A Bit of Nordic Ice Tea

Iced tea is probably an American creation; the first recipe for the drink as we know it appeared in the cookbook Housekeeping in Old Virginia by Marion Cabell Tyree and published in 1879. The proportions of sugar to tea and lemon put Ms. Tyree’s creation squarely in the category of what we now call Southern sweet tea. The 1904 World’s Fair, the one that also brought us the ice cream cone, was where unsweetened black tea over ice was introduced to Americans from across the nation. As ice boxes became more readily available, the popularity of iced tea increased. Now, we have the American holiday of National Iced Tea Day. In honor of this very good idea, tomorrow, June 10, Ingebretsen’s will be serving samples of iced tea with a Scandinavian twist – tea brewed from black Sӧderblandning tea.

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Söderblandning is the most popular blend sold at The Tea Center of Stockholm, a Swedish shop specializing in fine teas. It combines China and Ceylon black tea with flowers, including roses, cornflowers, and sunflowers, and tropical fruits. It’s exceptionally fragrant and a story has grown up around the blend. Brochures from when the Tea Center began exporting to the United States said that the combination was the happy result of ingredients spilling from a shelf and into a container of tea leaves on the shop counter while the owner was toiling away, working to find a new blend. You don’t have to believe Sӧderblandning’s creation myth to enjoy it, though the story is a compelling argument for cluttered work spaces.

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Also Ingebretsen’s Kaffe Bar at Norway House will be providing samples of iced Sӧderblandning tea tomorrow, too. Iced tea isn’t our only drink offering there. Kaffe Bar employee Delta Keating took the Nordic-American-fusion-beverage theme one step further and created Arne Palmerssons – his take on the Arnold Palmer.

Delta explains, “Well, my friends and I all love Arnold Palmers, and the mix of lemonade and iced tea seemed like the perfect summer treat to sell at the Kaffe Bar. Using the Sӧderblandning black tea was a great way to put a Scandinavian twist on an American classic, and its citrus and floral notes nicely harmonize with the lemonade.

I think it’s been received so well because it’s a refreshing addition to our lineup of iced drinks, particularly for people looking for something a bit less sweet than a soda or saft. There’s probably a healthy dash of people finding the name “Arne Palmersson” amusing enough to give it a try as well.”

So please stop by Ingebretsen’s or Also Ingebretsen’s and celebrate National Iced Tea Day with us. If you decide to take a bag of Sӧdeblandning home with you, you may also want to try a combination suggested by The Tea Center – a cup of hot Sӧderblandning and a glass of port, even though you’ve missed National Wine Day, May 25.

If you really want to impress us and ask for your sample in Swedish, you can practice with this video of 10 tea-related vocabulary words:


– Carstens Smith