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National Iced Tea Day

We’re almost halfway through June and summer is in full swing: kids are out of school, families are taking vacations, and the sun hangs around for a bit longer than the rest of the year. If you’re worried about getting too hot this summer, Plated has your back!  Today is National Iced Tea Day and we have something special to celebrate.

How do you like your tea? In Belgium iced tea is carbonated, in Thailand milk is usually poured over iced tea, and in the United States iced tea makes up about 85% of all tea consumed.  What we have for you is not something from a faraway land, but it is from a faraway time. To impart the significance of this refreshing treat, we have to go back through time.

During World War II, the US had a difficult time importing green tea, so they began to buy black tea from India as the Prohibition had greatly increased the popularity of iced tea as an alternative to alcohol.

If you go back even further to a vendor at the World’s Fair in St. Louis in 1904 you’ll find the exact spot where iced tea was first commercialized. The vendor, Richard Blechynden, found that he could make his hot tea drink even more desirable during the hot summer fair by serving it cold.

In 1879 Marion Cabell Tyree wrote a cookbook called Housekeeping in Old Virginia, and in this cookbook is the oldest recorded sweet tea recipe, which inspired the recipes we have for you today.

Southern Sweet Tea Recipe

  • 6 black tea bags
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • ¾ cup white sugar

Pour boiling water into a heat-proof, glass pitcher. Add tea bags. Cover, and allow to steep for 10-15 minutes. Remove tea bags, and discard; stir in sugar until dissolved. Let cool and serve over ice.

Thai Iced Tea 

Instead of sweetening your tea with sugar, add sweetened condensed milk to taste. For an authentic version use Thai tea leaves, which are stronger than regular black tea leaves.

Peach Mint Iced Tea 

Puree a ripe peach until smooth and stir in a 1-2 tablespoons per cup of tea. Garnish with finely chopped mint leaves.

Strawberry Basil Iced Tea

Start by making an infused simple syrup. In a heat-proof bowl, mix 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup boiling water. Whisk until dissolved, add 4-5 sprigs of fresh basil and let sit for 10 minutes. Remove basil, add 1 cup quartered strawberries to warm syrup and let sit for 5 more minutes. Add the infused syrup and strawberries to your tea until it’s the sweetness you desire.

What are your favorite iced tea recipes?

- Jason Frankel


1 Comment

  • Sara June 11, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    As a southern girl, born and bred, I can tell you that southern sweet tea takes a bit more work than what you have shared here.

    First, use the large tea bags. Not those tiny things. I usually use 4 family size tea bags (6 would produce a very bitter tea, especially after steeping for 15 minutes) for a gallon of tea. Second, add about 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to your hot water while the tea bags are steeping. This will help the bitter taste black tea tends to take on when steeping. Next, instead of adding just plain sugar, make a simple syrup and add the syrup to the hot tea. Usually a simple syrup is a ratio of 1 to 1 with sugar and water. In my house, I usually do a 2:1 ratio (2 sugar, 1 water) and I make large batches, put in mason jars with a screw on lid, and keep in the fridge. When you sweeten your hot tea, I usually add about a cup (no measuring in my house), but if someone wants their tea sweeter, they can add more syrup. Finally, finish filling your pitcher up with cold water/ice. Serve over lots and lots of ice! :) We don’t wait around for the cooling stage.


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