Thursday, April 5, 2012

Ice Tea

Firstly, no Texan actually says iced tea unless they are trying to impress you or sound like they are not really from Texas.

When we're not on our high horse, we just say ice tea.

Ice tea is served like water here in Texas.  

Your waitress may not even ask you if you want any.  She'll just bring it to your table.  That's how it is with tea around the south.

She may, if she is a good waitress, ask you if you want sweet or unsweet.  (You want sweet.)

There was a terrible, wretched trend that lasted much longer than it should have whereby people were adding fruit to ice tea.  Raspberry tea is the most heinous example.

Fruit and fruit flavoring added to tea is wrong and bad.

Do not do this.

I have had some extremely delicious tea with fresh orange rinds added to it, but that was an exception and I don't recommend it overall.

Have I told you that I make the world's best ice tea?

Today I offer you the recipe as it is officially time for making ice tea.

We got slaughtered by mosquitoes while dining al fresco last night, so that means it's tea time in old Normandy.  (Family joke.  I have no idea what it means, by the way, we just have always said this.)

Mama Holt's Summer Ice Tea

Boil some water on the stove.  Not in the microwave either, Missy.  On the stove.

Put 2 family-sized Luzianne or Lipton tea bags in a glass pitcher.

Add 1 cup of brown sugar.  It must be brown sugar.  Well, OK, it can be white or it can be pure cane sugar, but dark brown sugar will give it that extree WOW factor.

Crunch up a LOT of fresh mint leaves and throw them in.  (Much, much more than is in this picture.)

Pour the very, very hot (but not still boiling water) on top of all that and stir, stir, stir.  Leave a bit of room at the top so you can add a lot of ice.  You want a lot of ice in that puppy once it cools down a bit.

Leave the bags in for a long time.  In fact, I never take my bags out.  We drink a pitcher in about 2-3 days and I leave them in the whole time.

This is real tea, kids, not that crap you get at restaurants.

That's it.

The world's best ice tea.

I've been known to make sun tea every now and then too, but I have a tendency to forget it's out there and find it several days later with the cure for cancer growing in it. (I wish!)

This whole post is kind of tongue-in-cheek because there are as many ways to make The World's Best Ice Tea as there are Texans.  

I bet the comments section will prove this to be true.

Drink up, y'all!


  1. I love your recipe. I always leave my bags in too. Yours must taste extra extra good with the mint. I'm re-trying to grow some right now. Last year's ones didn't do right. I thought mint was easy to grow!
    ms mdd

  2. oooooooh yippee! I am going to make some this weekend, thanks for sharing your recipe. Since I'm a limey, my tea is usually PG Tips served hotter than Hades with tons of milk and sugar. Sweet tea had to grow on me but oh how it has, yum!

    Does the tea get bitter from the tannins if you steep it that long? Is it supposed to or do you just prefer it that way? Gonna experiment with this, too! yay tea!

  3. We had snow this morning. SNOW. At 500 ft. Best ice tea I ever had was in Louisiana, so I'm believing you on the southern tea thing. If the gluten-free thing continues to keep my migraines at bay, I just might start experimenting with adding a little bit of caffeine back into the mix, because I sorely miss real tea. And if the sun ever comes back, I'll head right here to try your recipe. Never would've thought of brown sugar!

  4. YUM! I love me some ice tea. I'm weird though, because the sweet tea is just too sweet for me now! :/

  5. Growing up during WW2 we seldom had ice tea but when we did my Mother always put sugar in it whilst it was hot so as not to use too much sugar. Sugar was rationed and was precious commodity. We also had mint and lemon if you wanted it. We had a mint bed right outside the back door.
    I am not sure if there was such a thing as Family Size tea bags back then.
    I totally agree: no fruit in my tea, thank you.

  6. I'll definitely try this! By the way - have you tried that sweet tea vodka? It's insanely delicious. Dangerous too :)

  7. Ms. Mudd - I have found that I can only grow mint in a container. I have a giant old pot for it. I can never grow things that are "easy to grow."

    Hils - Ooo me too! I LOVE my PG Tip with sugar and cream in the morning. This is for the day. I also use decaf bags which is terribly inauthentic.

    The tea bags are only in a day or two so, no, not much tannin taste. We put lots of ice in the glasses to so that waters it down a bit.

    Rita - SNOW? SNOW! Im sorry. Time for a trip to Austin! (I used decaf tea. Don't tell.)

    Danielle - I used to use, get this, Sweet and Low in my tea! crazy man.

    MerryMerry - oh yes, sugar in first for sure!! You taught me that. Remember MIF? Remember that mint out the back door at the Georgetown house?

    Betty - Um, I am no stranger to vodka in tea. As you might have guessed. wink.

  8. Just wanted to pipe up and say that last week I did an experiment and made iced tea several different ways... I used various techniques I found online saying it was the "best" way. I found for my taste that letting the bags steep for only 3 minutes and then taking them out (add to the compost pile) made the best... it left the tea smooth with no bitterness whatsoever. And, leave the tea on the counter to come to room temp before putting in the fridge, that way it never becomes cloudy. I'm a true convert to this method now. And, I'm a tried and true Texan to boot! :-)


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