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It's National Iced Tea Day 2023: 10 Ways to Celebrate [+ Freebies!]

Image with glass of iced tea on purple background, with banner title reading Happy National Iced Tea Day

Happy National Iced Tea Day!

Did you know this perfect summertime drink had its very own holiday? After all, what's better than a "sweaty" glass of nice cold iced tea, the ice jangling as you sip away and savor the taste while you lay out on a beach chair catching some rays?

(Or, maybe in the house pumping the AC, since it's just too damn hot out.)

Observed on June 10th each year, National Iced Tea Day pays homage to the beloved beverage that has become a summer staple for tea lovers worldwide. (Though, let's be honest — many of us enjoy it all-year-long!)

So, let's drink up! Here are some facts about one of America's favorite drinks, and some fun ways to celebrate it on this quirky holiday.

How Iced Tea Got Started (& More!)

A sepia-toned photo of a woman drinking a cup of tea

Iced tea dates back to the early 1800s. It is believed that iced tea gained popularity in the southern part of the United States during the scorching summer months as a nice way to cool down, especially because hot tea was, well...way too hot! It quickly became a favorite among Americans, both as a cooling beverage and a symbol of hospitality. And, Sweet Tea from the south is still very popular today.

However, legend has it that iced tea was "discovered" by Richard Blechynden, an Englishman promoting tea at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. When faced with scorching temperatures, he decided to serve the tea over ice, inadvertently popularizing it in the process.

Since its inception, iced tea has evolved into a global phenomenon, with various countries embracing their own unique versions of this chilled delight. Thailand, for instance, is known for its Thai iced tea (Cha Yen), a nice, creamy blend of black tea, spices, and condensed milk, while India boasts a variety of iced tea variations, including masala chai on the rocks. And, Morocco is famous for its refreshing Moroccan mint tea poured over ice.


Iced Tea Facts: From Consumption to Curiosities

There's so much to learn about tea in general, but here are some fun facts about iced tea to wow your friends with on National Iced Tea Day!:

  • Fact #1: The Most Popular Tea in America...According to the Tea Association of the U.S.A. Inc., 70-80% of the tea consumed in the U.S. is iced tea!

  • Fact #2: The World's Largest Iced Tea Festival...Every summer, the city of Summerville, South Carolina, hosts the Sweet Tea Festival, a celebration of all things iced tea. The festival features live music, food vendors, sweet tea tastings, and even a Sweet Tea contest. It's a must-visit event for tea enthusiasts and a testament to the love of iced tea in the South. Good news is that even though the festival is not on National Iced Tea Day, you have time to plan your visit as it all goes down in September.

  • Fact #3: A Record-Breaking Pitcher...Summerville also has another claim-to-iced-tea-fame. On June 10, 2016 (National Iced Tea Day!), the town achieved a Guinness World Record for the largest pitcher of Sweet Tea. The enormous pitcher contained a whopping 9,554 litres of it!

  • Fact #4: Tea time in the White House...Iced tea has a special place in American history, even at the highest level of government. It may not be quite a fact, but it's widely believed that that the 28th President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, was an avid iced tea enthusiast. Legend has it that he loved to drink iced tea so much that he had a silver pitcher installed in the White House specifically for serving this refreshing beverage.

  • Fact #5: The iced tea cocktail with no iced tea...While not actually tea in the traditional sense, the Long Island Iced Tea is a popular mixed drink that's known around the world. Despite its name, though, it contains no tea at all. Instead, it's a potent combination of vodka, rum, gin, tequila, triple sec, lemon juice, and a splash of cola. Its deceptive name is derived from its resemblance to a glass of iced tea.

1. Make the Perfect Pitcher of Iced Tea

A pitcher of iced tea on a table with two lemons in front

Let's keep it simple. One of the best ways to welcome National Iced Tea Day is by making a good ol' fashioned pitcher or glass of iced tea!

Embrace the spirit of National Iced Tea Day by indulging in a classic glass of iced tea. Here's a step-by-step guide to creating the perfect glass of iced tea:

  • Step 1: Brew your favorite tea blend, such as black, green, or herbal tea.

  • Step 2: Allow the tea to cool to room temperature. (Though, remember that sweet tea is made by sweetening the tea while it's still hot.)

  • Step 3: Fill a glass with ice cubes.

  • Step 4: Pour the cooled tea over the ice, filling the glass.

  • Step 5: Add a slice of lemon, a sprig of fresh mint, or a splash of fruit juice for added flavor.

  • Step 6: Stir gently and enjoy!

And, for Sweet Tea:

  • Step 1: Brew your preferred black tea blend using about 4 to 6 tea bags per 1 gallon (3.8 liters) of water.

  • Step 2: While the tea is hot, add sugar to taste. Start with about ¾ to 1 cup of sugar for a gallon of tea and adjust according to your sweetness preference.

  • Step 3: Stir well to dissolve the sugar completely.

  • Step 4: Allow the sweetened tea to cool to room temperature.

  • Step 5: Fill a glass with ice cubes.

  • Step 6: Pour the sweet tea over the ice, filling the glass.

  • Step 7: Give it a gentle stir, and your refreshing glass of sweet tea is ready to be enjoyed!

Other Iced Tea Making Tips

Although making iced tea may seem pretty straightforward, here are a few tips for getting it just right:

What tea is really best for making iced tea?

Any tea is fine, but for classic iced tea, black tea is generally what's used.

Should I add sugar?

When it comes to making classic iced tea, the question of whether to add sugar or enjoy it without any sweeteners is a matter of personal preference and/or health requirements.

Let's be real — sweetened iced tea is DELISH. But, iced tea without sugar is just as good.

Here's why.

Ultimately, while sugar can help balance the bitterness or astringency in some tea blends, making them more palatable and enjoyable (and, straight-up thirst-quenching in the hot summer), it may not give you quite the level of hydration you need.

On the other hand, unsweetened iced tea allows you to savor the natural flavors of the tea without any added sweetness, providing a more authentic and refreshing taste. (Okay, this might just be "cold tea", like a nice bottle of cold green tea from the market). And, for those watching their sugar intake or following a low-sugar or no-sugar diet, unsweetened iced tea is a healthier option. But, of course, it may not taste as yummy as sweetened iced tea.

Either way, if you do decide to add sugar, it's probably not best to go crazy. A common guideline is to use approximately 1 cup of sugar for every gallon.

You can also try natural sweeteners, like eucalyptus honey.

How many tea bags should I be using?

The number of tea bags you'll need for a pitcher of iced tea can vary depending on the desired strength of the tea and the size of the pitcher. However, a general guideline is to use around 4 standard-sized tea bags for every 1 gallon (about 3.8 liters) of water.

For a stronger brew, you can increase the number of tea bags to 6 or even 8. Keep in mind that the steeping time can also affect the strength of the tea, so adjust accordingly based on your taste preferences.

And, doesn't homemade iced tea usually have a lemon?

Sure! But, it's like adding a slice of lemon to your water (or, sugar for that matter). Some people like it, some don't. A few slices of lemon can give it a nice citrusy taste (or, rather, tang!)

Another recipe for iced tea is to mix it with half-lemonade. All you have to do is make around 4 cups of iced tea and 4 cups of lemonade, then mix them together! Better to add the sugar after the fact if you'd like to make it sweet, as sweetening each one before hand may throw off the final flavor you're going for.

What's a good ice-to-tea ratio?

Whatever! Of course, the more ice you add, the more watered-down your tea can be, which is good for those who like a more subtle taste with their iced tea.

2. Experiment Creative Tea Recipes

A bronze metallic mug of iced tea with a lemon slice

Why limit yourself to a traditional glass of iced tea when there's a world of tantalizing flavors waiting to be explored? Use National Iced Tea Day as an opportunity to experiment with unique tea recipes. It's like making potions, but with tea!

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Fruity iced tea: Brew a tropical fruit tea blend and add diced fresh fruits like mango, pineapple, and berries for a vibrant and refreshing twist.

  • Herbal versions: Steep chamomile, mint, and lavender tea, then infuse it with a touch of honey and a splash of lemon for a soothing and calming summer drink. Serve it over ice with a sprig of fresh lavender or a lemon slice for garnish.

  • Iced chai latte: Prepare a strong spiced chai tea, let it cool, and then mix it with milk and a touch of sweetener. Serve over ice for a creamy treat, and consider adding some cinnamon.

  • Sparkling iced tea: Take your iced tea to the next level by adding some fizz. Brew your favorite tea, let it cool, and then pour it over ice in a glass. Top it off with sparkling water or soda for a bubbly and refreshing beverage. Experiment with different tea flavors to find your perfect sparkling combination.

3. Do a Blindfolded Iced Tea Taste Tasting

Two people with paper cups getting iced tea from a large glass water cooler with lemonade iced tea

Visit your local grocery store or specialty tea shop (many of which are probably having discounts for National Iced Tea Day!) and grab well-known favorites and flavors you've never tried before. (Tip: Try an Asian supermarket and grab some cold iced teas off the shelf, too). When you get home, set up a fun and interactive tea tasting station outdoors, blindfold your friends, and let the games begin!

To start, each person can take a stab at guessing the brand you are drinking, or try different flavors and let everyone rate their personal preferences. Can you choose the same brand twice? Is another brand appealing to you more that you're blindfolded than the one you deem to be your favorite? Would you try something you never would have tried otherwise had you actually seen the flavor/blend? There are so many ways to play!

4. Take a Trip Down Iced-Tea-Nostalgia-Lane

A woman serving a tray with two glasses of iced tea

National Iced Tea Day is the perfect opportunity to transport yourself back to childhood with a version of iced tea you would have drank back then. Of course, it depends on when you grew up. But, we're from the 90s, and there were some EPIC iced teas from back then that we haven't tasted in a minute...

  • Snapple (Remember the Snapple Facts under the cap?)

  • Arizona Iced Tea (Still 99 cents!)

  • Arnold Palmer (Half-and-Half for the win!)

  • Lipton Brisk (Oh, that name....)

  • 4C Instant Iced Tea (Sugar 101!)

Okay, some of these are not just nostalgic, but a little outdated particularly for health reasons/an overwhelming amount of sugar. So, maybe a better idea is to make your own homemade version, and slap a throwback label on it.

5. Start an Iced Tea Stand

A lemonade stand under a tree

And, while on the topic of nostalgia...

Sure, lemonade stands were really fun back in the day, but what about an iced tea stand? (Or, both if you have to!). This is a great way to teach kids about entrepreneurship, and kindness, too. Why not have them donate some of the proceeds to a charity of their choice, or simply make some iced tea to donate to people working outside all day?

However you go about it, everyone loves a neighborhood iced tea stand, though you could really set it up anywhere! (Just make sure you're not violating any rules!)

6. Throw an Iced-Tea-Themed Party (Or, a Tea Party!)

A person in a floral dress serving iced tea out of a ceramic tea kettle that looks like a lemon

Who doesn't love an excuse to throw a themed party? You don't need to have a one-year old, a gender reveal, an engagement party, or any of the Instagram-worthy excuses to have fun this summer. You just need a random holiday like National Iced Tea Day!

Start by checking out ideas on Pinterest,. Encourage your guests to dress up for the fun, too! Set up a beautiful tea station with an assortment of tea flavors, stylish teapots, and vintage teacups and saucers. And, a backdrop and photobooth with props to take some pictures!

For the menu, offer a delightful array of iced-tea-inspired treats. Think cucumber and cream cheese tea sandwiches, tea-infused cupcakes, refreshing fruit salads with a drizzle of tea-infused syrup, and mini iced tea jello shots for the adults. It's your party, so have fun!

7. Make Some Cool Treats with a Tea Twist

A woman eating an iced tea popsicle

Get inventive in the kitchen by incorporating tea into frozen treats. Here are a few ideas to try:

  • Iced tea popsicles: Brew your favorite tea and sweeten it to taste. Pour the tea into popsicle molds and freeze until solid. Enjoy a refreshing tea popsicle on a hot summer day.

  • Tea sorbet: Create a yummy and fruity sorbet by blending brewed fruit-flavored tea, sugar, and lemon juice. Freeze the mixture until it reaches the desired consistency, and serve in bowls or cones for a refreshing and light treat.

  • Tea smoothie: Blend chilled brewed tea, frozen fruits, yogurt, and a sweetener of your choice to create a flavorful and nutritious tea smoothie. Experiment with different tea flavors and fruit combinations for endless possibilities.

  • Iced tea-infused slushies: Blend brewed tea, ice, and your favorite fruit syrups or sweeteners to create refreshing tea-infused slushies. Serve in tall glasses with a straw and experience the icy coolness of a flavorful tea beverage.

We're not too confident that all of these will turn out perfectly, but why not give it a go?

8. Whip Up Iced Tea Cocktails/Mocktails

A bartender serving an iced tea cocktail

Can't have a tea-themed party without some fancy iced tea drinks! For those who enjoy iced tea "on the rocks", why not celebrate National Iced Tea Day with tea-infused cocktails and mocktails?

Here are a few ideas:

  • Jasmine marTEAni: Brew jasmine green tea and let it cool. Mix the tea with vodka, elderflower liqueur, and a splash of fresh lime juice. Shake well and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a jasmine flower for a sophisticated and fragrant cocktail.

  • Sparkling iced tea spritzer: Brew your favorite tea and let it cool. Mix the tea with sparkling water, a squeeze of lemon, and a touch of sweetener. Serve over ice and garnish with a lemon twist or a sprig of fresh herbs.

  • Berry bliss: Muddle fresh berries (such as strawberries, raspberries, or blackberries) with a splash of simple syrup. Mix the berry mixture with brewed black tea, a splash of lemon juice, and a generous pour of your favorite vodka. Shake well with ice and strain into a glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a skewer of fresh berries.

  • Peachy paloma: Brew peach-flavored black tea and let it cool. In a shaker, combine the tea with tequila, grapefruit juice, and a squeeze of lime. Shake vigorously with ice and strain into a salt-rimmed glass filled with ice cubes. Top with a splash of club soda and garnish with a peach slice.

  • Minty green tea mojito: Brew a mint-infused green tea and let it cool. In a glass, muddle fresh mint leaves with lime wedges and a spoonful of sugar. Fill the glass with crushed ice and pour in the mint tea. Add a splash of rum and stir well. Top with a splash of soda water and garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.

  • Hibiscus margarita: Brew hibiscus tea and let it cool. In a shaker, combine the tea with silver tequila, fresh lime juice, and a splash of agave syrup. Shake vigorously with ice and strain into a salt-rimmed glass filled with ice cubes. Garnish with a lime wedge or a hibiscus flower.

9. Take Iced Tea Outdoors

Two glass mugs of iced tea on a table on the beach

What better way to celebrate National Iced Tea Day than by taking your icy beverage outdoors? Whether you're hitting the beach, lounging by the pool, or going on a hike, iced tea is the perfect companion for your outdoor escapades. Not a bad idea for a tea date, either!

Pack a cooler with your favorite iced tea drinks or a Thermos. Sip on your iced tea as you soak up the sun, feeling the coolness of the drink quench your thirst and invigorate your senses. Or, buy some iced tea on the go with all these awesome discounts...

10. Take Advantage of National Iced Tea Day Freebies!

two iced beverages in plastic cups with a straw on a wooden serving tray with a cafe backdrop

What's a fun national holiday without the perks? While specific promotions may vary each year, here are a few examples of places that have offered iced tea freebies or discounts in the past on National Iced Tea Day:

  • Restaurant chains: Though we'd much rather support local businesses, if you're looking for a quick iced tea discount, many fast food chains might join in on the National Iced Tea Day celebrations. And, there are several local and regional chains tend to participate more so. For instance, McAlister's Deli is known for having delicious iced tea, and you can enjoy one tea a day for a whole month with their Tea Pass — not just on National Tea Day or in July, but any month of the year. And, Bojangles, a popular fast-food chain in the South has been known to offer a free Legendary Iced Tea on National Iced Tea Day in the past, and $1 a day for the tea for the rest of the month. But, it changes from year to year, so check their website or social media channels for any announcements or promotions.

  • Dunkin' Donuts: If you have the Dunkin' app, enjoy a free medium iced tea deal with your purchase on National Iced Tea Day at participating locations.

  • Panera Bread: Not National Iced Tea Day related perse, but Panera Bread has their Unlimited Sip Club membership, which means that if you join, you can get unlimited iced tea! There are some rules, though. Check it out here.

  • Gas Stations/convenience Ssores: Pop into your local Wawa, 7-Eleven, or whatever gas station or convenience store is in your town and see if they are offering any discounts for National Iced Tea Day!

  • Starbucks: Starbucks has been known to participate in National Iced Tea Day by offering special promotions on their iced tea beverages. In the past, they have run buy-one-get-one (BOGO) offers or discounts on their iced tea menu. Keep an eye on the Starbucks' website, mobile app, or their social media channels for any announcements or promotions specific to National Iced Tea Day.

  • The Pure Leaf: This company just announced they are selling their iced tea with a chance to win "ice" (yes, real diamond earrings) on the side! Details here.

  • Tea stores: David's Tea has celebrated National Iced Tea Day by offering free iced tea samples and drinks in their stores. Teavana has also had some promos in the past.

  • Local tea shops and cafés: Local tea shops and cafés often participate in National Iced Tea Day by offering discounts or special promotions. Check with your favorite local establishments to see if they are running any deals or freebies on the holiday.

And, while National Iced Tea Day is celebrated in the States, we love promoting local. So, for fellow Americans living in Portugal or Spain, check out this special promo!

  • Porteagal: Agnieszka and Gustavo, the founders of Porteagal, are tea enthusiasts on a mission to share the joy of tea. "Tea isn't just a beverage to us—it's a ritual that connects people, promotes wellness, and sparks meaningful moments."

Their teas can be used to make delicious iced teas. For 10% off your entire order, click the link here or use the discount code: Teaparati

Know of any other National Iced Tea Day promos? Let us know in the comments!

How Will You Spend National Iced Tea Day?

A woman pouring iced tea from a pitcher into another woman's glass as they sit outside at a picnic table

Whether it's a reminder to grab an iced tea (something you may not have had in a while), or an excuse to throw a full on iced tea extravaganza, National Iced Tea Day is a fun little way to enjoy another day of summer. We hope these ideas — and, little perks — will allow you to sip on some tea on June 10th!

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