Sweet Tea

21Aug06

People in the southern United States swear by it. It’s served in most restaurants and diners in the south. So what is it?

Sweet tea is just sweetened iced tea.

The oldest sweet tea recipe (ice tea) in print comes from a community cookbook called Housekeeping in Old Virginia, by Marion Cabell Tyree, published in 1879:

After scalding the teapot, put into it one quart of boiling water and two teaspoonfuls green tea. If wanted for supper, do this at breakfast. At dinner time, strain, without stirring, through a tea strainer into a pitcher. Let it stand till tea time and pour into decanters, leaving the sediment in the bottom of the pitcher. Fill the goblets with ice, put two teaspoonfuls granulated sugar in each, and pour the tea over the ice and sugar. A squeeze of lemon will make this delicious and healthful, as it will correct the astringent tendency.

Here’s a (more modern!) recipe for Sweet Tea from Alton Brown, my favorite Food Network chef.

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