Ice Tea Tasting with History, Cocktails and Home-made Recipe – Mixer Companion VIII


Although tea has been drunk for centuries, ice tea or iced tea is thought to have originated in the American South. One of the oldest recorded references to it, an appearance in a South Carolinian cookbook, is from 1795, although the first “modern day” recipe comes from the 1879 book, ‘Housekeeping in Old Virginia’; interestingly, the latter was made with green tea.
Today, ice tea is available throughout the U.S. and across the world, although it seems to continue to enjoy a great following of folks from the Southern States. In the U.K., the biggest brand is Lipton, although Nestle’s Nest-tea is available in some locations.


Lipton Lemon
Quite fresh, this had crisp hints of fresh lemon and then black tea. There’s an obvious dryness from the tannins at the end. Not too sweet and, although it could use a bit more flavour, it was nonetheless rather refreshing.
6, 7 (My Score, Mrs. B’s)
Lipton Peach
Slightly darker than the Lemon variety and with a ripe peach nose. This had a well-rounded, fruity taste; the tea flavours were still there, but weren’t so pronounced. Full flavours, with some dryness at the end, but – overall – refreshing.
8, 9

Pokka Peach
The smell of this one was rather horrid, like stewed tea and slightly overripe fruit; very off-putting.
To taste, this was very different to the Lipton: much sweeter and slightly musky, with some additional floral elements. We found it difficult to taste the tea very much as it was a bit sickly; so much so, that it was difficult to finish the glass.
3, 4

Lipton Mango
This was the darkest of the Lipton teas and was quite fruity, with a strong mango flavour that remind me of mango sorbet. There were some black tea notes, but the tea came across mostly via the tannins at the end. Despite this, it was quite sweet, but easy and pleasant to drink; merely not quite as refreshing as the peach and lemon versions.
7, 8

Pokka Mango
This was another variety with an off-putting smell: hints of rotting cabbage and stale teabags. It was also far, far too sweet, rather cloying, very sickly and, again, the fruit tasted past its best. Finally, there were hints of bitter mint leaves at the end. Not recommended.
4, 2

Lipton Green Tea Lemon
A light yellow-green in colour, this had an intriguing, oyster-like nose with a hint of copper. Clean and crisp, the flavour was distinctly different and made for a nice change. The tea came through well and the lemon gave it a nice lift. A less intense, less sweet variety.
8, 5

Lipton Sparkling Citrus
Initially a tannin and tea muskiness followed by a burst of citrus and a light sweetness. It is fizzy but not too much with gives it quite fresh character and makes it stand out from the crowd. That said toward the end there is something lacking and the flavour seems a bit hollow. 5, 6

The first batch of ice teas that we tasted were all based on unspecified black or green teas, but what if you use a different sort of blend?
Carrefour Earl Grey
This was notably dark in colour and, suitably, was full of dark, floral flavours and rich, bitter tannins. The flavours then moved towards floral citrus and bergamot. Altogether, it was rich, succulent and very tasty. We found it to be exceptionally refreshing, with some intriguing hints of chocolate on the finish. Frankly, superb!
8, 8
Carrefour Darjeeling
This ice tea was very pleasant: not too sweet, nor too bitter. I found it to be reminiscent of home-made varieties. There’s a dryness from the tannins and a touch of citrus. It’s a bit floral, but overall there’s no discernible difference between the Darjeeling and unspecified black tea. Quite fresh and worth trying.
7, 7



Ice tea is one of the easiest and cheapest soft drinks to make at home. You also have a lot of control over the sweetness and taste in general of the final product, making it a good one to try. US President Gerald Ford was rather partial to home-made ice tea.
An easy recipe, basically you’re just making tea and adding sugar and lemon and chilling it.
Add boiling water to a saucepan.
Add One Teabag / 2 Tsp Loose Tea for every 750ml/26oz of Boiling Water
Allow to steep for 10 minutes.
Remove teabags and add sugar and lemon juice to taste (I tend to use about 1tsp of sugar and 20ml Lemon Juice for every 750ml of Ice Tea)
Allow to cool, bottle and chill.


Tea Spike
[30ml White Rum, 10ml Dark Creme De Cacao, 80ml Ice Tea]
Quite pleasant, jammy then some dusky chocolate notes. I think the rum compliments the tea well. Rather an unusual drink but very refreshing with a hint of almond on the finish.
Bengal Tiger
[30ml Cognac, 80ml Ice Tea, 2 Dashes Angostura Bitters]
Rather pleasant but as my Ice Tea is not very sweet I needed to add a dash of sugar syrup to balance the drink. Cool and refreshing it fits in nicely with a lot of the work Cognac producers, such as Courvoisier, are doing to promote the mix-ability of Cognac.
Royal Tea
[30ml Beefeater Gin, 10ml Lemon Juice, 80ml Earl Grey Ice Tea]
Very pleasant, quite orangey which comes from the botanicals of the gin, the bergamot of the earl grey ice tea and the garnish. crisp and very very refreshing, great for a slow summer afternoon. I’m hope Her Majesty would approve.

Southern Kick
[15ml Whiskey, 15ml Southern Comfort, 60ml Ice Tea]


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About DTS

partial to a martini? to a smoke-hazed gin joint & a perfect tipple poured with the style, swank & skill of a true aficionado? …then pull up your stool to the bar, prepare to stock up your cocktail cabinet & get ready to drink it all in as we introduce you to a stitch in times’ resident barman… David T. Smith is a drinks enthusiast currently residing in the U.K. a long-time fan of tasting & exploring various types of alcohol, he has a fascination for vintage spirits and cocktails, in particular their heritage & origins; this was strengthened last year when he presented a talk and accompanying monograph on the Martini. it was as a result of his research of this topic that he was introduced to drinks paraphernalia, & he is now the happy owner of a colourful collection of bottles, books, and gadgets from a wide range of eras… an avid believer in the validity and variety of personal opinion, particularly in the subjective area of tasting, he enjoys hosting tasting sessions for friends, constantly challenging them to find their own favourite tipple. in addition to all of this, he is also interested in economics, three-piece suits, board games & keeping alive the art of engaging in enjoyable conversation with a good glass of port whilst surrounded by pipe smoke… Thanks to Analiebe for writing this rather flattering blurb for me.

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