I am pretty darn sure that right now, in your kitchen, are all the ingredients you need to make a fizzy Arnold Palmer. You know — the iced tea/lemonade drink? But we’re going to pump it up a bit and make it fizzy. And we’re going to keep the sugar, but we’re going to use a healthy fermentation that will eat the sugar, leaving the sweetness behind. The same white sugar you know and love — but fewer calories. Perfect.
The secret ingredient that makes the fizz (and also eats the sugar) is whey. And, I’m betting you already have it sitting in your fridge. It’s the watery stuff that sits on top of your yogurt. OK — I know… Whey? In your tea? Sounds a bit gross… but it’s not — it’s VERY healthy. (In place of whey, you can also use a Ginger Bug, and I will include all versions in this recipe. But whey is probably what you have on-hand.)
One of the reasons you have yougurt in your fridge in the first place is so that you can give your gut a healthy dose of probiotics, right? A healthy gut flora helps build a healthy immune system, building your defenses against disease, infection and aging, with enzymes that help you absorb more nutrients from the foods you eat. Whey is full of those probiotics, and creates a nutrient-dense, enzyme rich food loaded with lactobacillus.
The best news is, the fermenation process “eats” the sugar — leaving behind a sweet taste, with far fewer calories. This is similar to the pro-biotic soda pop — but we’re using tea and lemons.
The fermentation process takes time — 2-3 days. This can be frustrating — but the key is to plan ahead. Start now, and make your second batch, as soon as your first batch is ready. Once the Arnold Palmer is made, it will keep indefintely in the fridge.
So go get your yogurt out of the fridge, and put a coffee filter in a strainer, and set the strainer over a bowl. Dump your yogurt into your strainer and let it drip. In about 12 hours, you will have “cream cheese” in the strainer, and whey in the bowl. Pour the whey into a bottle, cap it and keep it in the fridge, and save your cream cheese for something else.
Here are the ingredients you need:
- Lemon frozen concentrate — two quarts (if not using fresh lemons)
- Fresh lemons, if not using lemon concentrate mix
- Two quarts of water, if not using lemon concentrate
- Sugar, if using fresh lemons
- Tea Bags — We went vintage — with good old Lipton Tea.
- 1 cup of Whey, or 1 cup Ginger Bug
- 4 bottles with screw-top lids, glass or empty plastic water bottles. Antying with a lid will work. The best method is to use individual-sized containers — because just like soda pop, the more times you open the cap, the more fizz you loose.
If using lemon juice concentrate, mix your lemonade, according to package directions. Use this for your “water,” referred to now as lemonade mix.
To each bottle, add
- 1 tea bag
- 1/4 cup lemon juice (if using fresh lemons only)
- 1/4 cup whey or ginger bug
- 1/4-1/2 cup sugar — depending on your taste preferences (only if using fresh lemons — otherwise your lemonade mix will have all the sugar you need.)
- Add water, or lemonade mix, leaving a couple of inches at the top for carbonation.
- Screw caps on the bottles, and let them sit in the sun for 4-6 hours.
- After that, take out your teabag, and screw the lids back on tight.
If you make your tea with hot water, rather than the sun, wait until the tea cools before adding your whey or ginger bug. High temps, boiling water, kills the beneficial bacteria.
Put your bottles in a warm place, they no longer need the sunlight, but they do need to be kept above 68 degrees. Higher temps help you fermentation process go faster. A closed cooler, without ice, is a good option. It’s rare, but there have been known to be “bottle explosions” from the buildup of carbonation. A cooler keeps the bottles safe during the 2-3 day fermentation process.
It’s a good idea to “taste” your tea each day. The longer the tea sits, and the higher the temps, the less sweeter, and higher the carbonation. So, uncap the bottle each day and see how you like it — when it’s just as sweet and fizzy as you like it, pour it over ice, or put it in the fridge. The cold air will slow the fermentation process down, and let you “preserve” your drink for a hot summer afternoon. Kept cool, the fermentation protects the tea, giving it a longer shelf life than traditional teas. Your fermented Arnold Palmer can be kept several months in the fridge.