...is how Dolly Parton’s character in “Steel Magnolias” describes sweet tea. But sweet tea has been growing in popularity lately north of the Mason-Dixon line. McDonald’s now offers the drink at 78 percent of its locations in the United States. The latest company to jump on the sweet tea bandwagon is the Firefly Distillery, located on Wadmalaw Island, thirty miles south of Charleston, South Carolina. In April of 2008 the company produced a sweet tea vodka. The micro-distillery produced small batches of sweet tea vodka that found an immediate audience throughout the state. Southerners, genetically destined to love sweet tea, were bound to fall head-over-heels for the vodka. The vodka tastes exactly like mildly sweetened Lipton iced tea, steeped lightly, with a splash of lemon. Despite the name, the vodka isn't exactly sweet. It's not saturated in sugar. It’s the tea flavor that comes through the strongest. The vodka is made with tea grown just five miles from the company's distillery. If you like your sweet tea sugary enough to make your teeth ache, then I suggest adding a splash of simple syrup. “It is such a simple idea, so plainly obvious that many Southerners can’t believe they didn’t think of it first. Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka, tastes almost exactly like the beloved sweet tea poured at generations of Southern family reunions, church meetings and picnics," stated Robbie Brown in his article for the New York times in February.
March marks the first time that Firefly will distribute its product to all 50 states. The purist way to ingest sweet tea vodka is to combine equal parts vodka and water on the rocks, then add a lemon wedge. A cocktail that's just booze and water? With this you'll never worry about running out of mixers.
Here's a few more cocktail recipes.
The Sweet Thing
2 oz Firefly Sweet Tea vodka
3 oz sparkling lemon drink (like San Pellegrino Limonata)
1/2 oz honey
Directions: Fill a glass with ice and pour the vodka and lemon into it then drizzle in the honey. Garnish with a lemon wedge or honey stick.
1 part lemonade
1 lemon wedge