Located in the heart of country music, Tennessee, favoured for it honky-tonks, yet one thing visitors are often surprised by is the southerners infatuation with tea, not any tea sweet tea. With fruit being a regional speciality, home kitchens and restaurants throughout the state serve pineapple and orange juices, lemonade and limeade made with sweet tea and the hot favourites is fruit tea.
Right Up Tea-lovers Alley
Alley Cat tea is made with filtered water, oranges, cane sugar, pineapples and black tea. The tea contains no artificial flavours and 48% of it is juice. It is also available at most stores in the natural foods section throughout Tennessee as well as in major retailers in Virginia, Illinois, Mississippi, Indiana, Georgia and Kentucky.
Tennessee is as famed for its delicious fruit teas as what Nashville is for its super-hot chicken. The beauty of the locally produced tea is that it can be enjoyed hot as a spicy tea or served cold, while it is also used more often than not as a marinade for pork or chicken, tea is as versatile as your creativity allows. 2016 was a big year for tea lovers in Tennessee as Alley Cat added a brand new flavour to its range called Southern Mint tea. The tea offers a subtle hint of mint and was created especially for the people in the South known for liking a fresh sprig of mint to their favourite refreshment.
Tea-rrific Southern Fruity Ice Tea Recipe:
4 iced tea bags, either Luzianne or Lipton
2 quarts water
½ a cup of honey or sugar
1 can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
2 mini cans pineapple juice 12 ounces
Boil the water, allow tea bags too steep for at least 15 minutes, remove and discard tea bags, add more honey or sugar, stir well. Leave to cool and then add the brewed tea into a pitcher of at least gallon size, add juice concentrates, add the pineapple juice as well as lots of ice. Another enjoyable recipe is the Kinky Kitty Cocktail, which requires 5 parts of Alley Cat tea, 1 part clear rum and 1 part coconut rum, although it is more suited for weekends. Once the ingredients are mixed well, the kinky kitty cocktail is served over ice and garnished with fresh fruit.
Tea Drinking at Southern Restaurants
Most restaurants in Tennessee serve fruit tea including the Loveless Café, Star Bagel, Baja Burrito and American Grill. A ginger ale taste is added to the fruit tea in Brentwood, at the Puffy Muffin bakery the ginger teas offering a surprising flavour twist has been served for more than thirty years and can be ordered sweet or unsweetened. The difference between the sweet tea served in Tennessee and that in Brentwood is that the ginger tea is not made with pineapple, although it also contains limeade and orange juice.
In Columbia fruit tea is a local favourite and served at most restaurants since 2003. The thirst-quenching drink is perfect for summer or winter, while sweet tea is not only an adult treat but loved by children as well.