Sweet tea (not iced tea) is a very important part of a Southerner’s life.  Every Southern woman knows how to make it and every Southern family keeps a constant supply of it in their refrigerator.  Developing a sweet tea habit is a step in the right direction to integrating yourself into Southern culture.  

Southerners believe that their sweet tea should be served with lots of ice, preferably an entire glass full.  The type of ice used (square cubes v. crushed) is usually inconsequential as long as there is lots of it.  If you make the mistake of serving a Southerner sweet tea without any ice, be prepared for them to kindly ask for some while they silently lose a little respect for you.


Southerners also like to talk about their sweet tea and believe they are the authority on what good sweet tea should taste like.  After taking a drink of it at a restaurant, they immediately know if it is a good batch or not.  9 times out of 10, everyone at the table will agree that it is not as good as the tea they drink at home.  A short discussion will follow about what needs to be done to make it better, and the requisite Sweet n’ Low will be added (or for the rare healthy Southerner, Splenda).  This is a good opportunity for you to assimilate into Southern conversation. Comments like “too sweet” or “needs sugar” will suffice. 

It is important to note that Southerners prefer their sweet tea to be homemade; they believe that any other type is not real.  However, they are not above drinking a reputable store-bought substitute if absolutely necessary. 


Additionally, the South’s affliction with sweet tea does not necessarily carry over to green tea or herbal tea.  These types of teas are known to be tolerated but Southerners have always been wary of them because they seem a little too Asian.  

note:  Southern sweet tea can and should be complemented with lemons but they are not required.