Iced tea is consumed throughout the United States during the summer months, but in the South, it’s a year-round beverage. We were weaned on iced tea. I remember drinking it as a toddler and learning to like it without sugar or lemon.
But sweet tea is the norm for most of us. And now, me too. I’ll still drink it sans sugar, but add a little sugar and lemon, and it’s the most refreshing drink of all.
Recently, Tetley Tea was thirsting for some insight into the trends and habits of tea drinkers and guess what? They agreed that Southerners and sweet tea go hand in hand. In fact, 63 percent of those responding said the best iced tea comes from the South. No surprise at all.
But what did come as a surprise was that the Northeast made up the highest number of iced-tea drinkers, according to the survey. Wonder how many Southerners were asked?
And I’m sure you’re wondering … do blondes or brunettes drink more iced tea? Brunettes the survey says, in case you’re interested. Redheads came in dead last, accounting for just 8.7 percent of respondents. Who came up with these questions?
Here are a few more interesting tidbits uncovered when the survey was finished.
• When it comes to actually making a tasty summer sipper, culinary creativity abounds. The majority of respondents developed their own recipe for iced tea rather than using a recipe handed down by family members or one from a magazine or website. Most of those answering the survey said they brew their tea in a pot on the stove rather than in the sun.
• Believe it or not, the tea party does not have the highest number of iced tea drinkers. Democrats edged out Republicans, 29.8 percent to 25.7 percent. Independents, you may demand a recount.
• And what are the most-popular additions to a glass of tea? Fresh lemon is the most commonly used flavor enhancer and sugar the top choice to sweeten the deal. Other flavor enhancers include fresh mint, lime and orange, in order of popularity. I guess respondents were not given the choice of peach, raspberry or mango.
That’s just it, there are so many different ways to prepare iced tea that go beyond lemon and sugar. My Aunt Charlotte Berg always made iced tea with a can of lemonade concentrate and some sugar. I’ve followed her lead and also used a can of orange juice concentrate for a nice twist.
Do you have a favorite recipe or restaurant that serves good iced tea? Something different and refreshing? Email me and let me know.
Here’s another recipe I found from Southern Living. It’s a little more involved than many because you have a few extra steps to take, such as making a simple syrup, which is really quite simple, and purchasing ingredients such as peach nectar that probably aren’t in your pantry. But the efforts will pay off as you sip the afternoon away, enjoying the flavors that peach and mint bring when they marry.
3 family-size tea bags
2 cups loosely packed fresh mint leaves
1 (33.8-ounce) bottle peach nectar
1/2 (12-ounce) can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
1/2 cup simple sugar syrup (instructions follow recipe)
1 (1-liter) bottle ginger ale, chilled
1 (1-liter) bottle club soda, chilled
Garnish: fresh peach wedges
Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan; add tea bags and mint leaves. Boil 1 minute; remove from heat. Cover and steep 10 minutes.
Discard tea bags and mint. Pour into a 1-gallon container; add peach nectar, lemonade concentrate, and Simple Sugar Syrup. Cover and chill 8 to 24 hours. Pour chilled tea mixture into a punch bowl or pitcher. Stir in ginger ale and club soda just before serving. Garnish, if desired. Makes about 1 gallon.
Simple sugar syrup: Bring 2 cups sugar and 1 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Boil, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes or until all sugar is dissolved and mixture is clear. Cook for 30 minutes or until mixture is room temperature.
St. John’s Restaurant will take diners on a culinary tour of France on Monday, offering the chance to savor a five-course meal prepared by Chef Daniel Lindley, paired with French wines selected by St. John’s Wine Director Josh Carter. The Burgundy Wine Dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. and will feature wine expert Phillipe Carrie of Esprit du Vin who will lead a discussion about wines of the Burgundy region of France.
The night’s wines will be:
• Pouilly Fusse by Domaine de Rochers,
• Chablis ler Crus Fourchaume by Domaine Jolly,
• Gevrey Chambertain La Justice by Antonin Guyon,
• Vosne Romanee 1er cru by Domaine Bertagna.
The cost is $90 per person, plus tax and gratuity. There will be room for just 40 people; make reservations by calling 266-4400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
<em>Contact Anne Braly at email@example.com.</em>