Well gang, now that the subject of tea has been broached, may I ask about the classic iced tea? No doubt some will cavil abou ice in tea--and my European friends wil be first off the blocks on THIS issue!---but PROPER iced tea is one of God's gifts to a suffering people. Orange Pekoe, a litle lemon and MAYBE a bit of sugar (but not the "sweet tea" one finds in certain areas--may as lief suck a sugar cube fer cryin' out loud!)
Your onslaughts are welcome. Let's educate the world about the benefits of ICE as well as tea!
Who said it had to be non-alcoholic? My favorite drink is gin and iced tea. Discovered when we ran out of tonic at home when I lived with a Southerner.
For years, I ask waiters and waitresses, "Do you have any iced tea?" If they say yes, I confuse them by then saying, "Can you put some gin in it?"
Not to seem heretical or anything, but I do also like it with. eh-hem, iced tea mix. I've tried all brands, even green teas. I prefer 4C. I tried naming the drink a "C4", but it never seems to stick.
Most of my friends drink it unsweetened and add lemon. A few use artificial sweetener. To me the answer to every question of what to drink with (name the food) is invariably iced tea. But then I'm a Texan. Nuff said.
Iced tea is great any way you look at it.
First there is the Strength issue: I feel it needs to be a bit on the strong side to make up for the ice melt. This has to be taken into account. If you're gonna have it on ice then it better be real cold.
On the Sweetening issue: Both sweetened and unsweetened are good. If it is unsweetened you need a tea that is less strong with more natural flavors and less tannic acid such as an uncured green tea. I prefer it slighlty sweet with honey or even a bit of maple syrup, over sugar, but will occasionally use sweet n low as I do have a bit of a sweet tooth and would rather have sugar in a drink than a sweet snack or dessert. After living quite a few years in Georgia and Florida, I find that "Sweet Tea" (pronounced Swee' Tea) has it's place, especially as the drink of choice with BBQ. Huge quart sized glasses constantly refilled and Hoo Yeah... I say Hot Damn to the sugar and 'Q buzz afterwards. Massive endorphins and energy! (Swee' Tea is also great for breakfast on those August scorcher days when it is 90F by 8am and you can't even cool off by swimming in the lake 'cause the muddy water is as hot as the air and you sweat more in the water than you do in the shade.)
As for Fruit: Lemon or other fruits are good with lower quality teas. They cover up excess tannic acid or off flavors as well as contributing on their own. I prefer lime over lemon in most drinks and the same goes for tea. If the fruit is citrus the whole fruit has to be used, i.e., peel and all thrown in not just a squeeze of the juice. That way the citrus oils add to the flavor. Real peach or raspberry can be good.
Commercial iced tea... usually should be relegated to the farther reaches of hell... Lipton and Nestea... Yuch... Snapple, bleah... Arizona and all the others... if it is the only choice, and only because I don't drink soda. (Except root beer which is an off shoot of iced tea.)
Oh Yeah... and it's always spelled Iced Tea not Ice Tea. Hmmm... now I need a glass.
I wonder what it tastes like with preserved lemon or lime. Is there any such thing as Sweet n Salty Iced Tea...? Maybe Vietnamese, Indonesian, or Malaysian? I have a few gallons of preserved lemons and limes that are just about finished pickling.
I like the Peach Ice Tea that they sell in Europe. Nestea was one of my faves. Snapple is horrible in comparison. too frickin sweet. I've found the euro kind in a couple or places. Balducci's is selling Swiss Deliss which is ok. My fave of these kinds in San Benedetto which I spotted at Dom's on Lafayette once. Once! and when I went back they no longer had any!!! anybody like these commercial types?
Tazo Giant Peach Tea is the only fruit flavored tea that is any good. Not too sweet, you can actually taste the tea in it. Swiss Deliss is good too, but being packaged in those boxes ruins the taste, I think.
By the way, most teas are at least tolerable if the water is actually boiling when placed on the teabag, assuming you're not going to get the real stuff. Most times it's barely tepid and the result is totally gruesome.
When I make a pitcher at home, I use 4 to 5 tea bags. Two of them are usually a national brand (Lipton or Tetley) and the rest are a combo of nicer selections: English Breakfast, Earl Grey Etc.
Then I steep them in a bowl with boiling water for quite while.
Then it is off to a pitcher with more spring water to tone it down
No sugar, just a lemon wedge in each glass.