Growing up, my family spent most Thanksgivings at home, hosting friends and family and gobbling down massive amounts of delicious comfort-food. So it stands to reason that one of the few of these holidays that we spent away from the comfort of home sticks out vividly in my mind. Contrary to what you might expect, it’s not the different location, dishes or attendees that make this memory significant (although those were all enjoyable aspects in their own right).
What stands out is a drink: sweet tea.
Our family of five had piled into my mom’s maroon suburban, and made the nearly 750 mile trek from Massachusetts to North Carolina to visit our extended family, and enjoy some fabled southern hospitality.
My sisters and I immediately took to Tommy and Angel, our (second?) cousins who – despite being a few years older – immediately accepted us into the fold. As young people are likely to do, these two became our eager tour-guides to their chunk of the South, and used our long weekend to introduce us to the culinary delights thereof.
We were introduced (in some cases re-introduced) to southern staples, like cheesy grits, hush puppies, chicken and dumplings, fried chicken (the “real stuff,” not that “northern crap”), and of course, sweet tea.
Or should I say: “SWEIGHT TAYYY”
This last one sticks out specifically, because I remember going to at least four different restaurants one afternoon in search of what Tommy was sure was the perfect sweet tea.
I’m not sure if we ever found the perfect pour that day, but I am sure that I’ve had a taste for it ever since. In fact, I’ve been known to stop at McDonald’s every now and again to grab a too-large plastic cup full of their version.
Given my affinity for this sugary beverage, it only made sense to create a sweet tea cocktail with my newly-created peach infused vodka.
- 1.5 oz (a shot glass) peach-infused vodka
- 2 tbsp simple syrup
- 1 tbsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- Unsweetened Iced Tea (I use Gold Peak)
- Mint and lemon for garnish
Combine the vodka, syrup and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker, and shake.
Pour the mixture over ice in a Collin’s glass (10-14 oz. glass), and top it up with iced tea.
Add whichever garnish you prefer, stir and enjoy!
The result is a smooth and refreshing blend that has just enough lemon and peach flavor to cut through the sweetness, and just enough booze to cut through a hot afternoon.
Note: You can, of course, use pre-made sweet tea, but I prefer simple syrup and unsweetened tea, because it allows me to control the amount of sugar.