From the photo, Starbucks’ Youthberry White Tea Granita kind of looks like a glorified snow-cone.
Sounds good—especially when it’s hot outside, right?But Italophiles know the difference between any old cold treat and granita—a semi-frozen Sicilian dessert that’s a little more icy than creamy sorbet and a little softer than shaved ice. Starbucks’ version is a lemonade-flavored ice with fruity white tea poured over. It’s really pretty, and very tasty. But there’s one problem: There’s a whopping 34 grams of added sugar in a medium—that’s the equivalent of eight teaspoons of granulated sugar.
As refreshing as it might be initially, it’s basically a temporary sugar high followed by a major energy crash waiting to happen. But make your own version at home, and you can avoid all of that by leaving out the white sugar and swapping in raw honey, which lends just enough sweetness without spiking blood sugar levels. Both the honey and the fruit-infused tea balance perfectly with the tartness of the lemon, for a bright, refreshing beverage you’ll want to sip all day.
It’s better for you—and way more affordable, too. You’ll have enough for four to six servings (read: free refills!).
White Tea Lemonade Granita
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 12 hours
For the lemonade granita:
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 cups water
1/4 cup raw honey
Make the lemonade granita
Blend lemon juice, water, and honey in a high-speed blender. Pour mixture into an 8x8 brownie pan. Freeze 30 minutes, then stir very thoroughly with a fork to break up any ice crystals. Return to freezer for 30 minutes more. Repeat this process every 30 minutes for four hours, scraping down sides of pan as you go.
After four hours, the mixture should be icy and similar to sorbet—you should be able to easily scoop it with a spoon. The granita will keep its consistency for about 24 hours; if storing in the freezer for longer, break up bigger chunks in a high-speed blender.
Make the iced tea
In a large pitcher, combine tea bags, pineapple, mango, and cold water and allow to steep for 8 to 12 hours in the refrigerator. Remove and discard fruit and tea bags.
Scoop ½ cup of granita into glass and pour the iced tea over to serve.
Photo credit: Alicia Cho