefits of their commitment to their fantastic high quality ingredients. I believe that is the secret to the wonderful fruity flavors in my sparkling teas.
Okay, mixing the teas is simple. I have tons of half-liter and one liter bottles with great lids for holding carbonation. We got them with our home soda maker. Having a home soda maker means I can also carbonate my own filtered water, but you don’t need access to either of those things to use this recipe. Save all the water, tea, soda and energy drink bottles that your family brings home for a month. You’ll probably have more bottles than you know what to do with. 🙂 (If you can’t carbonate your own water, you can buy it inexpensively at Walmart, when you pick up your Bigelow Tea. Carbonated water will be labeled Seltzer Water, and at my local Walmart, it is only 64¢ for a whole liter.) Once you have collected those two items, you can switch your family over to this healthier and more cost effective beverage!
First pour sweet tea concentrate into a bottle and then add the carbonated water. Finished! It’s that simple! Seal it up tight and get it chilling for your trip.
Okay, you already know me well enough to understand I HAVE to do the nerd math. lol I broke down the cost of the tea, sugar and seltzer to make one 1/2 liter bottle of sparkling tea. It was a little less than 32¢!!!! I’m so happy and so is my wallet! Have you priced a half-liter bottle of ANYTHING at the checkout stand? Yes! You will save a TON with this simple recipe! Want to save even more? Eliminate the seltzer and just drink the delicious Bigelow flavored teas. They’re fantastic over ice and 1/2 liter made by substituting plain water for the seltzer will only be about 15¢. That’s what I like! Maximum flavor for minimum cost!
I like to make two extra 1-liter bottles of plain tea to keep in the cooler, too. These are straight tea – no seltzer. One is Mint Medley, to settle any tummies that might tangle with a bout of car sickness and the other is English Tea Time, straight, unsweetened. That’s for Mom’s refills. 🙂 I always starts every journey with my one-quart mason jar mug packed with ice and fresh black tea!
Finish baking your cookies and crackers, load your homemade sparkling tea, extra teas and some fresh fruit into the ice chest and you are set for a fantastic journey! I hope you have a blast!
- 3 Bigelow Tea Bags (flavor of your choice)
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 cups boiling water
- 3 cups carbonated water (seltzer water)
- (I usually start three or four batches of concentrate (different flavors) at the same time. If you do that, just multiply the ingredient list, by the number of batches you are making.)
- Pour sugar into any container large enough to hold at least 2 cups of liquid and that can stand up to boiling water. I love using mason jars for this, but be sure they are warmed before starting so you don't shatter them when you add the boiling water. (Simply filling them with hot tap water and letting them set for a minute or two is sufficient. Then dump out the hot water and add the sugar.)
- Place the tea bags in the container.
- Pour two cups of boiling water over the sugar and tea bags.
- Stir gently until the sugar has dissolved.
- Allow the tea bags to steep for 30 - 60 minutes. (I feel like you get the best flavor from a full hour of steeping. You want the tea to be concentrated.)
- After the recommended time, remove the tea bags, squeezing any excess moisture from them into the tea.
- Discard the tea bags.
- Stir the concentrate to be sure all the sugar is dissolved and evenly distributed.
- In each half-liter (17 oz) bottle, pour 1 cup of your tea concentrate.
- Then add 1½ cups of carbonated (seltzer) water to each bottle.
- Seal tightly and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Repeat this process for each flavor of tea concentrate you have made.
Check out the Bigelow Tea Pinterest Board for more fantastic ideas to use Bigelow Tea!
Bigelow Tea’s Made in the U.S.A.Sweepstakes