Thursday, March 5, 2009

Here's a brief history about southern iced tea!

A century before Iced Tea was an international, or even national sensation, the Old South, was sipping on cold tea punches to help relieve the long humid summers. These punches used green tea instead of black tea, and were usually well laced with alcohol.

In the latter half of the nineteenth century iced tea beverages separated from alcoholic punches, and became a staple of the growing temperance movement. Lemon or Mint leaves were added for flavor.

Even before refrigerators made their way into kitchens, iced tea recipes were found in Southern cook books.

Starting in the 1880’s black tea from Assam, India, or Ceylon, present-day Sir Lanka, was becoming more and more the staple. While these black teas were robust and responded well to sugar, one major reason for the change from green to black, was because this is what the British dominated tea world at this time had to offer.

Even though the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair recorded selling over $2,000 of iced tea and lemonade, the year iced tea went international was on a hot summer day at the 1904 Chicago World’s Fair.

Today roughly 80% of the tea consumed in the United States is enjoyed iced. And nobody has a taste for this sweet liquor more than the Old South.

With Southern Love,


  1. Dear Rachel! I love your blog on the South! As an avid cook, baker, and someone who loves sweet tea, I'm so glad you are capturing what it's like to be a Southern Lady! Even though i'm not a native Southerner, I've been embraced as such by my new friends of the South. Thanks for sharing the brief history of tea, as I've long been a lover of tea, even before I moved to GA. The cookbook selections you've shared will help me to know which one I want to add to my collection now! Thanks so kindly! Again...a very sweet Southern Blog that I will visit often! ;) ~CC Catherine

  2. Hi Rachel! This is your aunt Cathy's friend, Kathleen, in PA...don't know if you remember us visiting with you a few times...most recently we saw you last summer when we met you and the gang in Hagerstown at the Outlets whne you drove up to see your grandma..
    What a lovely blog you've set up! I enjoyed this little snippet of tea history. I didn't know you were in Alabama...sounds like you're enjoying it!
    I'll look forward to more lovely blog posts from you!
    Great job!

  3. Me again...just noticed my url came up with my daughter's...I think...anyway mine is
    stop by and say hi!

  4. What a lovely blog! I will enjoy coming back here and reading all your beautiful posts. Welcome to blog land!
    Hope you have a happy weekend,

  5. Fun reading about sweet tea...definitely my fav on a hot Georgia day out on the porch! susan

  6. I do like iced tea plain... but I do not like hot tea. It would be lovely to sit and sip iced tea in that lovely garden photo in your sidebar.
    ENJOY blogging!

  7. Hello from Canada
    This blog sounds very exciting. We lived in Georgia for one year and truly did enjoy the wonderful Southern Hospitality. I really miss sweet tea, and I really miss corn bread, biscuits, and the gracious Southern Bells that are still my friends. I love your accent. I could listen to that sweet sound for hours.
    Good luck with your site. I will return.
    I'm CC's French friend from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Take care and I look forward to some great Southern Recipes, even fried
    Love Claudie

  8. Hi Rachel!
    I loved reading about the history of southern iced tea. I was born in the south, in fact at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park in Tennessee. I was raised on southern iced tea! What a wonderful and interesting beginning to your blog. I would love to visit you again - I'm sure many more interesting articles will be published in your lovely blog.

  9. This is awesome.I lived in the south all my life and never knew half of this.Thank you.And I never knew some of my relatives may have had booze on there tea....Ann

  10. Hi Rachel, and welcome to blogland!! You're going to be astounded by how many friends you'll make through your blog. Have fun with it. I'll be back!

    Justine :o )

  11. Oh Rachel...iced tea is some good stuff, isn't it? My daddy always said that if a restaurant doesn't have sweet tea, then it must be owned by a Yankee!! lol Have a great weekend...Debbie

  12. I have never been much for iced-tea, but a good cup of hot with lots of milk...yummy!

  13. Absolutely NOTHING quenches a southerner's thirst like iced tea. Thank you for the history lesson!

  14. Well I feel like I done died and gone to Southern heaven with your blog!
    Very nice and I learned a few things.
    Linda Q

  15. Rachel, you need to go to the following link and pick up your award. After all, you are a Georgia blogger now.

  16. I like my iced tea with half lemon. It's the drink made famous by Arnold Palmer (the pro golfer).
    I make my own b/c I'm not consuming sugar. I squeeze a Florida lemon, then add all the juice and enough unsweetened tea to make a 10 oz. glass. Instead of sugar or the fake stuff, I use stevia, a natural herbal sweetener. So delicious and healthy.