It doesn't matter how long I live in Arkansas—I'll never understand sweet tea. One time, I took a sip by mistake and spit it out the window on I-40. Cool story, right?
Here's what I had to say about the stuff in the latest issue of Arkansas Life:
Just picture it: a warm Southern evening. You bring your plate out to the porch to enjoy the breeze. As you tuck into a dish of ham and greens, you remember that you brought something to wash it all down. You rest your fork gently on the edge of the plate and pick up your Snickers bar for a bite, savoring the sweetness.
Absurd, right? Not exactly. If you’re enjoying your supper with a small sweet tea from, say, McDonald’s, you’re consuming just as much of the sweet stuff as you would with that candy bar. More, actually. A regular Snickers bar includes 27 grams of sugar. That small beverage from McD’s has 36 grams, according to its website.
“But I make mine differently!” you may protest. No, you don’t. If I’ve learned anything from sweet-tea evangelists, it’s that there is no such thing as “too sweet.”
The saccharine sipper can leave you dizzy, tasting more like Kool-Aid than tea. The mind reels at the idea that the syrup-laced concoction is considered an acceptable meal pairing.
Give me unsweetened tea—tangy and palette-cleansing—or give me unquenched thirst! I’m drinking iced tea because I actually like tea, not because I need a sudden blood-sugar boost.
Unsweetened tea, with lemon or without, provides the same crisp-bitter contrast to rich dishes that you get with a good IPA or a glass of white wine. Basically, unsweet tea is classy as hell.
For the rest of this story, a denfense of sweet tea and a dozen more tips on how to spend a summer in Arkansas, check out the June issue of Arkansas Life.