I’m proud to say, I grew up on good, ol’ fashioned Southern Sweet Tea. Everyday, all summer long, we had a big plastic gallon of tea in the fridge, and it was always sweet. There was nothing more refreshing on a hot summer day than to run in the house, fill the biggest glass available with ice, and gulp down the sweet tea nectar before returning outside to the relentless sun.
A genius marketing campaign from the 70’s & 80’s made my generation long for a “Nestea Plunge” where you would fall backwards into a swimming pool upon drinking a glass of iced tea.http://www.liketotally80s.com/2012/05/nestea/ We didn’t have a swimming pool (or air conditioning for that matter) but I remember resting the cold glass against my cheek and for just a moment, feeling the imagined sensation of taking that cool, full-body plunge - it was pure childhood joy.
I honestly can’t remember a time before I knew how to make iced tea. I guess if you are a thirsty kid, you beg your momma to show you how. First heat the water in a small pan and add two family-sized tea bags. 1½ cups of sugar goes into the pitcher before pouring the hot tea over. Stir to melt the sugar, then fill the pitcher to the top with cold tap water and stir. Quick, simple, cheap, delicious and full of sugar.
So now I’m an adult with a teashop of my own and hundreds of teas at my fingertips. I still enjoy an occasional nostalgic glass of sweet iced tea from my youth (I’ll forever love it) but I’ve so expanded my appreciation of tea and have discovered the world of Fine Teas. It’s a world where zero sugar is needed (resulting in zero calories), health is a big part of the equation, and rich flavor and aroma possibilities are endless.
As an American, I have no preconceived rules about which teas should be prepared hot and which are best iced. I will try any tea both hot and cold to see which I like best. This willingness to be open has resulted in many surprising and delightful discoveries (like iced cinnamon orange tea.)
I want to show you how to make some of my all time favorites:
*note: there are eight 8oz cups in a half-gallon