Serving Hot Tea Southern Style
Serving tea is the essence of Southern hospitality, and while we love our iced tea, we also cherish the tradition of catching up over a nice pot of hot tea. Whether you’re serving black tea or green and herbal blends such as the Luzianne® Southern Blends collection of Mint & Rose Blossom, Honeyed Peach, and Watermelon & Honey teas, it’s an invitation to slow down, savor the moment, and connect with friends and family. So how do we sweeten up such an occasion? Just serve the sips, sweeteners and garnishes that make your Southern soul sing.
Calling all local honeys…
Southerners love their honey, which is why our Honeyed Peach and Watermelon & Honey teas, though not sweet, are kissed with just a hint of honey essence – with plenty of room for sweetening them with honey from your local farmer’s market (or grocery store) if you like. Infusing tea with a locally produced Southern honey, from wildflower to orange blossom, creates a personal tea-drinking experience to enjoy daily. Beyond honey, here’s a sweet list of more hot-tea favorites:
- Cane Sugar: It’s a Southern classic. Sugar cane is grown in the South, and the sugar produced from it is a favorite for iced sweet tea, of course, and also for sweetening up a nice cup of hot tea.
- Brown Sugar: From dark brown sugar rich with molasses to a light brown turbinado, you can pick and choose your brown sugars. All of them have a slightly nutty, caramel-like taste and a yummy molasses-like fragrance.
- Flavored Sugar Cubes: They’re easily made ahead of time with some cane sugar and a flavor source like vanilla bean pods, zested orange or lemon peel, or food-grade lavender or rose petals. Here’s an easy recipe for Orange Scented Sugar Cubes: Combine 1/2 cup superfine sugar, 1 teaspoon orange juice, and 1/2 teaspoon orange zest in a bowl and mix well. Using a spoon, pack sugar into silicon molds. Let stand at room temperature in a cool, dry place for at least 8 hours, then remove from molds. Store in a resealable container for up to 3 months.
- Flavored Syrups: A make-ahead sweetener that can showcase classic Southern flavors like pecan, peach or strawberry. Try our Spiced Peach Syrup recipe, perfect in Southern Blends Honeyed Peach Tea or as a cocktail or tea punch mixer.
- Alternative Sweeteners: Someone on the guest list is bound to be looking for agave syrup (a vegan honey alternative) or low-carb sweeteners including stevia, monk fruit, coconut sugar and old standbys like Equal® and Splenda®.
Get creative with garnishes.
With all the distinctive flavors the South is known for, it stands to reason that we’d serve creative tea garnishes that will inspire our guests’ taste buds – and their Southern pride. From fresh-picked peaches, oranges, limes or lemons to fresh mint leaves harvested from a back porch herb garden, serve up the bounty of the South:
- Local edible flowers: For a touch of whimsy, edible flowers are delightful garnishes you can pick up at specialty groceries. They look enchanting and also infuse subtle floral notes into the tea. (Just be sure they’re labeled as edible!)
- Fresh fruit: Slice into wheels or wedges for a burst of color and flavor that will complement any kind of tea from black to green to herbal.
- Cinnamon sticks: Natural sticks of cinnamon bark add a warm and cozy flavor, and it’s fun to use them as a stirring device to swirl and stir your cup of hot tea.
- Fresh herbs: Mint leaves, lemon verbena and sprigs of thyme are like inviting Mother Nature to the party, adding freshly picked flavor to fruity and herbal teas.
Not sure what kinds of tea to serve? We got ya.
Gathering to drink hot tea is about you and your favorite people doing what y’all love – and that includes selecting your tea menu. You’ll be covered if you serve one or two black teas that can be sipped “English style” with milk and a sweetener or with lemon, plus your favorite green or herbal teas with fruity and floral notes. To serve teas featuring the distinctive fruit and botanical flavors of the South, round out your menu with our three Luzianne Southern Blends Teas – Mint & Rose Blossom, Honeyed Peach, and Watermelon & Honey.