I will never forget my first sweet tea. Sure, we had unsweetened iced tea as kids with a few spoonfuls of sugar mixed in. No matter how much you stirred and stirred, it never quite dissolved. The upside was the huge swig of granulated sugar you scored at the bottom of the glass.
Sweet tea though…. REAL sweet tea, is made with love in the south. I drank my first sweet tea in a farmhouse in Greenville, North Carolina. “Katherine, would you like to have a sweet tea?” It wasn’t a “glass of sweet tea,” it was “a sweet tea.”
“Why yes, I would love one!”
I brought the glass up to my lips and took a sip. Instantly, my mouth was filled with a sweet, syrupy liquid that tasted similar to iced tea, but to the billionth degree.
Had I died and gone to heaven? What was this sweet nectar, surely made exclusively for the gods?
Three glasses later, I found myself in the passenger seat on my way back to the dorm room… crossing my legs, begging for a bathroom and shaking from an extreme southern sweet tea high. Maybe I should have stopped at TWO glasses.
There are secrets to the perfect sweet tea that include simple syrup made from white and brown sugars, as well as a bit of baking soda for smoothness. But that is all I can tell you, for fear they will come to get me.
In our world, you order either “sweet tea” or “unsweetened tea.” If you are in a hurry, you can ask for “unsweet tea.” But that is a bit of a southern faux pas.
That is why I was surprised to find this tea label in our local Chipotle restaurant.
NOT SWEET TEA?!
WHAT THE HECK IS NOT SWEET TEA?! Seriously!!!!
So I ask you. Do you drink “unsweetened tea” or this crazy thing called “Not Sweet Tea.” Help me to understand. Is this like “Happy Holidays,” but for Iced Tea?!
In my sheltered southern world, it is “Sweet Tea” and “Unsweetened Tea.” What is it in yours?