Tuesday, June 30, 2009

House Wine of the South~Iced Tea!

June is National Iced Tea Month...did you know that? We should have been celebrating all month, but better late than never! Nothing tastes as good as a tall glass of tea, tinkling with ice cubes and a big slice of lemon. As a child of the South, sweet iced tea has always been part of my daily life. And when made correctly, it can be a wonderfully sweet and refreshing drink on a hot Summer day. Enjoy on the back porch, preferably in a rocking chair!

Classic Southern-Style Iced Tea
There are as many ways to brew iced tea as there are Southern grandmothers. I grew up on iced tea made by bringing a small amount of water to a slow boil and then pouring it over the tea bags to form a concentrate. More water was added to finish the process. I guess I'm biased toward this method, but it definitely does make good tea.
6 regular-size tea bags (You can use Orange Pekoe, Oolong, green tea, Lipton -- pick your favorite.)
2 cups boiling water
6 cups cold water
Granulated sugar or other sweetener to taste (optional)
1. In a glass measuring cup or ceramic teapot large enough to accommodate the boiling water, place the tea bags. Pour the boiling water over the tea bags. Cover and let steep for 15 minutes.
2. Remove the tea bags, being careful not to squeeze them (squeezing the bags will add bitterness)
3. Pour the concentrate into a two-quart pitcher and add the cold water. Sweeten, if desired. (Some Southerners put in as much as 1 1/2 cups of sugar)
4. Let cool, then chill and serve over ice.
Makes two quarts
*Tea will become cloudy if refrigerated while still warm. Add a little boiling water to clear up the cloudiness.

Blueberry-Lemon Iced Tea
1 (16-oz.) package frozen blueberries
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
4 cups water
3 family-size tea bags
3/4 cup sugar
Bring 1 (16-oz.) package frozen blueberries and 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and pour through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a bowl, using back of a spoon to squeeze out juice. Discard solids. Wipe saucepan clean.Bring 4 cups water to a boil in same saucepan; add 3 family-size tea bags, and let stand 5 minutes. Remove and discard tea bags. Stir in 3/4 cup sugar and blueberry juice mixture. Pour into a pitcher; cover and chill 1 hour. Serve over ice.
Southern Living, JULY 2007

Peach Iced Tea
3 (11.5-ounce) cans peach nectar
2 quarts brewed tea1 cup sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Stir together all ingredients; chill until ready to serve.
Curtis Aikens, Southern Living, AUGUST 2002

Mock Tea SangrĂ­a
1 (10-oz.) package frozen raspberries, thawed
1/3 cup sugar
1 family-size tea bag
2 cups red grape juice
1 lemon, sliced1 lime, sliced
1 (16-oz.) bottle orange soft drink, chilled
Process raspberries in a blender or food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Pour puree through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a large container, discarding raspberry seeds. Bring sugar and 3 cups water to a boil in a saucepan, stirring often. Remove from heat; add tea bag. Cover and steep 5 minutes. Remove tea bag with a slotted spoon, squeezing gently; cool tea mixture slightly. Stir together raspberry puree, tea mixture, grape juice, and lemon and lime slices. Cover and chill 2 to 24 hours. Stir in orange soft drink, and serve immediately over ice.
Southern Living, DECEMBER 2008

Hibiscus Tea Punch
4 cups boiling water
8 Red Zinger or hibiscus tea bags
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 (25.4-ounce) bottle sparkling apple cider, chilled
Garnish: lemon wedges
Pour 4 cups boiling water over tea bags. Cover; steep 10 minutes. Discard tea bags. Stir in sugar until dissolved. Chill until ready to serve. Stir in sparkling cider, and serve over ice. Garnish, if desired.
Coastal Living, MAY 2003
Mint Julep Iced Tea
8 mint leaves
1 lemon, sliced
1 lime, sliced
1 cup bourbon
3 cups cold sweetened tea
Cubed or crushed ice
Combine first 3 ingredients in a 2-quart pitcher, pressing with spoon to crush mint. Stir in bourbon and tea. Add ice.
Coastal Living, MAY 2002

*One more little tidbit of knowledge I found on the Internet...The only tea grown in America is found about 20 miles south of Charleston on Wadmalaw Island at the Charleston Tea Plantation, now owned by Bigelow.
Printable Recipes


  1. My mother always used the same pan to boil water for iced tea. After the water came to a boil, she would put the Lipton tea bags in the water and let it steep. When it was time for dinner, she would pour some of this concentrate into glasses over ice and then add cold water to dilute. A slice of lemon, squeezed into the glass, was a must. We would each squeeze our on lemon (I can remember getting lemon juice in my eyes on more than one occasion) and sweeten to taste with sugar. No artificial stuff for us.

  2. I'm doing the "Happy Dance"! I'm going to use one of these devine recipes this weekend. I never knew just the correct way to make it. Thank you!

  3. Your wonderful recipes have quenched my thirst. Now to ponder which should come first. Have a wonderful day.

  4. Mouth watering ... we don't do 'sweet tea' but lightly sugar our tea up north here ... chuckle! We basically use the same recipe ... love ice tea. Your varities look delicious. TY for sharing. TTFN ~Marydon

  5. Yummy! I love sweet tea too! Being from the south, it's just a natural thing to me. Today for lunch, for the first time every, I ordered unsweet tea and sweetened it with Splenda. It was actually very good. Thanks for sharing all the tea recipes. The peach one looks best to me.

  6. I love your post title today...
    Wine of the South-ice tea...
    I like raspberry iced tea or peach tea in restaurants . But at home I only make iced tea with lemon or lemon iced tea.

  7. Recently my sister-in-law was in the hospital and then re-hab. She couldn't wait to get home and fix a glass of ice tea...her way! Funny how the simple pleasures of life mean so much!
    joy c. at grannymountain

  8. I'm trying them for sure!
    Thank you for sharing.
    ~Happy 4th! ;)

  9. You are right about Charleston Tea Plantation and thanks for the mention on that. We just completed a short and fun video tour featuring Cindi Bigelow..you and your readers might be interested! Take a look:


    Thanks again,

    Valorie for Bigelow Tea


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