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Can We Offer You A Cool Drink? A ‘Mixology Tour’ Of Southern Cocktails, Soft Drinks, And Refreshments

23753103 – iced sweet tea close up with blue straw

The south has a reputation for its culture of hospitality, and with good reason. We like to visit with our neighbors, family, friends and loved ones. We’ll make conversation in company. And every gracious southern host or hostess knows that the cornerstone of a social call should include at least the offer of a cool drink — whether that’s a glass of water, or something a bit more refreshing.

This month, especially with the holiday season right around the corner, it’s likely you’re getting ready to host company, or expecting visits from neighbors and friends. So, in keeping with the ‘spirits’ of the season, let’s talk about the best southern drinks to offer. Consider this your unofficial mixology tour, and read on to learn more about some of the most storied southern drinks.

We think this list is sure to whet your appetite to take a tour, get your creative juices flowing with new treats to serve your guests, and inspire you with some great ideas for hosting on your own!

A Guided ‘Mixology Tour’ Of Favorite Southern Drinks

Sweet Tea — Was there any chance we could leave this off this list? In a word, no. Iced tea, with or without sweetner, is the non-alcoholic beverage most likely to be paired with a home-cooked southern meal. (Fun fact: Sweet tea was usually served with alcohol before Prohibition, and iced tea without alcohol became even more popular once alcohol was outlawed.) But more to the point, the south has a reputation for liking iced tea with a a serious side of extra sweet. We’ve even heard folks call things, “As Southern as sweet tea.” But did you know some folks argue that sweet tea isn’t really a southern thing at all? If you’re curious to know more about the history of sweet tea and its association with the south, check out this article from Serious Eats. Then stop over to this article from Food Network with more fun items only southerners know about tea.

Lemonade — The flavor of lemon is a staple in desserts across the south. It’s popular in drinks, too. It’s simple to make, with just three ingredients: ice cold water, fresh squeezed lemon, and sugar. This is a perfect drink to make and share, as children with lemonade stands will attest. We think that if you’re not much into cooking, it’s easy to whip up a batch so you can say to ‘made it yourself’ and offer it to friends. If you want to get even fancier, check out these recipes for lemonade and additional southern drinks.

Soft Drinks — This makes the list as an example of southern culture. Did you know that in many places, southerners will call any soft drink or soda a coke? If someone offers you a coke, they might even follow up by asking you what kind you want. Check out this article in Southern Living for more of the story behind this regional trait.

Mint Julep — No list of southern beverages is complete without a Mint Julep on the list, right? That’s certainly no surprise. This classic cocktail makes nearly every list we’ve found of southern libations. But what is surprising is how you can find the drink being elevated with new interpretations, attention to preparation, and quality ingredients from talented mixologists all through the region. No trip to the south is complete without a visit to an upscale restaurant or bar to try some of the new interpretations on the classics.

Bourbon — Again, another classic that is being used in elevated ways throughout the south and right here in Charleston, South Carolina. If you’re a fan of bourbon, check out these recipes from Southern Living. We also, again, encourage you to take a mixology tour to meet try elevated, artisan cocktails with this southern staple. Also, be sure to check out the recipe for the Charleston Bog in this list of southern cocktails from Food and Wine.

Finally, we have a bonus tip for you. If you are serious about sharing great times with old and new friends over a world-class quality drink, then we recommend you visit us here at Charleston Culinary Tours. We offer a mixology tour of some of the best bars in Charleston, South Carolina. You’ll learn more, have an elevated culinary experience in the heart of historic downtown, and make lasting memories.

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