Important announcement

By Mir
June 6, 2008

The children are leaving (again) tomorrow, so today I am all aflurry with laundry and packing and snuggling and cooking (motto: When in doubt, BAKE!). I figure that blogging can wait a day, and even if it can’t, tough.

However, as I was making a fresh pitcher of iced tea, this morning, I couldn’t resist a bit of delight, thinking about telling all of you mintphobics that I just brewed my own concoction of mint tea, with MINT! MIIIIIIINT! from my herb garden. It smells divine.

And I always brew my tea without any sweetener, because I’m a complete sugar fiend and am therefore not allowed to have sugar in my beverages. (This is me, cultivating a taste for the unsweetened, grudgingly.) But, you know, I’m going to be having some guests in the next few days, so I had a brilliant thought.

I checked on the kids and then I went back into the kitchen and made a batch of simple syrup so that if someone wants their tea sweet, they can have it.

So, I’m coming up (in a few weeks) on having lived in Georgia for an entire year (!!), and y’all argued with me when I cooked bacon, and argued with me when I made grits, but this is irrefutable, I’m pretty sure.

I believe having added sugar to water and boiled it in this manner for iced tea makes me OFFICIALLY SOUTHERN.

Just thought you’d like to know.


  1. Anna Marie

    I was born and raised in the South (my Grandmother called the Civil War the “War of Northern Aggression”) and I now use Splenda in my tea as I, too, am a sugar fiend. *sigh*

  2. foodmomiac

    Yum. Love sweet tea. Which is strange for a Jewish girl from Long Island. But I do! (Have you tasted the sweet tea at McD’s? It’s terrible.)

  3. A fellow southern transplant

    I also think that using the word “y’all” in a blog post counts as evidence. :) Now the real question is, how many syllables does “syrup” have, and does “sugar” end in an R or an H? :)

  4. Brian

    I married a southern girl from Tennessee and I now claim the south. Having made the simple syrup, you are well on your way to being southern. However, to truly cross the Mason-Dixon line, you have to make real southern sweet tea. Add two to three tea bags to your simple syrup while it boils. Once it has sufficiently steeped, dilute the syrup with water until you have a full pitcher and then you have true southern sweet tea.

  5. All Adither

    I like my tea with no sweet. I guess I’m a yank.

  6. Leandra

    The truly important thing is that you spelled y’all correctly. Yep, we’re about to make you one of us. Hope you can stand it! :)

  7. Megan

    My kids loooooove mint tea and make it whenever possible using the chocolate mint that has overrun my parents’ yard. They are all sugar fiends and are not allowed to use it in their tea BUT they are allowed to use Torrani’s sugar-free syrup (chocolate flavored) and I try not to oversee the actual amount in each cup. Is difficult.

  8. Astrogirl426

    Being a Northerner born and bred, I can’t speak to the authenticity of your sweet tea. All I know is the hubs also makes brewed iced tea (he uses a stainless steel kettle, boils the tea right in the kettle – 4 tea bags to about a half gallon of water – and lets it cool), and he doesn’t sweeten it at all.

    Me, I’m a freak – I won’t drink anything except the fake powdered stuff (shut up ;). I’m a bit of a sugar fiend, but I don’t drink any other sugared drinks or caffeinated drinks, so I get to go to town during the summer. Yum!

    ROFL about the mint – THE MIIIIINT!! Oh the HORROR!. lol My own garden is still coming along nicely, except I still have to get some tomato plants and put them in the garden. But (knock wood) the woodchuck I saw in our yard the other day has not yet discovered the garden. I may turn Southern myself if he does, and get my husband’s 12-gauge and visit some whupass on him lol.

  9. RuthWells

    Now that you’ve crossed over to the simple syrup dark side, the next step is to pour the hot syrup over about 1 cup of fresh mint leaves and let it steep for about 24 hours. The resulting mint syrup is perfect for mojitos, juleps, tea… you name it!
    And it keeps in the fridge forever.

  10. Amy

    Southern here–and while we eliminated sweet tea from our house here, I still love it. I was raised on it! My mom (and therefore I did as well) bolied the tea bags, water, and sugar all together. She let it boil a few minutes, and then left it on the stove to seep for a while. Then she “poured it up” as she called it–which meant pouring it in the pitcher and stirring in enaough water to make a complete gallon. Good stuff.

  11. Jill

    Yay for sweet tea, and now I need to go make some. We have mint everywhere down by the creek. Sadly, I’ve gotten out of the habit of making tea, because my husband doesn’t much like it, and my kids are noncommittal on the subject. I think The Powers That Be may take away my membership card or something.

    But, Astrogirl426, I think the technical term is “open up a can o’ whoopass on him”. Being a born and bred southerner but not a redneck (a fine distinction), I think I’ve got that right.


  12. Undomestic Diva

    My BFF moved to Georgia 3 yrs ago and has officially become a transplant… ordering her own chickens to lay eggs, somethin’ about sweet tea… Out here in So. Cal, the only tea brewin’ is done by a barista. Sigh.

  13. carolie

    Hee hee hee…I welcome you gladly to the Southern Sisterhood, but I am not sure my grandmother would’ve done so.

    A yankee aunt (who married into the family, of course) brightly said, after giving birth to her first AND naming said child with three last names, “well, I think this finally means I’m southern!” My grandmother smiled sweetly and said “Oh no, honey. I don’t think so. If the cat had kittens in the oven, we certainly wouldn’t call them biscuits now, would we?”

    (My other grandmother was as yankee as they come, and I don’t think she was ever quite convinced that my southern grandmother knew how to read…so I got it from both sides!)

  14. Amy-Go

    Sweet Tea = House Wine of the South.

    Can’t wait to come home and have some…

  15. Taylor

    Not yet, Mir! No self respectin’ southerner would even deign to add sweetener to their ALREADY iced tea. It needs to pour out of the pitcher sweet. THAT’S THE RULE!

  16. jennielynn

    Mmmmmm, sweet tea. I’m seriously considering flying to Georgia to raid your mint, since my dog destroyed my herb garden. (Yes, I’m still extrememly bitter, thanks for asking.)Have you ever said “Bless his/her heart” after slamming someone? Maybe that’s just the GRITs. I think you are officially Southern now.

  17. Teresa

    Carolie, your comment made me laugh out loud. I am loving our Southern grandma.

    I am Southern, born and bred. While I worked hard for YEARS to lose my accent (and was quite successful – one of the few things I accomplished), I miss the South! AND MY ACCENT! I think I have learned not to curse the things I was born with. Just live with them. That includes crazy family members!

    I just want to say, my heart breaks a little that Chickadee and Monkey are leaving!

    (((HUGS to YOU)))

  18. tssturgill

    GRITS = Girls Raised In The South

  19. Stacy

    Now I need to make some tea, sweet of course. I like to feel the sugar grit on my teeth. Healthy!

  20. Bob

    sorry, hon. you aren’t southern until you sweeten your tea while making it. making syrup to add to unsweetened tea – well, I had to go to bahrain to find people who did that.

    the NORTHERN end of the island, at that.

  21. Mom24

    We went to Savannah last year, and now I am a sweet tea addict. Mmmmm. I’ve never added that evil week mint though. I’ll have to give it a try. Not that I planted any though…no, I wouldn’t dare plant any. I’ll be thinking of you while they’re gone.

  22. Jamie AZ

    Yeah, Mir! I ate at a “southern food” restaurant in Portland a couple weeks ago and based on reviews I read, I ordered the Praline Bacon as a side. Oh.My.Gosh! Now I’m trying to make it at home – YUM! (And yes, it was a southern food restaraunt in Portland, OR, owned by a couple from New Orleans.)

    Hugs to you Mir on the kiddos taking off again tomorrow. Maybe on the way home from the airport you could give yourself a little “pick me up” stop at Costco. ;)

  23. Karin

    I was just talking about this the other day (sweet tea I mean). My mom was from Texas and my dad’s parents were from Texas, and though we never called it “sweet” tea, iced tea was always sweet in my world. I didn’t even know there were people in the world who didn’t drink iced tea sweet until the other day and I’m well over 29. *cough* Go figure.

  24. tiffany

    My hubby is from SC(im a darn yankee) and when we moved to Tx last yr he is having a HARD time finding anywhere down here that serves sweet tea. He can’t wait until we get to the sc beach to have him some sweet tea!
    my sweet tea ive made him just doesnt taste right im told. oh well i dont drink the stuff and my kids dont either.

  25. tuney

    One word: stevia. It’s a plant extract sweetener, no calories, no carbs, and does a much better job of imitating the sugar experience than any other stuff I’ve found, including Splenda. It’s a crapload better than unsweetened, at any rate. Ack. The HORROR…

    I was raised on a sugar/saccharine mix, and when I went to college and figured out how good sugar was alone, I never went back. Well, not until I realized I was getting half my calories from sweet tea. AHEM.

  26. Heather

    Sigh….All this talk about sweet tea is KILLING ME! I am from Bama (born and raised) and I think I have been drinking sweet tea my whole life (it is a substance to survive here!) but right now I am pregnant and have gestational diabeties so I am BANNED from sweet tea. I REFUSE to drink unsweet tea or any type of artificial sweeteners that stuff is for yankees.

  27. Jennifer (Wilson-six)

    I make sweet tea at least three times a week. I was born and raised in Alabama but to Vermont/New Hampshire parents. I had to learn how to cook Southern from my friends Mom.

    I have learned the easiest and quickest way to make sweet tea. It tastes great and is quick, quick, quick.

    Get your coffee pot out (We don’t drink coffee so I call this my Tea Pot)

    Add two family size bags of Louisiane Tea (especially blended for sweet tea) Pour your water in and start your coffee pot.

    I then add two cups of sugar into my Gal Pitcher. When the tea is done pour it on top of the sugar. This will totally dissolve your sugar. Fill the pitcher with cold water to the top and you are done.

    Put it in the fridge and watch it disapear. I have started using less sugar since the kids are home from school and I don’t want them pinging off the walls. You can also get the decaf bags if you want that!

  28. Pave.Gurl

    I’m always amazed that anyone wants to claim to have become Southern. Don’t y’all know that is the road to becoming instantly rendered a bubblin’ idiot?

    I mean, everyone knows you can’t find a decent bagel down here, and we all talk like rednecks :P

    I am proud of you, though: You may have to have your tea all wrong ‘n broken, but I’m with Leandra: At least you unnerstan’ how ‘postrophes work in the word “y’all.” I get irate when I see it “ya’ll.” I mean, that doesn’t even make SENSE, y’all!

    You’ll never be fully Southern, ‘cos I am pretty sure that goes along with bloodlines (like dogs!), but we won’t complain about you bein’ a damn Yankee, either. ;P I mean, you’re pretty cool ‘n all.

  29. Sheila aka Manic Mom

    Boy, how I used to love me sum sweeeet tea! I was Born & raised all over the south. Hell they even showed us how to make sweet tea in large, clean pickle jars in Home Economics. Now after living in CA for 8 years I can’t touch the stuff. This sweet tea thing has promted my Blog entry today! Thanks Mir, come check it out!

  30. carolyn

    I’m southern born and bred, and when I was in my 20’s I became engaged to a nice boy from Connecticut (my grandma called him a yankee). I went to visit his family, and we went out to dinner. Silly southern girl, I ordered tea as my beverage, and got (you may have already guessed) a small pitcher of hot tea and a mug. I was surprised, because where I come from, “tea” means sweet iced tea. That was when I learned that the south was not the center of the United States, as I had previously been led to believe.

  31. julie

    yum! I’m fixin’ to make some sun tea this weekend (fixin’ to–another southern quirk we brought north with us in the move) and have been eyeing my mint. Now I have no choice. :)

    Now, a question….the chocolate mint. I came across some at the farmer’s market and couldn’t resist and so I have healthy little chocolate mint bush going. But I have no real idea what to do with it! My mint uses are limited to teas, lemony alcohol drinks, and a few ethnic dishes all of which would not suit the chocolate. When I try to google “chocolate mint” recipes I get a million and four recipes which use both chocolate AND mint, but so far no chocolate mint. Do you have any ideas?

    Thanks, and safe travels to the kids!

  32. Deb

    You’re well on your way and we’d be proud to crown you as the newest Kudzu Queen…you’re great!

  33. celticbuffy

    I lived in a southern state for 4 years and never adjusted to the concept of “swate tay” (that’s what it sounds like with an Okie accent). Give me my plain old sun-tea with some mint or lemon and I’m good to go! I did, however, give in and make the sweetened version for Mr. Ex and his pals.

  34. Pamela L

    You are a semi-true Southerner but, since it’s not your fault you can’t have sugar, Welcome. I do agree with the many others who have said that you must brew the sugar into the tea or it’s not real. I am a proud Southerner who brews 2-3 pitchers a week. I cannot go a single day without a cold glass or sweet tea. It’s not the same with anything other than sugar.

    Love to you and the kids as they leave again. You are a beautiful person. Thank you for sharing with us.

  35. Pattie

    I quickly skimmed the comments, but didn’t see the ultimate question…Which tea bags do you use? As far as I’m concerned, the only choice is Tedley. When I lived out west, I had it shipped over. I

  36. mommytherobot

    isn’t to be a true Southerner everything needs to be fried and saccharine? so fry up your mint leaves and down it in brown sugar! haha sounds delish tho

  37. Lori

    I’m lifetime Southern and my Grandma taught me to put 2 cups of sugar in a gallon of tea. I kid you not. And it is soooooooo good! And don’t forget your slices of lemon!

  38. jen

    Hmmm….methinks the mint hasn’t gotten its attitude yet. Mint is like a young girl. Once you think everything’s going to be ok, BAM! PMS hits and everyone ducks for cover. ;) The mint will scare you later this summer. Start searching for mojito recipes. Yum.
    And I sweeten my tea very lightly. But it’s decaf tea. :(

  39. Jenny

    I’m a sugar fiend, too, so I now order the unsweetened (or “unsweet”) tea and add the Splenda. And I die a little inside each time I do it.

    I have to agree that what you’re making is sweetened tea. I think it doesn’t count as “sweet tea” unless you boil the tea bags along with an ass-ton of sugar and let it steep that way.

    And now “tea” looks funny. TEA TEA TEA. See?

  40. SoMo

    Sorry, you missed again. No self respecting Southern Belle would have made unsweetened tea in the first place. Although, I will give you credit for making the simple syrup.
    But we all still love you, anyway. :)

  41. Jill

    What’s disturbing me lately is that in restaurants when I order tea, they ask me if I want “sweet” or “unsweet”.

    Why is that even a question? Tea. Is. Always. Sweet.

    I mean, I understand when I go to Ohio or Illinois or points further north that sweet tea wouldn’t be as common, and that question would be relevant. But in Kentucky? What is the world coming to?

  42. merlotmom

    I’m a yankee, tried and true and I like my tea unsweetened but I am a sugar freak elsewhere. I’ve discovered agave as a natural sweetener and it is delish.

  43. Suzanne - The Farmer's Wife

    Although my entire family is from the south, true southern sweet tea just makes my teeth rattle it’s so sweet. I was blown away when I drove down to central Illinois to discover the local McDonald’s was offering sweet tea!!!

    The best tea we ever had was on the island of St. Croix. It was a tiny hole-in-the-wall local restaurant and I begged the owner for the secret. They use brown sugar to sweeten the tea and serve it with a wedge of lime. It was so delicious. Since I am diabetic I can only have it on special occasions. Try it and see what you think.

    – Suzanne, the Farmer’s Wife

  44. Erin

    Yep, you’re truly on your way! I make simple syrup all the time!

  45. Mother of Two

    I have lived in Texas my entire life (30+ years) and have NEVER heard of “simple syrup”. What is it????

    I make sweet tea every single day. I grew up on it and love it. I have never heard of boiling the sugar in the water with the tea bags…Might have to try that.

    The way I do it is:
    I boil water; in tea pitcher I eyeball the amount of sugar I want and then fill mostly with water.. when water on stove starts boiling, I dunk tea bags (I use Lipton family size – Patti) a few times, then throw them totally in to steep, and turn off burner. After 5 minutes or so I add to tea pitcher and stir… then refrigerate covered… there is nothing worse than tea that has been left uncovered… yuck!

    Also….If and when I spell you all together… it is always ya’ll… not y’all. I think saying you all sounds northern… not southern… sorry girls! To be fair, I generally try not to say it at all… I try to use better grammar. =)
    I hope you have a good weekend kid free… You can use the time to thank Otto for yesterday. ;)

  46. Daisy

    I can’t speak southern, rather, I’ll talk to youse in fluent Yooper. However, we use our wildly-growing mint as a garnish and we’ve grilled salmon with it, too. Mmm. Now I just need a beer, der-hey.

  47. The Other Other Dawn

    Mint tea. Ugh. Mint burns my stomach. Yes. I know that’s not normal. Quite the opposite of normal. Mint is supposed to soothe your stomach.

    But sugar? Mmmmm….

    Congrats on the almost one year anniversary of the move. Knew you’d settle in. :)

  48. Flea

    My husband, who’s originally from CT, has fallen madly in love with sweet tea. Me? From Louisiana? Can’t stand tea in any form. You enjoy it for me, m’kay?

  49. Mandee

    You’re getting close, Mir, that’s for sure. As you can see, every cook has his/her own way of making sweet tea. My grandmother and mother disagree over which brand is best and have each gone through several automatic iced tea makers. I’m a big fan of the lemon and mint leaves in my sweet tea. My great aunt has a beautiful cut crystal bowl and always artfully arranges them in the beautiful bowl. Makes the tea a treat for all senses.

    Sending traveling mercies to the kids and hope that the time flies while they are gone.

  50. Cele

    Oh mi gosh that’s how you make sweet tea??? That’s how I start my Kahlua…plus two inches of vanilla.

  51. InterstellarLass

    I guess being a Texan makes you ‘different’ from being Southern. That or I got my grandmother’s Yankee blood (NH). But I cannot drink sweet tea. Plain iced tea, preferably sun tea, and very cold with lots of ice. But I’m glad you’re making the transition so well!

  52. Tootsie Farklepants

    Bacon, grits, and sweet tea are all on my list for my last meal.

  53. becky

    I grew up with sweet tea. We just boiled the tea, then added the sugar to the hot mix before adding enough water to make a gallon. You don’t always have to steep it with the sugar or use simple syrup.

    But I also drink it unsweetened. I don’t think that makes me a yankee. ;)

  54. Colleen

    Now take that simple sugar, that mint, some light rum and some lime juice and fix yourself up a mojito.

  55. Catherine

    I am a southern California Girl born and raised, I lived in Missouri for almost ten years and I LOVE sweet tea. I was so happy to see that McDonalds started serving sweet tea. I also went to QT(Gas station) and found out that they have it too. Gawsh I am happy as can be about that as well.

  56. Jodi

    I’m thinking about having a portacath implanted just so I can get my tea in faster every morning.

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