We say “ice’ tea,” and we drink it by the gallon. In local barbecue houses and cafeterias, where you find some inklings of Lowcountry food, pitchers of iced tea are placed on the tables. On Wadmalaw Island, just south of Charleston, tea is cultivated; it is the only tea grown in America. In 1773 Charleston shared sentiments with Boston over the Tea Act; with strong allegiance to the Crown, however, Charlestonians would eventually allow the tea (stored in the basement of the Exchange Building) into their homes. Eighteenth-century visitors to the city remarked on its ridiculous British airs; it does seem ludicrous that they wore heavy woolens and drank hot tea in the steamy subtropical afternoons. If that British ritual has disappeared, it is perhaps for the better; better still that we now ice our tea.
To make a pitcher of southern iced tea, use only orange pekoe tea, either in tea bags or loose—1 bag or
To make “sun tea,” fill a clear glass gallon container with cold water and add 6 or 8 tea bags or
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