Sweet tea

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[swet • te]

“A Southern-style tea made with orange pekoe and plenty of sugar that’s chilled, served over lots of ice and always with a wedge of fresh lemon.”—Ted Lee, coauthor of The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook

Until Gotham’s recent wave of barbecue openings, finding decent sweet tea this far north of the Mason-Dixon Line was about as likely as stumbling across a ten-gallon hat at Barneys. Stop at Georgia’s Eastside BBQ (192 Orchard St between E Houston and Stanton Sts, 212-253-6280) for a brew that most closely resembles what you’d sip in the Deep South: a blend of Irish breakfast and Assam that holds up nicely to the simple syrup. Lee declares the appearance of the beverage near-perfect at Virgil’s Real Barbecue (152 W 44th St between Sixth Ave and Broadway, 212-921-9494), where the tea heads into Arnold Palmer territory with the addition of lemon juice (and a large citrus wedge garnish). The Smoke Joint (87 South Elliott Pl between Fulton St and Lafayette Ave, Fort Greene, Brooklyn; 718-797-1011) does right by its revisionist ’cue with a “kinda” sweet tea that won’t leave your teeth furry. For extreme tastes, Pies-n-Thighs (351 Kent Ave at South 5th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 347-282-6005) goes all the way with a cuppa that’s got about four teaspoons of sugar per serving. Tasty? Yes. A thirst quencher? By Yankee standards, probably not.

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