If you are from the south, you understand the importance of sweet tea. It is the beverage of choice for front porch gatherings, picnics, Fourth of July celebrations, and dinner with your family. I grew up drinking gallons of sweet tea at my Country Grandma‘s house. It was the before-dinner beverage, during-dinner beverage, and also the post-dinner beverage.
Sweet Tea Sadness
I remember visiting San Franciso and asking for a sweet tea. There was mass confusion around this request.
“Sweet tea?” the waiter asked, completely perplexed.
“Yes,” I replied, confused at his confusion. “Do you have sweet tea?”
He paused for a moment and seemed to be thinking so hard that the pressure behind his eyeballs made him blink a lot.
“I’ll see what I can do,” he stammered.
Five minutes later I was handed an unsweetened tea and a packet of splenda.
I shook my head in sadness at their lack of understanding.
In the south, the liquidy tea is more closely related to a syrup. Best case scenario you’ll end up with minor heart palpitations. Worst case, you’ll need an insulin injection…even if you’re not diabetic.
To help with this, I will sometimes reduce the amount of sugar and substitute fruit combinations such as strawberry and blueberry, peach mint, or (my favorite) blackberries.
Some of my favorite childhood memories involve sitting around Grandma’s table after dinner, playing pincohle, listening to Jack Buck giving the Cardinal’s play-by-play on the radio, and drinking gallons of her tea.
Still today, when I hear Jack Buck’s voice I’m like Pavlov’s dog and my mouth begins to water.
For me, the secret to making amazing Southern Sweet Tea is using light brown sugar rather than white granulated sugar.