Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Give Me Liber-Tea!

"Iced tea is too pure and natural a creation not to have been invented as soon as tea, ice, and hot weather crossed paths." ~John Egerton

The crisp days of autumn are just around the corner and our hot weather days are dwindling. Fall brings to mind hot mulled ciders, not iced tea. But iced tea is on my mind today and here is my overriding thought:

Only Southerners really know how to make iced tea.

I have lived in Maryland for over eight years and I have been trying desperately to find a good glass of iced tea outside of my own home since we arrived here. It can't be found. Really. I hate to be rude and an ingrate, but the tea in these parts is not good tea. First, it is not sweetened properly. At times, I have resorted to ordering unsweetened tea only to sweeten it with artificial sweetener (yikes!) because that actually tastes better than what is being passed off here as sweet tea.

Second, its strength is inconsistent, watery here, bitter there. Can we all agree on a recipe and stick to it, people?

And lemon...you have to beg for lemon! If you order iced tea, they don't automatically serve it with lemon. You must ask specifically. I can't tell you how many times hubby and I have ordered iced tea with lemon and they bring us one skinny old slimy lemon slice that has been sitting at the bar for several days and nights. Where's the fresh cut lemon? Are they being saved to squeeze on your Maryland crabs?

These experiences are common from diner to drive-thru to fine dining. I kid you not.  It's been eight years of this, so why am I on a tirade about this now? Because I was in the South recently, ordered iced tea all over the place and was served consistently sweet, properly strengthened iced tea with unsolicited, fresh lemon wedges every time. It reminded me of how I am suffering up here. I even got good iced tea as close as Winchester, Virginia. But something happens when you cross the Potomac. Even though Maryland is south of the Mason-Dixon line, there apparently has been no sharing of the tea recipe north of the river.

I am not one of those Southerners still fighting the Civil War, but I do think it is every American's, no every human's right, where ever they live, to have a decent glass of iced tea. This kind of breach of civil liberties is just the kind of thing to start a revolt.


  1. I completely agree... and as a gesture of solidarity for my ex-pat Southern friends, I am having a big glass of proper iced tea right now.

  2. As a 39 year old former Yankee and a Marylander for 15 years, I don't think I have ever had a yummy glass of iced tea. Please hook me up with a yummy glass of your tea!

  3. Oh, to have just a sip of sweet tea. But, alas, that is just too much sugar for me (sniff, sniff)...pour another for me!

  4. Absolutely, and without a doubt. The best sweet tea I have ever had comes from the south. I am an iced tea junkie and drink it all the time. That would be, as in ALL the time. Of course, my kidneys don't appreciate it and occasionally rise up in revolt with a stone from time to time. Unfortunately, you can't find the good stuff here in the north. The closest things I've found in sweet tea is Tradewinds, Gold Peak, and the tea at Chick-Fil-A.

    However, for me.....no lemon thank you.


Whaddaya think about that?