1Bring 1/2 gallon of cold water to a boil. Add 8 finely crushed star anise pods, 1 teaspoon orange blossom water, the scrapings of 1 vanilla pod or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, a pinch each of ground cloves and ground cinnamon, and 1/2 cup Chinese black tea leaves.
2Boil for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 cup sugar and a few drops of red food coloring (optional, though traditional). Cover, steeping until tepid.
3Strain and pour the tea over plenty of crushed ice. Top with half-and-half or sweetened condensed milk.