Oldest Iced Tea Recipes


June 10th is officially “Iced Tea Day” in the US. I thought it would be fun to celebrate this occasion with one of the oldest iced tea recipes ever published. The recipe was published in 1839 in “The Kentucky Housewife” cookbook. There is a warning that comes with this though. Apparently, in 1839, being a housewife meant drinking a lot of alcohol because this one packs a pretty good punch.


Here is the recipe in the original text

(Courtesy of whatscookingamerica.net)

“Tea Punch – Make a pint and a half of very strong tea in the usual manner; strain it, and pour it boiling (hot) on one pound and a quarter of loaf sugar. Add half a pint of rich sweet cream, and then stir in gradually a bottle of claret or of champaign (sic). You may heat it to the boiling point, and serve it so, or you may send it round entirely cold, in glass cups.”


Here is the translation in today’s terms


  • Brew 3 cups of tea for 10 minutes
  • Strain the tea
  • Pour the tea over 1 ½ cups sugar in a large pitcher
  • Add 1 cup heavy cream
  • Add 1 bottle of Champagne



This is a classic pairing of champagne, sugar and cream. The effervescent bubbles of the champagne help to lighten the cream and the sugar really ties it all together. Adding the tea adds a certain bit of maltyness and astringency that really makes this a refreshing drink. And the best part about it, it is really easy to prepare in advance for those times you would like a nice punch for a gathering.


photo: flickr.com/photos/krikit/2648359268

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