I have always loved iced tea. I was never a fizzy pop devotee, never a huge milk shake guzzler, and although I love fruit juice and punches, I don’t find them refreshing enough on their own. I think everyone raised in the South or Southwest can testify to needing more than a few glasses of iced tea to get you through the dry, blistering summer. Trust me when I say, there is no more welcome sight in the fridge or on the table, than a tall glistening pitcher of amber, just clear iced tea with a thick layer of icy rubble in the bottom.
Iced tea is very much beloved by Southerners as the table drink of choice. Sickeningly sweet, brewed brisk and strong, and found in most fridges below the Mason-Dixon line. Although Mr. Richard Belchynden, is often given credit for inventing iced tea at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. It was documented on the tables of the South on or around 1870. A full 35 years before Mr. Belchynden pivoted and added ice to his tea. It is so very beloved that during prohibition, people used their ornate bar glasses to dress up Iced teas and add garnishes to take the sting out of the lack of liquor.
Making the soft drink was one of my earliest kitchen chores that I can remember enjoying. A pitcher of kool aid or punch and a pitcher of tea had to be in the fridge seven days a week. Milk and juice were for breakfast. Soda Pops were for cook outs, and adult beverages took care of themselves.
The formula that I learned from girlhood is how I still make it. As a family we are a strongly brewed, not too sweet, lemon kissed iced tea crew.
This is not a recipe but a formula, because as you will learn balance and harmony are the essential truths of great drinks, and that you cannot measure.
As a good guideline I use the 1 teabag per 8 ounces/240 mLs of water for steeping and two teaspoons of sweetener per 8 ounces.
I have featured my Iced Green Tea in this recipe’s images. Enjoy!
Iced Sun Tea
- 15 Black tea bags
- 3 Lemons Juice and peel only (no pith)
- 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
- Place the above in a screw top gallon jar, half filled with filtered water, fingertip tightened, sit in the sun until the brew is mahogany in color.
- Then after the correct brew is achieved you remove the peel and spent bags, add 1 2/3 cups of white sugar, the juice of the 3 lemons that you zested.
- Stir until dissolved. Taste for balance.
- When satisfied fill the jug the rest of the way with cold filtered water. Serve over glasses groaning with ice.