Tea Thyme Soda

By • June 2, 2011 • 39 Comments



Author Notes: There's a delightful iced tea that gets served in Portland at Queen of Sheba Ethiopian Restaurant and Stumptown Coffee in the summer. At it's essence it is black tea with thyme, and it's surprisingly delicious and refreshing. With the added bourbon it becomes an easy to drink cocktail. (Maybe too easy... Don't say I didn't warn you!) hardlikearmour

Makes about 1 & 1/4 cups syrup, enough for about 10 12-oz sodas

For the Tea Thyme Soda

  • ice
  • 2 tablespoons Tea Thyme Syrup
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • seltzer, cold
  • sprig of fresh thyme or wheel of lemon for garnish
  • 1 & 1/2 ounce bourbon (optional)
  1. Half fill a 12-oz glass with ice. Add the syrup, lemon juice, and optional bourbon. Fill glass with seltzer and stir gently to combine. Garnish with sprig of thyme or lemon wheel. Enjoy!
  2. Note: Feel free to play with the proportions of lemon & syrup. I find it to be a refreshing balance of tart and sweet the way it is written.

For the Tea Thyme Syrup

  • 8 ounces water (1 cup)
  • 8 ounces sugar (1 cup plus 2 T)
  • 6 bags black tea (I used Darjeeling)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoon dried thyme or a handful of fresh thyme sprigs (about 1/4 oz)
  • 1/2 3-inch stick cinnamon, broken (optional)
  1. Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, swirling or stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. Boil for 30 to 60 seconds.
  2. Remove from heat & add tea, thyme, (and optional cinnamon), then cover. Allow to come to room temperature. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a glass jar, squeezing tea bags to collect as much syrup as possible. Store covered in the refrigerator.
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Comments (39) Questions (1)

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over 1 year ago lapadia

Love everything about this refreshing soda, love the name, and btw, I thought I had commented before!

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over 1 year ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks, lapadia! I like to make a good-sized batch of the syrup, and add the lemon juice right to it so it keeps longer in the fridge. Then I can have afternoon tea thyme, whenever the urge strikes!

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over 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I have made this numerous times and it was a staple along with your lime in the coconut float for the past two summers. I am remiss in posting when I try something and for that I apologize. I made it with and without the booze and either way its wonderful, the tea thyme syrup is so good I can eat it by the spoonful and mixed with club soda or seltzer yields a refreshing and delicious drink. I love this!!

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over 1 year ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Great to hear! It's one of my absolute favorite summertime refreshers. I'm not as good at posting about things I've made as I should be either, so don't feel too bad :-)

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almost 2 years ago EmilyC

Just tried these...what a nice, unique, refreshing drink! I'm not big on sweet tea but in soda form, I realize I'm a big fan! Love how concentrated the syrup is, which means I can drink these all week long.

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almost 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thank you, Emily! I'm not a big sweet tea fan either, as I don't find sweet beverages to be refreshing. I think the combination of tannin from the tea, herbal notes from the thyme, tang from the lemon juice is what makes this refreshing and yummy to me.

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about 3 years ago NanP

oops sorry for the over commenting! I didn't see that any of them were successful in getting posted

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about 3 years ago NanP

I made it with eight sprigs of fresh thyme instead of the dried. It's ridiculous! I plan to experiment with another batch substituting 3 small sprigs of dried sage for the thyme. I'll let you know how that turns out. Thanks so much for posting this recipe!

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

I made a batch and a half using 1/4 oz fresh thyme - a handful of sprigs and personally would've liked more thyme flavor (but I like a prominent thyme flavor for this - something about the tannin from the tea, the herbal thyme, the tart lemon, and the bubbles makes this super refreshing for me.)

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about 3 years ago NanP

I made this with eight sprigs of thyme instead of the dried. Love it! I'm going to experiment with another batch substituting three small sprigs of dried sage that I get from a middle eastern market. I'm pretty sure that will be sufficient, sage can get a little overwhelming! My other thought is to try some of the tea/thyme syrup with some home infused pineapple vodka and soda for a summer cocktail. Thanks so much for posting this recipe!

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about 3 years ago NanP

I made the syrup with about 10 sprigs of fresh thyme instead of the dried. Loved it, but maybe eight sprigs would be enough. I plan to experiment with another batch with three sprigs of dried sage. I think that might be sufficient - sage can be a bit overpowering!

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Hi, NanP! Do report back if you make it with the fresh thyme, I'd love to edit the recipe for use with either dried or fresh! I have fresh sage in the garden so I will give it a go sometime!

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about 3 years ago NanP

I just saw this and am making it now with some fresh thyme. I can't wait to have it this afternoon! btw - this would also be wonderful with sage. I frequently brew black tea with dried sage leaves and a little sugar, just never thought about making it into a syrup

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about 3 years ago susan g

I made it! I loved it! But the husband found it "a little medicinal" so 1/2 the thyme when I make another batch. I guess I like medicinal. And I did drop the sugar a bit, to 1 cup. So when is the Food52 Cafe opening? We could be fabulous with drinks alone, and then there's the rest of the menu...

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Awesome! I am a big fan of adapting recipes to suit your (or your husband's taste!) Thanks for trying this.

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about 3 years ago susan g

A bit of the spent tea+thyme relocated to a 2nd brewing of Gunpowder green tea, hot -- mmmm! Opens me up to take more chances with my teas.

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

great idea!

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about 3 years ago gingerroot

This sounds ridiculously good! I have a huge bunch of thyme from my CSA plus lemon thyme in my garden - I'm definitely making this soon.

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Oh...I bet it would be great with lemon thyme! Thanks!

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about 3 years ago gingerroot

I made this today and it was so good! Really refreshing. I'm so glad I have more syrup left to enjoy more over the weekend! Thanks for a great recipe!

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Yay! I'm glad you liked it!

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about 3 years ago TiggyBee

this looks sooo good!

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

It's really yummy, TB! You should try it!

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about 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Love it! A refreshing summer beverage!

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks! I think it'll be my signature summer drink.

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about 3 years ago wssmom

Cannot wait to try this wonderful combination of flavors!

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

It's really good!

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about 3 years ago Panfusine

Wow.. sounds delish.. love the delicately spicy bite of thyme!

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thyme really goes well with black tea for some reason. You should add some next time you brew a pot!

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about 3 years ago Panfusine

absolutely will!

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about 3 years ago inpatskitchen

This sounds wonderful!!

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks, ipk! I've loved the iced tea since the first sip I tried, and I'm really grooving on this carbonated version.

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about 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Wow! The scent is wafting right out of your narrative. You could probably spin this into a sorbet, too.

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

I was just thinking it would take nicely to a shot of bourbon, but sorbet never even crossed my mind.

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about 3 years ago gingerroot

I say, make sorbet and add a touch of bourbon at the end. But that's just me. : )

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about 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I think this sounds wonderful, have some thyme in my garden next time I brew some tea will give this a try.

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

It's surprisingly good with black tea. I think you'll like it.

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks, susan g! BTW we have the same initials.

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about 3 years ago susan g

Thumbs up to the Queen of Sheba and you!