Quick And Cold: Iced Coffee

This morning, on this hot summer day, I needed an ice cold pick-me-up. So I Googled iced coffee recipes and was surprised to see all the trouble people go through just for a glass of the caffeinated treat. People crush their own whole beans, strain them through a warm brew, and let the mixture sit overnight. No thanks -- when I want a cup of coffee, I want it immediately. I did a few more searches for an easy iced coffee, and I was more than pleased at the resulting drink I had ready in less than five minutes.

Serves: 1 glass Prep time: 5 minutes

Ingredients: 2 teaspoons instant coffee 1 teaspoon sugar 2 tablespoons warm water 8 ounces cold milk Sprinkle of cinnamon (optional) Whipped cream (optional)

1. Add all ingredients -- except for the cinnamon -- in a cocktail shaker and shake well for several seconds, or until the mixture is well-combined and frothy. Pour over ice. If desired, add whipped cream and/or a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.

My Notes: Why would I even have instant coffee? If you're a coffee snob, chances are you don't have a jar of the instant stuff tucked away into your cupboard. Ordinarily, I wouldn't drink it -- I just keep it stashed in my kitchen, reserved mainly for cooking and baking recipes. But because iced coffee is made primarily with cold milk instead of hot water, the strong, even bitter flavor of regularly brewed coffee isn't necessary. In fact, that bite probably isn't a taste you even want. Plus, chains like Starbucks use the instant stuff anyway -- so why bother paying those extra dollars for drinks you can easily make at home?

What about different flavors? If you want sweeter coffee, add a dash extra sugar. If you want a thicker, milkier taste, try using 7 ounces cold milk and 1 ounce half-and-half. And of course, you can always nix the sugar entirely.