The following post was written by Dawn Richards , who blogs at D.M.R. Fine Foods  and is part of POPSUGAR Select Food .
Now that Summer has officially arrived, I'm opting for cooler drinks for my sipping pleasure. Most recently, I've taken to ordering the iced versions of my favorite coffee and chai tea latte drinks at local coffee shops. In fact, this became a daily ritual on my recent beach vacation. Back home and settled in (and with the Summer heat at full blast), I want to continue my indulgence without a planned outing to the coffee shop. I want delicious iced coffee from my kitchen.
So I consulted my reliable spice stash and came up with a variant of the chai flavors I love (including cinnamon, cloves, and star anise) to infuse in a simple syrup. The spiced simple syrup serves as the oh-so-good sweetener to my cold, smooth, balanced (and acidity-free-tasting) coffee concentrate. Together, with a splash of cream or milk (for those who do), they create a refreshing and frankly irresistible iced coffee drink that will fill my Summer (and beyond) with many rounds of decadent sipping. In this recipe, I replaced my previous method of chilling brewed coffee and opted to steep the ground coffee in water to create a robust coffee concentrate. It was worth the extra time, and I'll never go back.
Spiced Iced Coffee
Makes 32 cups coffee
For spiced simple syrup:
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
4 whole cloves
For coffee concentrate:
8 ounces ground coffee
4 quarts cold water
Cheesecloth (optional but recommended)
- To make spiced simple syrup: Heat the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the cinnamon, star anise, and cloves.
- Remove from the heat, and steep for at least an hour (or longer, for a stronger flavor). Strain the syrup, and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- To make coffee concentrate: Add coffee to a large container, and pour in the water. Stir together and steep overnight at room temperature. Drain the coffee through a mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth or paper towels.
- Refrigerate the coffee, and allow it to chill.
- To prepare the iced coffee: Fill a glass with ice, pour in the desired amount of chilled coffee, and add in the milk or cream, if using.
- Sweeten to taste with the simple syrup and enjoy!
Note: The coffee concentrate and simple syrup can be stored for up to 3 weeks refrigerated in airtight containers.