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Below the Mason-Dixon Line, Southern Style Sweet Iced Tea Inspires Love, Passion and Poetry

(EMAILWIRE.COM, November 29, 2009 ) Detroit, MI - Since the migration U-Turn of our country’s population from the “rust-belt” to the “sun-belt,” traditions have been taking a beating from entrepreneurs wanting to cash in on great-great grandma’s secret recipes.

When I moved to Boston from South Carolina, I would on occasion go into otherwise-reputable restaurants and order sweet tea, just on principle. Most of the time, the server would give me a confused look and say, "I can bring you sugar with your iced tea..." And then, I would then explain how proper sweet tea is made. Only the servers with patience and manners would listen.

It's drop dead-simple: make tea and put the sugar in while it's hot, then cool and ice it. That's all. Maybe some mint, maybe a bit of lemon.

But some sort of magic happens, and you end up with a pitcher of this beverage about which poems are written, which brings to mind slow lazy sitting-on-the-porch days and gracefully sprawling oak trees, which prompted Georgia legislators in 2003 to try to pass a law mandated any restaurant that served Iced Tea on its menu also had to offer sweet iced tea.

God rested on the seventh day, but early in the morning,
before the sun strained into the Southern sky,
she made sweet tea from scratch. She boiled the water
in a black kettle, put in the orange pekoe bags
and let them stand as the water perked, and then
she did what gods know what to do: she heaped in the Dixie
Crystal sugar while the brew was still warm as the day.
-From "Sweet Tea", by John Lane

Where I come from, southern style sweet Iced Tea is served all year round with every meal. Southerners drink it by the gallons. If you order a glass of tea in a southern establishment, you will receive sweet iced tea. Furthermore, if you are dining in a family owned restaurant, you will more than likely have the pleasure to taste the owner’s family recipe.

In North Carolina southern style sweet tea is called, "the wine of the south." Glasses brimming full can be found in almost every home or restaurant; however, you would have to look long and hard to find a glass of sweet tea a diabetic could drink without worry.

So drink your southern style sweet iced tea knowing you're doing a good thing for your soul as you savor each and every drop.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best, "There is a great deal of poetry and fine sentiment in a chest of tea." I bet he knew how to brew a cup of beautiful sweet tea from that chest!

This article was submitted by Rick McQueen, founder and owner of Grandad’s Sweet Tea located in Detroit, Michigan.

This article was submitted by Rick McQueen, founder and owner of Grandad’s Sweet Tea located in Detroit, Michigan. The recipe for McQeen’s southern style sweet iced tea has been handed down from his grandparents. After years of his family’s enjoyment, McQueen took his kitchen-made product to a brewery in Detroit. Distribution grew from his neighborhood to the Midwest in six months. Offers to distribute Grandad’s Sweet Tea are being considered for Canada, Mexico, Europe and Australia.

Grandad's Sweet Tea
Rick McQueen
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