There is an old Southern saying that I've always loved: "Iced tea is the house wine of the South." In warm weather season, that's certainly true at my home. If it's warm enough to open the windows, then I know it's time for the tea pitcher to take its rightful space on the kitchen counter.
I have two tea pitchers and both have been with me for a while. Both are made of heavy stoneware, which means that they can handle warm or cold liquids. Both pitchers came into my possession nearly 20 years ago, when I was living in Nashville. This one matches the first set of dishes I owned, the Yorktown pattern by Pfalzcraft. My mother has a set of these dishes, so this pitcher reminds me of home.
My second pitcher is blue saltware pottery that is a fixture of Tennessee homes. It's made by Overcast Pottery. It reminds me of Nashville, the city I love best.
I make my iced tea the old-fashioned Southern way. I fill the kettle with cold water and then set it to boil on the stove. While the kettle comes to a boil, I tie three Red Rose brand tea bags together and drop them in the bottom of a clean pitcher.
When the water reaches a fast boil, I fill the pitcher half full and steep the tea for 15 minutes. If I am making sweet tea, I add a half cup of white sugar to the hot water and stir it in to the steeping tea.
After 15 minutes, I remove the tea bags and then fill the pitcher to full with a combination of ice and cold water.
Now that you know the secret, you should make yourself a pitcher of iced tea. But if that's too much trouble for you, just come on over to my house. There's always a fresh glass waiting.