Nothing tastes better in the summertime than a cold glass of iced tea. Sweet, that is. In most restaurants and food service counters there are two urns for sweet and unsweet teas. Diets have caused this change. However, once your brain is attuned to sweet tea, nothing tastes the same after that moment of discovery.
Every morning after our two mile walk around Strawberry Park, Sis and I hit McD's for breakfast. I love their biscuits and sausage combo and I choose at 7:30 in the morning to have sweetened iced tea. Only at McD's is there no choice. The tea is sweeter than any Easterner can imagine, and almost too sweet for me. I have to add water, maybe a quarter to that super cup. Not one for coffee, I suck the cold tea through the straw relishing the morning pickup it gives.
An article by Lisa Singhania from The Associated Press states this about tea:
"Approximately 85% of tea consumed in the U.S.is iced. No one in the world except for us drinks sweet tea and no one in the U.S sweetens their tea as much as they do in the Southeast."
You have to love sugared tea, or use artificial sweetner, or drink as is. When Easterners think of the South, they imagine us sitting on our front porches (which few of us have now) drinking mint juleps, but you'll only find that on the Cool Drinks Menu of a New Orleans restaurant.
Southerners don't dip into a jar of instant tea--OH, NO! We brew in boiling water either tea bags or leaves to a strong dark, rich color (usually orange pekoe and pekoe), pour into a large pitcher, add sugar (watch it dissolve like magic before your eyes), water and a squeeze of lemon, stir, and pour over as many ice cubes as the tall glass can hold. Or you can put pitcher in the fridge to reduce quick melting of the ice.
A guest in a Southerner's home had better be prepared to forget the soda or wine on a hot summer day. If you're invited to sit on your host's patio with the soft southern breeze drifting across your face, then a tall glass of sweetened iced tea is the recipe for keeping cool.