There are many things that us Southerners do that may be a mystery to those of you not blessed to live in the deep, deep South.

We teach our children to address everyone as “Ma’am” and “Sir.”

(Or at least we try.  Ali has been forgetting this necessary rule constantly.  When confronted about her lack of southern manners, she claims that she’s lost her ma’ams and sirs.  She allegedly misplaced them last time we were at the her Aunt Kitty and Uncle Leo’s house on the coast, and it will take a beach trip to fetch them.  Convenient.)

We eat fried pickles, fried okra, grits, and cornbread.

We don’t say things like “Bless Your Heart,” because we know that’s really the southern way of presenting one your middle finger.

And we drink sweet tea.


Sweet Tea is to the south like Bagels are to New York City: it’s hard to make it right anywhere else.  Mainly because the brands are all wrong.  I’ve gotten the nasty Lipton-in-a-can, and it’s nothing like our iced tea – in fact, it’s closer to what our tea tastes like after it’s rotted.

My own sweet tea journey has had it’s twists and turns.  I grew up drinking sweet tea continuously, switched to decaf sweet tea when I got to be an adult and acquired sleeping issues, and switched to decaf unsweet tea when I was pregnant with Noah and could not drink anything that was remotely sweet due to his impressive gifts of nausea.

But even if it is unsweet, it still must be made right.  And, if I may brag for a minute, I make a darn good gallon of tea, whether sweet or not.

Anytime someone comes over, they compliment me on my brew, then ask me how I make it.

And my first question is always, “Do you use Luzianne?”

And they usually say “No.”

And I say, “Oh – well that’s the key.”

Because I have literally never bought a box of tea that wasn’t Luzianne – nor did my Mother before me.  It is the one and only – the true and genuine sweet tea.

My other keys to a good brew are:

  • I have a dedicated coffee maker that I use for nothing but brewing tea.  (I use my beloved Keurig for coffee making.)  If you don’t have a dedicated coffee maker, you can boil water on the stove and let the tea bags seep in it for about 10 minutes.
  • I use three family-sized tea bags per gallon.  A hearty brew is important.
  • When making sweet tea, I add 3/4 cup of sugar to each gallon – not too sweet – just right.
  • I add in a giant amount of ice, and I serve in a Tervis Tumbler – to keep my drink as cold as possible with as little ice melt, and therefore wateriness, as possible.

So when Luzianne friended me on Twitter and asked if I’d like for them to send me a box, I said, “Sure, but I’d rather you send me some to give away to my readers – my Non-Southern readers need to experience sweet tea like it was meant to be!”

So they sent me two cases of tea to give to you, as well as a whole bunch of free tea coupons to give to those of you who live in the South and have access to their tea already.

So.  If you want to try The Nectar of the South, leave a comment and tell me something that is culturally unique about your area.  I’ll send a box of regular tea and a box of green tea out to eleven of you that I’ll randomly select from the comments.

If you are in the South and have access to Luzianne in your stores, leave a comment and tell me your favorite thing about the south – I’ll send coupons for six FREE boxes of tea out to four of you.

And those of you not in the south will be hooked.  And will want to move to the south so that you can eat fried pickles and fried okra with your perfect glass of tea.


This giveaway will be open until Monday, September 24.  I will announce the winner Tuesday, September 25 on my Giveaway Winners Page.

Disclosure: I was not compensated to write this post, and my opinions are obviously my own since I asked Luzianne for the product.  I didn’t even keep any of the tea they sent me, except for one box of the Green Tea because I wanted to try it.  It was awesome! Also, if you happen to know that cases of tea have 12 boxes and wonder what happened to the other box in the regular case, I’ll probably send send out to one of you as a bonus.  Because I’m nice like that.  How’s that for a disclosure, FTC?

156 thoughts on “Drink Like a Southerner. (And A Giveaway!)

  1. Something culturally unique to eastern Montana… We have a tendancy to drop our g’s on the ing part of a word, so that rushing invariably becomes Russian,etc…everyone waves at everyone whether you are known or not!!!…which is one reason I left Vegas 8 months ago to come home after 20 years!

  2. Luzianne is the only tea. I couldn’t pick just one favorite thing about the south, so I’ll just go with the food. And you’re so right about “bless your heart.” The appropriate term, when being genuine, is “God love it/him/her.” I know I’m not the only one.

  3. I was born and raised in the south, but I don’t like sweet tea. Nor did I have to say sir and ma’am growing up. I got in trouble in fifth grade for not saying “yes sir”. Then I went home and said “yes sir” to my dad and got in trouble for “sassing” him. I couldn’t win (his family is from Ohio).

  4. My favorite thing about the south? True southern hospitality is still alive and I love it. Wherever I am I can always strike up a conversation with a complete stranger and it’s like we’re old friends…..especially when talking about Alabama Football (ROLL TIDE!).

  5. I live in Idaho and I love iced tea, too. I’m going to have my sis in law from S Carolina send me a box of that tea if i dont win ’cause now i’m curious. People always say i make good tea, too. But I’ve never used Luzianne. Here we have fry sauce, which I haven’t found outside of our state, except maybe in Utah. A must have for fries.. Also we have finger steaks. Little pieces of steak battered and fried. Honestly, I’ve never developed a taste for them, but lots of people love them.

  6. Preach it! Luzianne is it. I buy all the tea for our house myself because my husband can’t seem to get it. Oh, I don’t really need to be entered, I still have half my box left. :) I just wanted to share my weird pregnant iced tea recipe- half as sweet as normal with milk. I got horrible heartburn but couldn’t give up my iced tea, and the milk helped. I still drink it that way. It’s sweet, cold & creamy. Yum.

  7. In the midwest – everybody (particularly retired farmers out “strolling” down the country roads “checking crops”) raises a couple fingers off the steering wheel in greeting. Since I’m not a retired farmer – but a mom in a mini-van on a mission – I sometimes forget. I’m trying to remember to slow down and be polite!

    The first time I went to the south and ordered tea I choked. I can handle a bit of sweet now in some teas. I wonder how it started that sweet tea is a southern thing – and most definitely NOT a midwestern thing?

  8. I’m from Wisconsin, and as stereotypical as it sounds, we are into cheese curds around here! The secret to squeaky ones is when they are fresh and at room temperature. And to make it even more Wisconsin-y, you can deep fry them in beer batter!

  9. Here in central/southern Il, we use homemade noodles as gravy on our mashed potatoes. Starch overload for sure, but very very yummy. Especially when made with turkey broth. So rich and creamy!

    We also love sweet tea, but I’ve never made it with Luzianne. I’m going to have to try that!

  10. I’m in CO, but 3/4 of my family is in the south. I fell hard for sweet tea about 9 years ago. It is my love, my passion. I’ve tried it everywhere its served in Denver and the surrounding suburbs and no one, NO ONE makes it like they do in the south. I’ve I’ve been on a quest to make my own but it’s never quite right… Now I know the secret! 1. I’m not making big enough jugs. I’ve been making 2 quarts at a time, not a gallon and 2 I’ve been using the WRONG TEA! I will be picking up some Luzianne today and trying it out!

  11. Oh how I love my sweet tea! I am from the coast of NC and when I first visited TX 10 years ago, where my husband is from and found that they didn’t serve sweet tea in their resturants I thought I was going to have a heart attack! I just can’t drink anything else with my meals, it has to be sweet tea.
    Thankfully when we moved to TX two years ago they resturants had wised up and most all of them now serve their tea sweet. But, they just don’t make it as good as it is in NC.
    My favorite thing about the South, the food! How I love me some grits, fried okra and collards, yummy!

  12. I’m in South Carolina and…are you ready for this? I don’t drink sweet tea! I’ve never really liked it. My dad and sister love it, but it’s just not for me! :( I’m not a true Southerner, I guess! Haha.

    Anyway, my dad passed away in 2005. My mom hasn’t made tea since then, and my sister can’t figure out how to make it taste right. I’m sending your recipe to her!! :)

  13. I live in the South, and my sweet tea making process is almost identical to yours – except, I have never tried Luzianne. I do agree that there are some other national brands that don’t make quite as well.

    I’ve been using a brand that is produced locally and found that it does pretty well, (you probably know which one, but I won’t mention it here out of respect to your product hawking ) but would be willing to try Luzianne to see how it turns out.

    1. Hey now! No hawking here. Just sharing what I love – hawking implies getting paid to do it or something. :) Do you mean Red Diamond? I’ve been meaning to try Red Diamond for a while but haven’t. We should have a taste-testing swap!

      1. Yes, I do mean Red Diamond. If you order iced tea in a restaurant (outside of national fast-food chains) around here, more often than not, you are getting Red Diamond.

        I’m not a big fan of their ready-to-serve sweet iced tea you can pick up from your local supermarket, but I’ve found their products to be great for making it fresh at home.

        1. Interesting as hawking her in Montana implies that I took/stole something from you and then “hawked” it for money…

  14. Mmmm…sweet tea! I’m Southern to the core, and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. I love the accents, the food, the porches, the sound of cicadas in the summertime, and the cute old men gossiping down at the feed store. Pretty much the only thing Southern I don’t dig is smocking (can that be a verb?) your kids to within an inch of their lives -although I do support the right for others to smock, if they so desire. Now, I need to go make some sweet tea, sit out on my porch, and watch the cars go by.

  15. Besides living in Brazil, I have lived in the South all my life. I very much dislike any type of tea. However, my husband, is a teaholic, and his brand of choice is also Luzianne. I love living in the South, mostly because of the Bible Belt, so the majority of the people you run into have good morals and are kinda and helpful, and because of the lack of super cold temperatures.

  16. My suspicions about, “Bless your heart” are confirmed. In my husband’s family it is, “Good For You,” a convenient acronym. I’ve only read about sweet tea (I love Southern literature and enjoy your summers all year through the words of authors). That’s pretty sad I know. A local food I can’t get when I’m elsewhere is Annabelle’s. With such yummy candy as Big Hunk, Rocky Road, and Abba Zabba’s. I didn’t realize it was local until I couldn’t find it anywhere else (I liked to send my big hunk a Big Hunk). Definitely something to try. Yum! I hope I get some taste memories to add to the literature ones. Perhaps I’ll make it to the South in the summer some day.

  17. I make my tea pretty much the same way you do. Most folks put too much sugar in it! I LOVE Luzianne. It is so much better than Lipton. I have lived all over the world but I have been in Arkansas for the last 25 years. I love the climate of the south! No harsh winters here!

  18. Wow…I am originally from the South…moved out west 12 years ago. Luzianne was all that I bought when I lived in Texas…truly is great tea. Seems the only thing we have in Wyoming is Lipton! The unique product I found here is “fry sauce”. A truly awful combination of mayonnaise and ketchup. You have to beg and plead to get ketchup here…………everyone seems to think “fry sauce” is a must have.

      1. Well my vote is a HUGE thumbs down! It seems that everyone around me that grew up with it…loves it. If you want to e-mail me your address…I can gladly send you some samples.

  19. We learned about kuchen when we moved here to South Dakota. Everyone has their own recipe, but can’t figure out why we don’t know about this dessert. It’s a custardy not very sweet pie.

      1. My grandmother was from North Dakota and had a Kuchen recipe, however, my grandmother always served it as a breakfast food. Her recipe has the custard and you use fruit and the crust is more like a bread rather than a pie crust. It is good. She won a newspaper cooking contest with her recipe:). We always have it on Christmas morning.

  20. Something culturally unique to Colorado??? Um…I dunno…I’ve lived here for so long everything is just normal to me! LOL Well, we’ve got Rocky Ford cantaloupes, Palisade peaches, we love to camp and hike but we also love fine food and wine, and we are obsessed with Chaco sandals. Don’t know what Chacos are? Look them up. You won’t regret it. :-) I’ve had mine for almost ten years and they’re still going strong!

    I’ve got family down in Texas. And you’re right – nobody makes sweet tea like Southerners!

    1. We do have Chaco’s here! It’s just that the only people who tend to wear them are the super-outdoorsy that drive Subarus. Wait – is that everyone in Colorado? ;)

      1. LOL Well, I did hear somewhere that there are more Subarus in Colorado than any other state. Wouldn’t surprise me – those things are AWESOME in the snow! My first car was a Subaru. Loved that little car. Then it went to the big garage in the sky. *sniffle*

  21. Hi Rachel! I love Sweet Tea…and will definitely have to try out your recipe! I found a Mrs. Tea (a Mr. Coffee with a teapot) at a garage sale and use it as my dedicated tea maker!

    I’ve only lived in Michigan for two months, so I don’t have that much first hand knowledge on quirks!….but before that, I lived in New England, and let me tell you, they have the absolute WORST drivers, ever! Wherever they are going is more important than where you are trying to go, so they feel the need to push that on you in EVERY way possible!

    Thanks for a great post! I’m not sure if Luzianne is sold in Ohio or Michigan, I’ll have to check it out!

  22. I grew up in South Texas, and was very surprised when I moved away and discovered that you can’t find sweet tea in all parts of the world! It was a staple in my home, and my mom always uses Luzianne. The thing I miss most about home is the Mexican food. No matter how hard I try to look, nowhere does Mexican food like San Antonio.

    When we left Texas, we moved to Montreal, Quebec and things were very different there. The only tea you could find was small bags for hot tea. And a staple of Quebec is something called poutine. I don’t know why the south has not adopted this. It’s french fries covered in a brown gravy (not the typical kind you can buy in packets, a special poutine gravy) and cheese curds. It’s amazing. They also really like to dip their fries in flavored mayonnaise.

    We now live in Colorado, but I haven’t discovered many culturally unique things yet. I plan to keep exploring though!

    1. I know it’s now 2014, but I just moved back to Montreal after 10 years in Texas and I miss sweet tea. However, here they like really lemony tea, which gets old. I have adopted my family to the Arizona gallon sweet tea I get when I go shopping in the states, but I really want to make my own. But they don’t have Luzianne and I have seen so many Lipton tea, but not the family size. HELP!!!!! What else could I use to make an ok sweet tea?

  23. #1 – Luzianne is and will alwasy be the st home brew tea (Milo’s is a favorite of potluck dinners everywhere!)
    #2 – Surely I would remember tea in a can – how dreadful!!!
    #3 – The South (aka God’s Country) is the only place where you can be insulted and not even know that it happened until 2 days later. Bless all good southern guys and gals.
    #4 – If you are not blessed enough to live in the South, but have Southerners visiting and want to make them feel extra welcome, make them some sweet tea. But make it to their liking, not yours.
    #5 – Favorite thing about the South? Traditions passed down so many generations – like rites of passage. We’ve been through a lot, and we’ve developed a relatively thick skin. (See also #2)

  24. My favorite thing about the south? The fact that my mama taught me how importance of God, good hair (I mean seriously, my cousin from CA keeps posting pics of herself with the frizziest hair I’ve ever seen in my life. Obvs she doesn’t know the importance of a good straightener. I always have to ask myself what her hair would be like WITH humidity if it looks like that without.), being graceful (including bless your heart), and to love SEC football. Because ALL of the respectable men in the south love SEC football, especially Alabama.

    Oh and I love she taught me the love for smocked clothes, matching and big bows.

    Let’s face it. There is too much to love in the south to narrow it to one favorite.

    and I drink decaf Luzianne. :)

  25. I am a Southerner living in upstate NY. Luzianne is the best and it can be found at Wal-Mart though I used to have to have my mom bring it to me. We drink a gallon every day. Something culturally unique to my area is Spiedies. They are bits of chicken marinaded in Italian dressing, grilled and served on rolls. I still haven’t figured out the fascination with them.

  26. So my first question is … how does it stack up to Milos. When I married my husband, that’s all I ever heard … how good Milos tea was. :D

    We are from Georgia/Alabama, Colorado, and now New Jersey. Here they call strollers “carriages,” expect you to merge without a turn signal in far less distance than is humanly possible, and nothing is free (not even a smile!). This place is growing on us, but it will never be “home,” I’m afraid. They don’t know how to make tea and are severely lacking ChickfilAs and Targets.

    1. Milo’s is extreeeemely sweet. Those who like it syrupy love Milo’s. I like Milo’s, but can only drink so much. On that note, Milo’s is currently in a lawsuit with Milo’s, and is no longer serving Milo’s tea. Don’t tell your husband, he might cry.

  27. I live in Washington, DC and we are void of anything culturally unique! I would love to try this tea. The hubs has an ice tea maker but he never makes it strong enough for me.

  28. Hi. I live in New Brunswick, Canada (just above Maine.) We have a variety of cultures in our small province. Culinary wise we are famous for items such as lobster, maple syrup and salmon. One of my favourite New Brunswick specialties are fiddleheads. They are basically baby ferns picked before they open. Very yummy steamed with butter, salt, pepper and vinegar.

  29. Hi Rachel! I’ve been reading for a while but finally decided to introduce myself.

    My family is from New England, Connecticut originally, but we’ve lived in Georgia for almost 15 years now. It definitely took some adjustment, but we love it here : ). Sweet tea was definitely a new thing for me…in some places it’s way too sweet. I have come to love it but cannot make it at home so I’ll definitely have to try your recipe.
    Something from home that my southern friends just don’t get is putting Cheddar cheese on apple pie, the sharper the better, very yummy!
    And my favorite thing about the South is how friendly people are….it took a while for me to figure out why all these strangers were talking to me, but now when we go back north to visit family we can’t figure out why everyone is so cranky and rude.

    1. I’m getting really hungry, but cheddar cheese on apple pie DOES sound really good!! And thanks for saying hi – I’m glad you like the overfriendliness down here!

  30. I’m in British Columbia, Canada. Being on the coast there’s a lot of seafood, but my favourite is Salmon. Particularly BBQ’d salmon. I might have to have some tonight.

  31. I have lived in VT, MA, CT, OH and ended up in Western PA. W PA should be its own state divided from the eastern part because of how different they are. In Western PA we put ranch dressing and french fries on everything. Grilled chicken salad and steak’ums (W PA cheese steaks) are the two common things you see with french fries on them. Ranch dressing can literally be put on anything and tastes amazing. Instead of saying you all, or ya’ll, we say “yinz” which is why Pittsburghers are also called “yinzers”. If someone is being dumb we call them a jagoff and if you are going downtown, its pronounced dauntaun all lazy like. Instead of strollers or carriages, we call them buggies, go figure! Western PA is truly the most unique place I have ever lived.

  32. Wisconsin=Beer, and Cheese. We don’t actually drink beer in our household, but we do consume lots and lots of yummy cheese. And our cheese is better here. It really is. My husband spent time in TX growing up, and he does love his southern sweet tea! I think it would be fun to make “authentic” sweet tea for him. :)

  33. K, this is totally inappropriate so delete if you wish. I have now lived in the South for almost 6 years and still haven’t figured out how to make Sweet Tea properly, have never tried Luzianne so that’s probably my down fall. So, since I’m in the South I guess I only qualify for the coupons but I’m not a Southerner so am I qualified for the tea? I grew up in Humboldt County, CA and the only specialty I can think of is Humboldt Gold, there isn’t anything like it, you don’t know good weed until you’ve had Humboldt Gold, so I hear. ;P

    1. Oh my word! I went on a road trip from Palm Springs to Oregon & we stopped in Humboldt Co for lunch one day. The first time I ever saw true hippies! I’ll never forget that…

    2. 2 family size bags of Luzianne. I use my smallest pan and put in just enough water to cover the tea bags. Heat until just boiling (brown poofs of yum). Remove from heat and cover with a plate once it is not HOT. Let it steep for awhile. Mine may or may not have set for up to 6 hours (or longer). 2 cups of sugar and stir your little heart out. Sweet without being diabetic coma sweet.

  34. I live in the northwest next to the place that made the first atomic bombs. I get my sweet tea from Walmart and Mcdonalds, because that’s the best we have for that:( Pity me please!!

  35. Well, let’s see: Wisconsin—our Brats , for sure! There is no picnic or tailgating w/o them. Brats marinated in Beer, of course . We also have a yummy bakery product from Racine, WI , that is called a ‘Kringle”. We have the pretty awesome traditional Friday Night Fish fry–served w/. cole slaw and RYE bread. NOT catfish—something like walleye. And, beer-battered.please! What a great way to spend a Friday Night!!!!!!!( We don’t cook EVERYTHING in beer, of course, There is also that recipe for Chicken on the grill, where you sort of make it ‘sit ‘ on a can of beer…….but I don’t know if that is a Wisconsin thing , or not, Sort of like the deep -fried Turkey! ) Tried Sweet Tea once – at a Micky D’s in Georgia. So bad I couldn’t finish it. ( Sorry). This must be like the Tea thing I went through when I returned from a stay in Ireland……….Americans just DON”T make REAL tea !!!!

  36. Im fairly certain that this tea is NOT sold anywhere close to where I live. I live in Mozambique. :) But i do love a good big cup of sweet tea and would LOVE to have some when it hits plus 47 degrees Celsius in early november! :) We have Rooibos tea, but thats not even close to the same. If your willing to ship to South Africa where my mailbox is then PICK ME PICK ME!!!

  37. PS: But, Rachel… I think you can get Blue Moon ice cream most any where, can’t you? My daughter in law took me to a really nice ice cream parlor , somewhere near your Zoo, I think, and they had it there, as I remember! ( and —really? “Bless your heart” is BAD ??????????)WOW.

  38. One thing about AZ that I find funny is most Arizonians have never been to the Grand Canyon even though it’s in their state. (I have gone, several times, but a lot of people I know haven’t!)
    And there is a lot of desert. Obviously. haha
    Sweet tea sounds amazing right about now!!

  39. I am so glad you posted this! I moved to Louisiana two years ago and haven’t found anyone to give me any sweet tea secrets! Luzianne is what I need.

    My favorite things about the south have been the long growing season and the outgoingly friendly. One of the things that baffles me about the south is truck nuts. Maybe you should do a post on that…I don’t think anyone from the north realizes how intense southerners are about their trucks.

  40. I’ve never even heard of Luzianne or family sized tea bags? Guess its popularity hasn’t made it to Montana. Not a big fan of sweet tea, even when my friend whose mom is from the south and apparently makes authentic sweet tea made some but I do love some unsweetened tea.

    Around here, not sure what’s unique since I’ve always lived here but I’d say we’re known for really good steak, buffalo burgers (made from real bison), and where my dad grew up the pasty (pass-tee) was a big deal…he grew up in a mining town and pasties were historically always popular. They are a kind of pocket pastry filled with meat and potatoes and served with gravy…something miners could take in their lunchboxes. To sum it up, red meat is kinda a big deal around here. :)

    1. Yes!! Anthony Bourdain did a Montana episode where he went to a small town and ate pasties. I thought of you while watching that episode!

      And I would like to try Bison. We had a Ted’s Montana Grill for a short time, but we never made it there before they closed.

  41. Hi Rachel,

    I’ve been reading your blog for about a year now…love it by the way. I’m originally from the south, and while I don’t like sweet tea, I do love iced tea (particularly sun tea). I certainly don’t miss the weather, but I do miss good southern and cajun food. I’ve asked for a crawfish boil for my birthday this year.

    I’m now in Colorado, and I think our biggest cultural oddity is probably the tendency to wear shorts in the snow. (That and all the Subarus.) I’ve known many people who even wear sandals in the snow…with socks, generally.

    I’ve also lived in New Jersey and France, and both have french fry-related oddities; gravy and mayonnaise, respectively. And my husband’s family is Croatian. They make this dish (which I can’t stand) called Salad Soup. A big soup pot filled with greens and eggs.

    Hope I win the tea!

      1. The eggs are kind of wispy and beaten like in Egg Drop Soup. His whole family LOVES this soup and have it at every special occasion.

  42. I’m a midwestern girl and I use Luzianne and have for many years. My Mom always used Lipton and so does my sister. So not the same. Luzianne hands down is so much better. I use the Decaf though. They stopped selling it for awhile here but thankfully they carry it again. Oh and I make my tea like you do as well. If I have guests coming over I do a sweet tea and an unsweet tea so they can decide what they want. It’s the tea bags that really make the tea what it is though. :)

  43. Luzianne IS the key! It’s all my mother’s ever used & it’s what I use when I make it. Although, I rarely make it. I usually just pick up a gallon of Milo’s at Publix ;) But if I get it for FREE then I’ll become brew-master once more! One of my fav things about being a southerner is kicking bootay in football! ROLL TIDE!!!

  44. I don’t like tea (so unfortunate – I wish I did!) but my husband does and makes his own sweet tea. Being a Northerner, he’s curious about the special properties of this tea. :)

  45. Aww this post made me seriously miss Texas! There’s nothing better than drinking sweet tea on a back porch on a hot afternoon! My grandma used to only make sun tea. I love drinking sweet iced tea, but none of my friends understand the joy of it. I guess it’s a love you are born with. Everyone here is all about the coffee, and I HATE coffee. There are Starbucks everywhere and little coffee stands on every corner. We have two in our town of 1800 people! Everyone tells me you can’t live in the Northwest and not like coffee, but I do. :)

    1. Oh and I make our kids say Ma’m and Sir and call people Mr/Miss (first name) and people tease us for it. That’s how I grew up though. Nothin’ better than good ol’ fashioned Southern manners! :)

  46. We don’t do sweet tea here in Australia, in my grandparents day hot tea was all people drank, no coffee! I still make hot tea in a pot (the proper way) no tea bags for me! We have a few things unique to Australia.. meat pies, pavlova,lamingtons , damper, ANZAC biscuits, and vegemite !!!!!Oh and if you are camping nothing beats billy tea!! Email me if you want the details :-)

  47. YES!!! I live in Northern Illinois, and no one up here gets why I snigger uncontrollably when we go to church functions and there’s an entire 5 gallon pail full of NON-SWEET tea. (I lived in SC and NC and Alabama and Virginia and . . oh nevermind).

    My favorite is when a Northerner says, well, just add some sugar to it (and it’s already iced). Wow.

    So funny, because I totally agree with you on the Luzianne thing. It’s hard to find up here though, *sigh*.

  48. Living in “Northern” Virginia, I’m not sure that there’s anything culturally significant here, but as a German Lutheran from Wisconsin, nothing beats brats cooked in beer or “squeaky cheese” AKA cheese curds. My favorite thing about the south? Shrimp and grits. Nothing beats that.

    I *think* I have Luzianne here, but if not, I have plenty of inlaws in Mississsippi to help me out.

  49. Having been born and raised in California, I have never had real southern sweet tea. I love tea in general, so I’d like to try some authentic sweet tea.

    I haven’t been to the south, so I have no idea if this is unique to my area or not, but have you ever tried boba milk tea? It’s also called tapioca milk tea or bubble milk tea. It’s sweet milk tea with little chewy balls that float to the bottom. They are kind of like caramel-flavored gummy bears. You suck them up through an extra-large straw and chew on them with your tea. It weirds most people out the first time they try it, but it grows on you quickly. As I understand it, this is a Taiwanese invention, but you can often find them at Vietnamese sandwich shops.

    1. We just got a Bubble Milk Tea place at our mall a couple of years ago, but I’ve never tried it. I didn’t know about the bubbles in the bottom, though. I’ll have to try it next time!

  50. Wow. I am two-for-two on timeliness of your posts. As you probably *don’t* know, we just moved to (gasp) Maine from Atlanta last month, but before Atlanta we were in Tuscaloosa, and I’ve spent the past two years actively trying to find a way to get to Tuscaloosa permanently. We moved/are moving in phases, but our “go back for more” trip got delayed by the little detail of “I got a job,” something I neither particularly wanted nor ever expected. (I love my job; it’s the “having a job” thing that’s killing me.) So we only have about 1/3 of our stuff with us. Thomas trains? Check. Tracks and train table? Still in Georgia. My “to do” file box? Check. ALL MY FILES? Still in Georgia. My daughter’s dress-up box? Check. Her tea set and table and chairs? Georgia. Crockpot, rice cooker, and most kitchen small appliances, and hot-tea mugs and coffee cups? All in Georgia. BUT — Luzianne Tea and eight Tervis tumblers, with lids? CHECKITY CHECK CHECK! I stopped at Publix literally on our way to get on 85 North to head up here on our very first leg and I bought four boxes of Luzianne. You know, “just in case” we didn’t get back down in time.

    Fast forward, and I *may* have just called my sister today to offer her a prepaid FedEx label if she would kindly run to her local Publix to pick up some Luzianne and ship it to me. Monday. Tomorrow if she can make it. So, if I win — and I don’t know if I can — hecktotheyes, I will use Luzianne. And if I can’t win but my number wins, please: send the coupons to my sister in Orlando. I have it on good authority that she could use some free Luzianne tea!

    p.s. Favorite things about the South, things which I also desperately miss? PUBLIX. Chick-fil-A. Costco. (yes, Costco!) Zaxby’s. Publix. “Y’all.” SEC football. Sweet tea everywhere I go. Not needing my jacket in September. Chicken biscuits at any restaurant. REAL Mexican food. Biscuits and gravy. Air conditioning everywhere. Publix. Chick-fil-A. Oh, and did I mention Publix?!

  51. I grew up in California but have spent the last 22 years in Hawaii, meaning that my three children have grown up here. I would venture to say that there are more cultural differences here when comparing to the US mainland than there are similarities, and at the top of that list would be food. And near the top of that food list would be Spam Musubi. It’s a snack, it’s a meal; kids eat it, grown-ups eat it; it can be made “gourmet” or it can be just a simple musubi.

    It’s a strip of nori (dried seaweed) fitted into a small rectangular mold. Freshly cooked rice (white of course) is pressed into the mold until it is half-full, when a perfectly shaped slice of Spam (ideally lightly sauted) is laid on top. More rice is pressed on top and the nori is wrapped and lightly moistened at one edge to seal the musubi closed. It can be eaten immediately but is more likely wrapped in plastic wrap for the ultimate in portability. You can buy them at sports functions, cafeterias, the county fair, convenience stores – anywhere people want to grab a bite to eat. Spam musubi is a bit of an acquired taste for someone who hasn’t grown up in the islands, but it is comfort food through and through.

  52. We have LuzIanne tea in Pittsburgh but I’ve never tried it. I’m addicted to unsweetened tea. Red Rose tea is the worst. Megan already told you about the French fries on salads and sandwiches . We recently had a wedding in the family so I will tell you about the cookie table which I understand is unique to Western Pennsylvania. It is tradition to have a huge table at the wedding reception filled with cookies made by friends and family members. This is in addition to the wedding cake. The table is covered until after dinner when the cookies are shared. Usually there are little containers for everyone to take home the left over cookies.

  53. I should have posted earlier today, because I was scanning the comments and saw a fellow Idahoan already claimed fry sauce as our cultural difference. Fry sauce is usually a mixture of mayonnaise and ketchup. Some people add seasonings, use miracle whip, etc. It’s nothing fancy but very yummy!

    Another tidbit about Idahoans: we frequently get told we have a Southern drawl on some of our words. However, we never say y’all:).

    I used your product finder and there is one grocery store in my town that carries Luzianne. I will have to give it a try if I don’t win your give away!

  54. I love Luzianne! Our tea recipe is very similar, but my tea is much sweeter than yours (I wish I could underscore much…). One thing I enjoy about the south is a good plate of grits. I couldn’t believe when I moved to Memphis years ago how hard it was to find grits in the grocery store and sweet tea in restaurants. That was when I started drinking water with most meals, nothing compared to a good glass of sweet tea. Oh, and I ended up importing my grits from B’ham. (That may have been due to brand loyalty more than anything else.)

    P.S. Did you put sugar in your green tea? That is the one type of tea that I can drink hot or cold, sweet or not. I really like mint green tea.

  55. I’m too new to Colorado to have found the quirks yet, but in New York I found it bizarre that everyone says “on line” rather than “in line.” as in “Man, I was standing on line to get into that club for hours!”it’s weird.

    I love me some sweet tea! Would love the Luzianne!

  56. Seriously wish I was Southern! THANKS for passing along that recipe! Could you Pin It for all of us Pinterest addicts? You know. In your free time. =)

  57. Luzianne! I grew up in a rare UNsweet tea household, but there was always a gallon of freshly made Luzianne in the fridge. Here in Korea, I feel lucky when I find Lipton, but it’s just not the same at all. :-(

  58. I’m from Southern Indiana/Louisville, KY area. I am a sweet tea fanatic. Luckily we can still get it at restaurant here. 50 miles north and it’s a no go. I’ve always love sweet tea but didn’t become addicted, like now, until after my first child. I don’t drink coffee so tea is my jolt to get me going in the morning. I’ve never tried Luzianne though, I’ll be sure to pick that up next time.

    Up here we say “you all” instead of y’all.

  59. That’s what I’ve been doing wrong! I’ve been using Lipton decaf because that’s what my mama always used!

    I live in Virginia, so I am “technically” south of the Mason-Dixon line and have access to Luzianne. However, I would love to get those coupons for six free boxes. Can you throw in a coupon for a coffee maker that I can use to make my tea? (Pretty please?)

    What do I love the most about the south. Hmmm…I’m not in the deep south, but my parents live in southern South Carolina. Does that count? No?

    What I love the most about Virginia is fall. I love watching the leaves turn beautiful colors. We live in the Shenandoah Valley and the view of the mountains all around us is breathtaking in October.

    I think the best part of living in the south though is how most people are so incredibly nice. The communities here come together to help those in need. You get a greeting from anyone you run into whether you know them or not. People wave you into traffic. It’s just a wonderful place to live.

    Does that get me tea? heehee

  60. I would love to try this! I’ve just sort got into ‘iced tea’ (not of the aluminium can variety) and would like to try your brand – I’ve only used Tetley. Family tea bags strike me as something foreign. How big are they? We only have the individual/small tea pot size in Canada. Something local to my area… Saskatoon berry pie, perogies, and beaver tails!

  61. Seattle. We don’t drink iced sweet tea; we drink boiling black coffee.

    As a former Seattle barista, I say with certainty that you can learn a lot about people from their drinks.

    A businessman will get the darkest blend of black coffee – no frilly vanilla latte for him! I think the two can be compared to alarm clocks: I like to wake up to soft, feel-good music (latte) while my husband swears he needs the “ENH ENH ENH” (black coffee).

    There are the regulars who get the same drink, every day. As time goes on, they get more specific in their preferences: “Milk heated to 140 degrees. One pump of vanilla. Soy milk. No whip. Caramel on top.” Because I can attest to this myself – once you find a drink you love, there’s no reason to switch until you get tired of it.

    Then there’s the kid-in-a-candy-shop woman who clearly does not pick up a drink every day. This is a treat, and she wants to make sure she gets all the bells and whistles and sprinkles and whipped cream! I love serving her because she’s so excited about it.

    Seattle. People don’t even look at coffee shop menus. People know that “breve” is a term for half and half, and a cappucino has more foam than a latte. It can be a snobby thing. But I think it’s super convenient to have a Starbucks on every corner.

    Tea is becoming more popular – but hot tea, not iced – because, well, it’s Seattle. I have a tea cupboard with all kinds of black and green teas. I have a stash at work and a stash at home and I regularly take inventory to see what needs replenishing. Tea is what all my friends get me for my birthday/Christmas – they pretty much see tea and think of me.



    1. So in Seattle, since you guys are the epitome of coffee lovers (or coffee snobs even?), is Starbucks still acceptable? Many people here are anti-The-Man when it comes to coffee, being snobby about only going to local coffee shops and avoiding Starbucks. I enjoy both – although I prefer the taste at my local coffee shop, there are more Starbucks, and Starbucks possesses the magical powers of the drive-thru.

      1. Starbucks is acceptable only because people have no other alternative, and it’s so convenient! . Now Portland – Portland is the land of indie coffee shops. I did live there too! =)

  62. I am a life long southern girl and must have my iced tea daily! For a something special I add one or two mint tea bag to the large mix. Just enough for a nice touch without being overwhelming.
    Love your blog. Just found it today (about Mom Jeans)

  63. So I’m from Kentucky and love and miss sweet tea. The only way I get some is if I make it for myself. I’m in Minnesota right now and I guess one culturally delightful thing they have is fried cheese curds. It’s like bite sized mozzarella sticks but they’re made with cheddar cheese curds.

  64. I live in PA Dutch Country! Lots of great farmer’s markets and good home cooking! Oh and pretzels! However, I moved from down near Mobile. Please send me good tea. PLEEEEASE? I miss it. I miss it bad.

  65. Jennifer M is my sister and I am the sister that she mentioned in Orlando! It is true that she does what she can to get me to go to her favorite place in the south to buy her Luzianne tea. Did she mention that she loves Publix. Just incase you didn’t know it from her post I am here to remind you! :) Originally from the north, I like to think of myself as an adopted southerner. My favorite location in the south is Tuscaloosa and my favorite drink of all time would be Luzianne Sweet Tea! But, I am now in the category of an unsweet tea drinker.

    One of my favorite memories of all time is when I was living in Orlando during the hurricanes of 2004. It was late August and I just got a new roommate a few days earlier when we had a hurricane. The way that roommate and I got to know each other was by making and then drinking pitcher after pitcher of Luzianne Sweet Tea! We must have gone through at least five pitchers of tea while playing cards and waiting out the storm. Eight years later and not only is she a huge fan of Luzianne, but I was also in her wedding in May. Maybe it was the hurricane or maybe the tea…. But a lasting friendship was formed over Luzianne Sweet Tea

  66. I am a Virginian. I married a rather cute nerd who happens to be a Yankee. My favorite thing about the South is my family. After that, it’s the ability of locals to politely insult come-heres without them knowing. Bless your heart and all that. :)

  67. I feel like a traitor–I got hooked on iced tea k-cups in my Keurig earlier this summer and it got to be too expensive. So I switched to Lipton Cold Brew and make it a cup at a time. I fancy myself quite southern, but I have switched to un-sweet, non-Luzianne tea! I may have to move! :) But you are definitely right, a hearty brew is highly important!

  68. I live in the South and grew up drinking unsweet tea. I don’t think I experienced sweet tea until I was in high school. I will also add that my parents didn’t keep sodas in the house so the closest we came to a sweet beverage was Kool-Aid when we were young. But regarding my favorite thing about the south – definitely the porches. Sweet tea and porch swings are part of an ideal southern day. :)

  69. I live in the Midwest, where we make beef and noodles, then pour it over mashed potatoes. Starch poured over starch. Delicious!

  70. I’m from the Pacific Northwest (Portland) and the closest to ever visiting the south I’ve ever done is Florida. Where I promptly gagged on the syrupy sweet sweet tea I had with dinner. Tea is very popular here, but it’s almost all herbal teas and we drink them hot, since our summers aren’t really long enough to have iced tea. Something that is unique to us (I’ve been told, I’ve grown up here so it’s normal to me) is the amount of coffee shops and stands we have. Not only do we have coffee shops, but we have tons and tons of standalone, drive up coffee places. They are just located in some random parking lot, you drive through and place your order, and get your fresh, locally roasted coffee without the inconvenience (hah) of getting out of your car.

    1. Yes, it can definitely be made TOO sweet.

      And I wish we had more coffee shops – we have maybe five in town that aren’t Starbucks. Not that I’m opposed to the ‘Bucks…

  71. I’m already in the South and would LOVE some coupons. I admit that I make my tea out of whatever is handy- but I love adding flavors- like apple spice sweet tea, or cinnamon orange tea. Crazy…I know. My favorite thing about the South? Lots of things…but right now, it’s SEC football. I never “got” football until I moved to Alabama, and it’s impossible not to get caught up in the excitement of it all. There’s something special about sharing a boisterous “Roll Taaahd, Ya’ll!” with people you’ve never met before. ;)

  72. Okay so first off: I love your blog. Truly! I read it every day. Usually over breakfast. But the newborn in the house has been wreaking havoc so… I’m reading it this afternoon. :) Now – culturally distinct… well, I live in a town called Ajax, in the province of Ontario, in Canada. And interestingly enough, the town didn’t exist until after WW1, when the people working in the munitions factories here didn’t want to leave just because the war was over. Thus, the town of Ajax was born. I think that’s a pretty neat tidbit, myself. And I love sweet tea too!

  73. Growing up in Prattville most of my life sweet tea is a must! Lived in England as a child, gotta love the Air Force and that is where I got my love for tea. I can drink tea hot with milk and sugar or cold doesn’t bother me either way. I love the southern food, football, weather just about everything. Life is different now that I am in Knoxville I don’t make tea as much anymore but will have to try Luzianne sometime.

  74. I went to grad school in Knoxville, Tn and learned to love sweet tea and warm weather! Then returned home to North Dakota…. Lots of families around here have some Norwegian ancestors. which means most people have some familiarity with lefse and lutefisk. Lefse is like a dry potato crepe that is served with butter and families fight over whether there should be sugar sprinkled on the butter. (I prefer lots of sugar!). Lutefisk is dried whitefish soaked in lye to make a gelatinous fish which is cooked and served with butter. And you should never serve lutefisk with silver as your silver will be ruined. Both taste wonderful!

  75. In Louisville, May (and at least half of April) is all about the Derby. It has a season, just like Christmas: mint juleps, hot browns (so rich they are often made as appetizers on tiny pieces of bread, lest we not fit into our fab Derby dresses) and Derby pie (chocolate, nutty gooey deliciousness).

  76. My favorite thing about the south is the warm southern hospitality! Neighbors speak to neighbors, people look out for you and yours and someone always happens to have an extra_________(fill in the blank) that they just wanted to share with you=)
    Luzianne Tea really is the best, Rachel, I totally agree=)

  77. I live in California and have all my life, but somehow have never been a stranger to sweet tea. But I think the best thing about California is fresh avocados. And contrary to popular belief,not all Californians surf. I live in northern California, I wear a sweatshirt at the beach. My boyfriend grew up in Southern California and thinks I’m weird. I don’t swim at the beach.

  78. When my husband was stationed in the south, man, sweet tea was so good. Now we’re in Washington without any sweet tea around… I miss it and need some good tea!

  79. Here in Utah, we have fry sauce! Perfect with fries, on a burger, with your chicken fingers, etc. It’s delicious! Also, I have never lived in or around The South, yet I grew up saying yes sir and yes ma’am and I still do. I’m a country girl, but I have an unknown amount of Southern in me for some reason. ;P

  80. Something culturally unique to Southern California, we don’t have accents (pretty obvious to tell where were from), but we do have In-N-Out! Which is a Christian chain, did you know that?[:

  81. Fellow southern girl here (I don’t think I need to mention that I’m a sweet tea addict). I make my tea almost exactly the same as you, except for one thing: I add two tea bags of Earl Grey. It gives it a nice little kick (my mom started the Earl Grey thing).

      1. I love Earl Grey, and I LOVE Luzianne Ice Tea! Both are great with a splash of heavy cream, or real whipped cream (don’t like it with the pre-whipped products).

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