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    Cooking | Magazine

    Add an international twist to your iced coffee with these recipes

    Americans raised on Coolattas may be surprised to learn that the rest of the world has its own ideas about iced coffee.

    From left: Greek-style iced coffee (frappe), German-style iced coffee (eiskaffee), and Portuguese-style iced coffee with lemon (mazagran).
    Photo by anthony tieuli; food styling by Sheila jarnes/Ennis Inc.
    From left: Greek-style iced coffee (frappe), German-style iced coffee (eiskaffee), and Portuguese-style iced coffee with lemon (mazagran). (Photo by anthony tieuli; food styling by Sheila jarnes/Ennis Inc.)

    They tell us that America runs on Dunkin’ and, if so, it’s never more true than in the heat of summer, when the demand for cold coffee explodes. But the United States is just one of many countries where iced coffee is a go-to warm-weather quaff. Many people know the sweet, creamy Vietnamese and Thai versions, but here distinctive examples from Greece, Portugal, Hong Kong, Germany, and Italy demonstrate the drink’s worldwide popularity.

    Recipes like these are a breeze to adapt to individual tastes. If the drink is sweetened and/or lightened, adjust each to your liking. The ratios in the recipes here appealed to my tasters and me, which means neither too sweet nor too light.


    Makes 1 drink

    Light, frothy, refreshing, easy — and fun! If you have an immersion blender (sometimes called a stick or wand blender), this is a perfect place to use it. Or for a low-tech approach, vigorously shake the instant coffee, sugar, and 3 tablespoons cold water in a closed 1-pint jar for at least a minute. If you’re up for serving the coffee in the jar, add the ice and water directly to it and drink up. Instant coffee is classic for this drink. Adjust the quantities of coffee and sugar to your taste.


     2        teaspoons instant coffee or espresso powder

    2        teaspoons sugar

    Cold water

    Ice cubes

    Milk, half-and-half, evaporated milk, or other lightener, optional


    In a sturdy liquid measuring cup, mix the coffee or espresso powder, sugar, and 3 tablespoons cold water. Using an immersion blender, blend until a thick, tight, stable foam forms, 30 to 90 seconds. Fill a highball or other tall drinking glass with ice cubes and pour or spoon the foam into the glass over the ice. Carefully add up to 1 cup cold water and milk, if using (the foam will rise to the top of the glass), and serve at once with a long spoon and/or straw.



    Makes 1 drink

    You can adjust the quantities of lemon juice and simple syrup to your taste. In other countries, including Austria, the word “mazagran” denotes iced coffee with rum.

    2        tablespoons juice, plus 1 twist of zest, from 1 lemon

    2        tablespoons simple syrup


    Cold water

    Ice cubes

    1         cup strong coffee, cold

    1/8        teaspoon vanilla extract

    In a highball or other tall drinking glass, stir the lemon juice, simple syrup, and 3 tablespoons cold water to blend. Add ice cubes, coffee, and vanilla and stir to blend and chill the mixture. Taste and adjust flavor with additional lemon juice and/or  simple syrup if necessary. Run the lemon twist around the rim of the glass, drop it in, and serve at once.



    Anthony Tieuli
    Simple syrup — which is as simple as its name suggests, just sugar and water — blends perfectly into cold (and hot) liquids. To make about ½ cup, heat ½ cup each water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar is dissolved, about 2½ minutes. Cool to room temperature before using. It will keep, covered, in the fridge for a week or more.

    Makes 1 drink

    Yuanyang, served both cold and hot, is a mixture of sweet “milk tea” and coffee. Most recipes I saw recommended Ceylon, Assam, or English breakfast tea, brewed strong (but not bitter) and mixed with sweetened condensed milk. Many also recommend using more milk tea and less coffee, as I do, with the ratio stretching as far as 7 parts milk tea to 3 parts coffee.

     1         cup strong black tea, cold

    2        teaspoons simple syrup, or more, to taste

    1/3        cup strong coffee, cold

    2        tablespoons whole milk or half-and-half, or more, to taste

    Ice cubes

    In a highball or other tall drinking glass, stir the tea and simple syrup to blend. Add the coffee, milk or half-and-half, and ice cubes, stir to blend and chill the liquids, and serve at once.



    Makes 1 drink

    This is, for all intents and purposes, a float made from ice cream and cold coffee. It’s great at any time of day, of course, but I think it makes a fun dessert, with decaf, if need be. While vanilla ice cream is classic here, as a mocha fan, I’ve used chocolate ice cream instead. I also tried one with burnt caramel ice cream from Toscanini’s in Cambridge, and it was a bittersweet marvel.

     1         large scoop high-quality vanilla ice cream, or other flavor if desired

    1         cup strong coffee, sweetened and/or lightened if desired, cold

    Lightly sweetened whipped cream, for serving

    Grated chocolate, for garnish

    Place the ice cream in a highball or other tall drinking glass. Pour the coffee over the ice cream, top with a dollop of the whipped cream, and sprinkle lightly with grated chocolate. Serve at once with a long spoon and/or straw.


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    Makes about 6 cups

    Rather than iced coffee, this is coffee ice, Italian style. It’s particularly popular throughout Italy’s south and in Sicily. It’s almost always served with a healthy dollop of whipped cream. Many recipes I’ve tried are much sweeter than this one; feel free to adjust the sugar to your liking.

    3        cups espresso or very strong coffee, at room temperature

    1/3        cup sugar, or more, to taste


    ¼      teaspoon vanilla extract

    Bitters, such as Angostura

    Lightly sweetened whipped cream, for serving

    Grated chocolate, for garnish, optional

    In a medium bowl, stir the espresso or coffee, sugar, and a tiny pinch of salt to dissolve. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or until the mixture reaches 35 to 40 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Taste and adjust the seasoning with additional sugar if necessary. Add the vanilla and 3 drops bitters and stir to combine well.

    Pour the mixture into a small square baking pan (8 by 8 inches or 9 by 9 inches), cover with plastic wrap or foil, and freeze until softly frozen (not solid), about 1½ hours. Remove from the freezer, uncover, and run a dinner fork through the frozen mass to break it down into loose icy crystals. Re-cover and continue to freeze until firm, checking and raking the granita with the fork every 1 to 2 hours to keep the crystals loose and fine, at least 6 hours total. Serve in chilled bowls, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkled lightly with grated chocolate, if using. (Granita will keep in the freezer, tightly covered, for up to 3 days. Rake to loosen the crystals before serving.)

    Adam Ried appears regularly on “America’s Test Kitchen.” Send comments to Follow us on Twitter @BostonGlobeMag.