In Steel Magnolias, Truvy (Dolly Parton’s character) called sweet tea the ‘house wine of the South’ – which of course it is.
My favorite memory of sweet tea comes from my Aunt Helen. She was my PawPaw’s sister, and she was a real character. I remember one time in college, I brought one of my boyfriends over to visit and she started talking about how she had “very cold veins” (you know, varicose veins) and she had no more than finished her sentence than she was standing up with her skirt over her head to show them off.
Those were some very cold veins alright.
She was just that way. It wasn’t done to make anyone uncomfortable or even to be funny. It was just her. I could tell a million Aunt Helen stories.
Now this is my same Aunt Helen that had her good furniture encased in clear plastic – but I grew up thinking she was the pinnacle of good taste. One bathroom had long red plastic beads hanging in the doorway rather than having a real door there (which I read as: “wow she is so sophisticated she doesn’t even have doors to the bathroom!”). They had a formal dining room that was so formal that no one ever ate in there (me: “wow she’s so rich she has a room with furniture that goes unused!”). Aunt Helen’s kitchen had orange formica countertops too (me: “so Brady Bunch! She’s so with-it.”). Even her refrigerator was different from ours – the freezer was on the bottom (me: “fancy-fancy-fancy!”).
Well, getting back to tea, Aunt Helen even served tea differently than everyone else – rather than serving it with sugar, she sweetened it with Tang (so worldly!)!
And it even had a final touch. Aunt Helen wouldn’t serve a glass of tea until she had wrapped a paper towel around the glass.
Anyway, the house wine of the South is now flavoring a vodka. I think I found out about this at Chowhound. Av’s dad was in Nashville a couple of weeks ago and after Av told him that I had heard about the new Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka being released in a few states (Alabama not being one of them), he brought some home. Av says it is really good.
The Charolotte Observer suggests, “we vote for 2 ounces of Firefly over ice in a double rocks glass, topped with lemonade and a drizzle of mint-infused simple syrup.”
I guess that’s another variation on an Arnold Palmer…