Sure, summer heat calls for cold brew and iced tea when the sun is at its peak midday. But if you’re like us, you’re not giving up on sipping on your favorite warm drinks in the mornings and evenings (or honestly, anytime we’re in the air conditioning). Nothing complements a breezy summer night better than a refreshing tisane made with summer herbs and flowers. Here’s how you can get started blending and brewing your tisanes for the perfect summer nightcap.
Odds are you’ve had plenty of tisanes before – even if you didn’t realize. Any “teas” that aren’t made from the tea plant (camellia sinensis) are technically tisanes. That means all of your herbal teas, from peppermint to yerba mate, are actually tisanes.
At least in the United States, though, the word is most often used to refer to a drink brewed from fresh herbs or flowers. The resulting brew tends to have a more potent, brighter flavor than tisanes brewed from dried herbs and flowers (though the latter can be great, too). So, if your garden has a summer surplus of herbs, a few pots of summer tisanes are a great way to use up your stash. Fortunately, making them is a breeze.
There’s no one right way to make a tisane. In general, you’ll want to steep most herbs and flowers just below boiling for two to five minutes. As far as ratios go, your personal taste is what matters most. Start with around three or four small stalks of an herb for a single cup and adjust from there – and yes, you can use the stems unless they’ve gotten thick and woody.
Some of the most common ingredients used in tisanes include mint, lemon verbena, lavender, chamomile, citrus peels, ginger, turmeric, and holy basil – though the possibilities are endless. Even one of them on their own can make a delightful tisane, but we think they’re at their best when paired with complementary herbs. These simple blends are a few of our favorite summer herb tisanes. Each recipe will make two cups, served warm.
Culinary herbs like thyme, rosemary, and sage make great additions to tisanes, as well, and a squeeze of lemon juice or a drizzle of honey is always welcome. Ultimately, you can get as creative as you’d like when making tisanes – all that matters is that you enjoy the final product. Because the flavors of tisanes can be delicate and subtle, we recommend enjoying your brews in your Ember Mug² at a lower drinking temperature of 125°F or below.