A Sparkling Vintage Life

Retro Recipe Wednesday: Iced Tea

iced tea Monday, when I started working on this post, was a perfect iced-tea day in northern Idaho: hot, sunny, summery. Today, not so much, as we’re experiencing cold and rain–“March: The Sequel.” Still, I’m forging ahead with my iced-tea post because (a) it’s written and (b) I have hope that summer is just around the corner.

I wasn’t always an iced tea fan, but a while back, for health reasons, I decided to give up carbonated soda (or pop, or soda pop–choose your poison). Plain water seemed boring, so I started ordering iced tea in restaurants. Now I can’t get enough of it. Turns out I prefer it very plain: no sweetener, no fruit flavoring, no nothing . . . well, a slice of lemon is okay, and ice, of course. But none of that fancy stuff for me.

I was amused by the ad at left, from the June 1938 issue of Good Housekeeping magazine, which makes it sound like iced tea was some radical new idea being marketed to the American public. And maybe it was at the time, at least outside the South. Haven’t Southerners been drinking iced tea forever?Although I understand that down in Dixie you can be run out of town for not drinking it sweet. Or is that just a stereotype?

Traditionally served in a tall, straight-sided glass, iced tea has also inspired a special utensil–the iced tea spoon, a small spoon with a long handle designed to reach the bottom of the tall glass.

I don’t make iced tea very often at home–it tends to be my “dining out” beverage, while at home I drink water–but when I do, my favorite method is to simply heat water in a kettle, brew up some plain old Lipton, let it chill, and pour it over ice. I use tea bags, but I know that purists insist on using loose tea and an infuser. If you want to learn more about brewing iced tea in greater detail, check out this post. Someday I’d like to try brewing sun tea–maybe this will be the year.

Are you an iced tea fan? What qualities say “perfect glass of iced tea” to you?

Meanwhile, I’m virtually clinking my tea glass with yours!


4 Responses to Retro Recipe Wednesday: Iced Tea

  • Iced tea may be a new trend on the East Coast, but we Midwesterners have been drinking it for longer than I can remember. There’s nothing more refreshing on a hot, muggy summer day. Once in a blue moon I’ll buy a Coca-Cola at the Orpheum Theater or the Tic-Toc Cafe, but carbonated water makes me burp.

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    Brenda says:

    I only make sun tea, but not a fan of the usual variety. My favorite is Stash Chai Green. I usually have an abundance of choices which leads me to mix them up. Never the same batch twice and always an adventure.

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    Diedre says:

    I had never heard of sun tea until I married and moved to the States 20 years ago. Jim’s family always had a jar going throughout the summer. One of our first purchases after we settled in our home was a sun tea jar with the spigot. There is something about the process of making sun tea that takes out the bitterness. After a while, we got tired of making sun tea and someone bought us an iced tea maker. It made a half gallon at a time. We used it for a long time, but got tired of how long it took to stir the sugar in since the tea was already cold by the time it filled the pitcher with ice in it. Then we started to brew it in the machine without putting ice in the pitcher so the sugar would dissolve. After it was stirred, we added the ice. Then we decided we didn’t like having the machine on the counter (plus, it didn’t make enough tea anymore) so we started just boiling a pot of water on the stove, adding our tea bags, letting it brew (making it extra strong), stirring in the sugar and then pouring it into a gallon jug that was 3/4 filled with ice. When our new fridge gave us less ice than our old one, we tried just pouring it got into the jug and adding cold water to fill the container, but we found that the tea became bitter and realized that pouring it immediately over ice does the same thing as sun tea does – it takes away the bitterness. Since we’ve been married, it seems there is always a jug of tea in the fridge during the summer, but I have noticed that this summer we have hardly made any. I’m not sure if it’s because it isn’t very warm yet or if it’s the fact that our teenage kids are starting to drink us out of house and iced tea and I can’t keep up. I’m pretty sure it’s the latter.

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