I will never forget when I first came to South Carolina and tried sweet tea for the first time. I remember that I actually ordered iced tea. The waitress gave me a funny look and then went on to put in the order. I didn’t understand it at the time but it was at that point that my Yankeeness (I think it’s a word) was truly seen. A few minutes later she came back with our tea. Mine had a lemon wedge in it. I much prefer raspberry tea but, alas, they had none so I settled for lemon. I began to drink. OH MY STARS IN HEAVEN!!!! And a GOOD GRIEF!! Just to finish it off!! I thought I’d just drunk liquid sugar!!! Immediately I asked the waitress for a glass of water. Talk about a cultural shock!!
Where I’m from we mostly get our tea from a can, i.e. Lipton, Shoprite, etc. Or we country folk actually make sun tea in a cleaned out pickle jar. Ohhh, that’s good stuff! That sun tea is not usual in New York. In New York the people like things fast and in a hurry. Microwaves are even to slow for them now. Most tea is, like I said, from a can. There is a major difference between the tea though; the amount of sugar. Northerners don’t use a whole lot of sugar in their tea. While Southerners; well let’s just say Southerners use what seems like an entire bag of sugar in a glass of tea.
Y’all know what I’m talkin’ about. Southerners don’t try to act like you don’t and Northerners you know you’ve gagged and spit out some of your first tastes of ‘Sweet Tea“.
“Sweet Tea”; if that isn’t one of the greatest understatements in history!! That’s like saying that the Grand Canyon is just a little gulley. I wouldn’t doubt that there is more sugar per cubic centimeter of sweet tea than there is in pure sugar cane.
Anyway, whenever I ever order a tea now I always order a glass of water to dilute the sugar. Unlike most Southerners I like something else with my sugar. 😉 When I make it for my wife or if I make Kool-Aid I have to dilute my glass with a 50/50 mix of drink to water. It’s the only way I can drink it. I do not think I will ever understand how anyone can handle to drink something that sweet. I have begun to wonder if God didn’t mix Southerners with some ant DNA. Actually I don’t even know if the ants could handle Southern Sweet Tea. It truly is an acquired taste.
I have come to one conclusion though. All that sugar must be why Southerners are so much nicer than many Northerners. It just sweetened them up. Something to think about…
Now for a recipe…
Minty Tea Punch
Place the tea bags and mint sprigs into a large pitcher. Pour boiling water over them, and allow them to steep for about 8 minutes. Remove and discard the tea bags and mint leaves, squeezing out excess liquid. Stir in sugar until dissolved. Then stir in the orange juice and pineapple juice. Pour in the cold water. Serve over ice cubes, garnished with orange or lemon slices.
- Sweet Tea, of course (melindamcguirewrites.wordpress.com)
- National Iced Tea Day Drink Ideas (people.com)
- All Things Southern – Like Sweet Iced Tea (mybookofstories.wordpress.com)