…or How to Make Good Ice Tea.
I did not commit a typing error: The term is ‘ice’ tea, not ‘iced’ tea. In the southern part of the United States, one says, “Would you like a glass of ice tea, honey?” This is known as dialect and a perfectly acceptable way of speaking.
I have often had tussles with copy-editors over the ‘ice’ tea bit, so I switched to an older term: cold tea. Let me give an illustration and shameless bit of self-promotion at the same time. One hot July morning, I received a telephone call from my publisher saying a new title for my then-upcoming book was needed; they wanted me to come up with a fantastic, sure-fire best-selling title, and to do it by the end of the day. I, of course, said, “No problem,” hung up, and panicked. To calm myself down and cool off, I went to make some ice tea.
As I stirred the tea, sugar and ice cubes in my grandmother’s pitcher, I thought: “Ah, nothing better than cold tea on a hot day.” Bingo! My Cold Tea on a Hot Day did become a USA Today bestseller. Who doesn’t like cold tea on a hot day?
Instructions for the best cold tea on a hot summer day:
Water — use filtered or distilled. The water will give the tea the clearest taste and appearance. I have exceptionally pure well water coming through my tap, but for my tea I still use a filtering pitcher.
Teas — The same is true with cold as hot: the best teas produce the best brews. Yorkshire Gold is especially formulated for hard water and gives strong, clear tea. Devonshire Tea is smooth and wonderful cold. I’ve also used loose Ceylon tea, which produces a delicious lazy-afternoon cold tea. (Beware, once you use really good tea, you cannot possibly go back to the cheap, even for cold tea.)
For a one-quart glass pitcher (oh, goodness, I’m realizing how demanding I am because one really must use glass, at least until adding ice): Boil two cups of filtered water and pour over 2 Yorkshire Gold tea bags, or two Devonshire Tea teabags. Steep 3-5 minutes. No, I do not recommend what is called ‘sun brewed’; the tea stays far too long in the water, producing a sharp, acid brew.
Pour the brewed tea into the pitcher with 1/4 cup sugar, or more if you like it really sweet. Add lemon to taste; I like a medium half slice. Stir until sugar is melted. Add cool filtered water and ice cubes to fill the pitcher.
Pour over ice in a tall glass, sit in front of a fan and put your feet up, and open a good book.
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