Sun tea & thyme syrup

Without fail, the first thing I do every morning when I sit down at the computer is check the weather. You would think I must live and die by the state of the sky, but nothing could be further from the truth.

I don't work outside. I'm not a landscaper, who spends my days roasting under a hot sun or shrinking away from raindrops under a Gore-Tex hood.

I'm not a farmer, crossing my fingers for moisture, then heat, and hoping that hailstorm misses my wheat.

I don't trade in weather derivatives. The number of days the temperature rises above 18 degrees Celsius, and how high it goes, has little impact on my life, let alone my bottom line.

In fact, I don't even go outside to go to work. My office is a little space behind the kitchen and beside the laundry room. Sometimes, because our condo is on the warm-ish side, I wear shorts to work in the winter.

No, I check the weather every day purely out of habit.
And so I know when to make sun tea.

Sun Tea
4 cups cold water
4 tea bags (I used Earl Grey)

Thyme Syrup
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup water
4-5 sprigs of thyme

To prepare the sun tea, pour the cold water into a clear glass container. Add the tea bags, dunking them a few times to ensure they don't simply float on top. Cover the container and place it in direct sunlight for 4 hours—or until the desired potency is reached. Brew it a little stronger than you might normally to account for ice later on. Store the finished tea, covered, in the refrigerator.

To prepare the syrup, combine the sugar, water and thyme in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, uncovered, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture boils. Turn the burner off and cover the pan. Let the mixture sit for several hours—or until the desired potency is reached. Discard the thyme and store the syrup, covered, in the refrigerator. This recipe makes more than enough syrup for the amount of sun tea above, but I find the syrup holds up better than the tea over time.

To serve, pour a pitcher or glass of sun tea, and add ice and syrup to taste. Toss in a few fresh sprigs of thyme or slices of citrus, or keep it simple. Your choice.