Clink. Sip. Aah. On a hot summer’s day, the pleasure of sipping a cool glass of iced tea is incomparable.
Who knew such a simple drink could deliver such sweet satisfaction?
In honor of National Iced Tea Month this June, we’re taking a closer look at this sweet staple of the summertime—as well as a few of our favorite ways to enjoy it, at home or right here at your next Peach Valley outing! Just read on to learn more.
For a slice of American history in a glass, opt for the iced tea…
We’ve long associated iced tea with Southern cuisine, and for good reason. Not only does the drink feel right at home alongside favorites like fried chicken and potato salad, but it actually stems from South Carolina which, by the late 18th century, was the only colony actually growing tea—a carryover from England’s collective palate.
The crop wasn’t just convenient, though. It was a mark of America’s newfound independence, too, having been purchased from Asia directly after the Revolution. Remember—the colonists may have tossed hundreds of chests of tea during the Boston Tea Party, but that doesn’t mean they loved its flavor any less! From the beginning, this Southern crop was enjoyed using harvested ice from the winter—a lux commodity—and served spiked.
An icy innovation
And thus it continued, though non-alcoholic iterations probably became popular with time. The first formal recipe for a family-friendly tea came on the scene in 1879, in a cookbook that called for steeped tea (green, in this case), served in goblets with ice, granulated sugar and, of course, a lemon on top. If it sounds familiar, that’s because it is! We follow the same basic recipe to this day. Of course, it took another few decades for iced tea to really “wow” the world stage, thanks to its introduction at the 1904 World Fair by Richard Blechynden, who decided guests might like to cool down with an iced version of his tea. Needless to say, it caught on!
Today, thanks to modern refrigeration, there’s no need to harvest ice or search very far for ways to cool down your tea. Iced tea is as ubiquitous in Southern kitchens and picnics as biscuits, fried chicken and potato salad. But they don’t call it “house wine of the South” for nothing—just like your favorite reds and whites, iced tea can be paired with your food for a truly complementary meal. As a rule of thumb, you don’t want your tea and your main course to “fight” for attention, so try pairing stronger or sweeter variants with light, mild flavors that let the tea stand out. Fortunately, for those who want to try a bit of everything on the table, the standard sweet iced tea (like the kind you’ll find here at Peach Valley) is grounded with a versatile flavor that is not overpowering. It satisfies without trying to be the star of the show, making it a ready-made pairing for everything from breakfast wraps to heartier entrees.
And finally, if you’re spending time outdoors this summer—at the beach, pool or a picnic at the park—and want to preserve the flavor of your iced tea, here’s a simple tip: Try freezing tea itself the night before in an ice cube tray, then use it to cool down your iced tea the next day! As it melts, you’ll get more flavor—not less—and can even use this method to create flavorful fusions, like putting raspberry tea cubes in your traditional go-to blend.
Of course, the simple pleasure of a good iced tea isn’t meant to be read about. Come down to Peach Valley Café to enjoy one of your own, the perfect complement to a sunny summer day. We look forward to seeing you soon!