It’s that time of year here in the Sunshine State when we’re reminded why cold drinks were invented. With all our fun in the sun, it’s only natural that we’re struck by the overwhelming desire to chug an icy beverage any chance we get.
Our drink of choice is the ultimate Southern staple, sweet iced tea.
Iced Tea: When the Brewing Began
The first tea plant in the U.S. was brought to South Carolina by French explorer and botanist Andre Michaux in the late 1700s.
Following the tea plant’s arrival in the late 18th Century, historic cookbooks tell us that tea has been served cold for more than 200 years. Iced tea recipes originally used green tea – not the common black tea in use today – and the refreshing beverage was called “tea punch.” For the adults, it was typically spiked with a bit of alcohol!
The first sweet iced tea recipe was published in an 1879 community cookbook called “Housekeeping in Old Virginia” by Marion Cabell Tyree. Tyree’s recipe still called for green tea, and it wasn’t until 1884 that iced tea using black tea leaves made its debut.
And as the saying goes, the rest is history.
Less Reading, More Steeping
SMG’s Strawberry Sweet Tea Recipe
- 3 C. Water, in Pot
- 6 Black Tea Bags
- 1 C. Sugar, Unrefined and Organic
- 7 C. Water, in Pitcher
- 1 Lemon, Juiced
- 1/2 Lime, Juiced
- 16 Oz. Fresh Strawberries
- Bring the three cups of water to a boil. Add the 6 tea bags.
- On low heat, allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove tea bags.
- While tea is still hot, add the 1 cup of sugar. Mix well.
- Hull and chop strawberries. Place strawberries into a food processor or blender.
- Puree strawberries for 45 seconds.
- Grab pitcher (with 7 cups of water in it), pour the tea and sugar mixture in. Mix well.
- Pour the strawberry puree into tea. Add lemon and lime juice. Stir well.
- Taste for desired sweetness. If needed, add more sugar.
- Stir until thoroughly mixed.
- Allow to cool in refrigerator, then serve over ice.
Where to Get Your Sweet Iced Tea Fix
In the South, there’s only one type of tea, and it’s definitely sweet. We suggest heading over to your local Sonny’s BBQ to try their house-made tea. Iced tea and BBQ, it’s the perfect pairing.
Senior Account Manager | Orlando
Major is a seasoned publicist with a background in consumer goods and culinary PR. She’s a New York native turned Orlandoan and graduate of the University of Central Florida. When she’s not pitching and strategizing, she can be found working out, volunteering, or exploring a new city. Major became a Sachs Media rhino in May 2016.