Iced Tea

I cannot think of a cafe, diner, restaurant, or hotel that I have visited in the US that does not offer Iced Tea. The drink is as common as the beverage that is associated with America; Coca-Cola. It may be even more widespread, as those enclaves of Pepsi also supply it. Usually it comes not from the fountains that serve fizzy drinks, but brewed in an urn or jug on the premises. In either event it is almost always available as a bottomless drink; the server refilling your glass without further charge.

In the UK you might get icy looks for asking for tea that is not hot, but the chance of finding iced tea is slight. When I have seen the drink on offer, it is bottled or canned. These tend to be expensive relative to other soft drinks and in common with British custom do not include free refills or enough ice to keep the drink cold.

I occasionally drink iced-tea, but more frequently mix it with lemonade. This is called an Arnold Palmer, after the golfer. The name is widely known and I can it order it without further explanation – most of the time. I was once asked for my ID, which suggested that the waitress assumed it was a cocktail and that I looked under 21 – not smart and with poor eyesight.

My wife drinks iced-tea at almost every place we visit. She adds sweetener; sugar will not dissolve effectively in cold water, so you have to use some type of artificial sweetener. If I drink it neat, I prefer not to add anything to sweeten it.

What surprises me is that in the Southern states iced-tea is served ready sweetened. This not only fails to suit my taste, as I want it as it comes, but even those who add sweetener are put out. Southern Iced Tea is very, very sweet; it makes Coke seem downright savory. Given that one can always add sweetness to taste, but cannot remove it, this way of serving it seems strange. The only plausible reason is that as you make the tea hot, you can dissolve real sugar during the brewing.

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Published in: on 15 May, 2012 at 16:49  Leave a Comment  

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