Southern Sweet Tea
Down in Atlanta Georgia this week for business and one of the things I just can’t seem to get enough is the Sweet Tea. I’m totally addicted to this stuff. Sweet tea is Southern tradition and it’s a favorite for lunch and dinner. It’s particularly good with soul food. Sweet tea is not just plain iced tea as you would get with Liptons or Snapple. It’s more like an addictive drug as most people I’ve met down here describe. It goes down smooth and it’s got some caffeine kick to it not to mention the sugar high you get drinking it. McDonalds is advertising their own Sweet Tea that is served in their local restaurants in Atlanta. Starbucks also has their own variety. I suppose since it gets so hot down here that the last thing you’d want is a hot cup of coffee and it makes sense to down a cool beverage that also gives you that same caffeine rush.
The history behind Sweet Tea goes back to 1795 when tea was first grown and commerically produced in America (South Carolina). Cold Sweet tea recipes and mixes got more popular after refrigeration was more prevalent in the mid 1800s.
I looked around and here’s 2 recipes for your own fresh pitcher of Sweet Tea. (Seems so simple)
Sweet Tea Recipe
6 – cups water
3 – tea bags, regular sized (such as lipton)
sugar to taste
4 – trays, ice
Pour 6 cups of fresh cold water into your pot and add tea bags. Bring water to a boil. Remove pot from heat and let the tea bags steep in the water for 10-15 minutes.
Pour tea into an empty pitcher. Add sugar to taste and stir until sugar is dissolved. I usually start off with about 4 ounces of sugar and adjust to taste. Fill the remaining pitcher with about 4 trays of ice. This should yield about 10 cups of tea.
Southern Cooking, by Henrietta Stanley Dull (Mrs. S.R. Dull), Home Ecomonics Editor for the Atlanta Journal
TEA – Freshly brewed tea, after three to five minutes’ infusion, is essential if a good quality is desired. The water, as for coffee, should be freshly boiled and poured over the tea for this short time . . . The tea leaves may be removed when the desired strength is obtained . . . Tea, when it is to be iced, should be made much stronger, to allow for the ice used in chilling. A medium strength tea is usually liked. A good blend and grade of black tea is most popular for iced tea, while green and black are used for hot . . . To sweeten tea for an iced drink-less sugar is required if put in while tea is hot, but often too much is made and sweetened, so in the end there is more often a waste than saving . . . Iced tea should be served with or without lemon, with a sprig of mint, a strawberry, a cherry, a slice of orange, or pineapple. This may be fresh or canned fruit. Milk is not used in iced tea.