Early references to Ice Tea dealt with its immense popularity in Russia in the 1840s; and by 1860 it appeared in American books. The Russian influence was noted in recipes labeled Russian Tea or Tea a la Russe.
A northern cookbook contained the first recipe in a cookbook to brew sugar with the hot water – sweet tea – before the usually cited Old Virginia cookbook of 1877. Another early sweet tea appeared in a medical recipe. ...
What is generally given as the first sweet tea, is actually an iced tea with the
sugar added when consumed, in Housekeeping in Old Virginia, by Tyree, 1877. This is even later than a similar recipe in 1875 titled 'Iced Tea a la Russe' (recipe below). Thus is NOT the first cookbook with Sweet Tea or Iced Tea, as stated many places on the internet.
The earliest reference to “ice tea” found thus far deals with the Russians drinking immense quantities of “ice-tea” in 1842, and the same author noted it in another book ten years later… as “iced tea.” “Russian Iced Tea” and “Iced Tea a la Russe” recipes appeared later in Fannie Farmer, Aunt Babette, Boston Cook Book and other cookbooks.
But of the multitude, methinks,
The best is iced tea. …
‘Twil show a broth of creamy froth,
Other newspaper reports on the best way to prepare ice tea also mentioned shaking up the tea to cause foam (froth, bead), “…and your neighbor will think you are drinking beer. But the bead won’t make it taste any better.” [Daily Inter Ocean, 1887]
Aunt Babette’s Cook Book. Cincinnati: Block Pub., 1889 p465
Chambers's Encyclopaedia. Phila: Lippincott & Co 1872-73.
Dewees, Wm. Treatise on the diseases of females. Phila: Blanchard, 1854. 10th
Frank Leslie’s Popular Monthly. June1884 p645
Kohl, JG. Panorama of St. Petersburg. London: 1852
Kohl, Johann Georg. Russia and the Russians, in 1842. London: 1842. p.42
Raub, Albert. Helps in the Use of Good English. Phila: 1897 p 248
Robinson, Solon. How to Live. NY: Fowler & Wells, 1860. p 157
Terhune, Mary. Breakfast, Luncheon, and Tea by Marion Harland. New York: 1875 p361Timbs, John. The Year-book of Facts in Science and Art. London: 1869 p159
Tyree, Marion. Housekeeping in Old Virginia. 1877
Wilcox, Estelle. Buckeye Cookery. Minn: 1876
Boston Daily Advertiser (Ma) June 28, 1888 p4
Daily Picayune (New Orleans) Aug 7, 1897 p7
Macon Telegraph (Ga.) Aug 1, 1896 p5
Milwaukee Sentinel (Wi) Aug 22, 1886 – from: Albany Evening Journal
©2013 Patricia Bixler Reber