Lebanese iced tea (from Baton Rouge or New Orleans?)

Barry Popik bapopik at GMAIL.COM
Thu Nov 8 17:56:54 UTC 2007

LEBANESE ICED TEA--444 Google hits
Lebanese iced tea appears to be--surprisingly--from Baton Rouge or New
Orleans. I don't have access to FACTIVA or Lexis-Nexis, and any 1980s
or good 1990s citations are welcome.
"Lebanese iced tea" is a strong candidate for inclusion in a revised
Dictionary of American Regional English, as the drink appears to be
regional to Louisiana. It also should be considered for OED, a
dictionary so miserable on food that it still does not have an entry
for even "Thai iced tea" (102,000 Google hits).If Jesse doesn't
consider these food terms "even remotely lexicographical," he should
apply for another job.
I consider finding and recording "Lebanese iced tea" just as exciting
and rewarding as "the whole nine yards." I realize that Ron Butters
might not be interested at all, but it offends me that he trivializes
my work here for all to see, that my one food post a day here on
American regional food is mucking up the system for everyone, and that
Blackberry users just can't delete it fast enough. DARE and HDAS
contain an enormous amount of food terms. For Louisiana, it's part of
the culture. I don't know if OED or DARE will have "trinity," either,
but if they don't, these dictionaries are much the worse for omitting
"trinity." I thought my "trinity" post and the related New York Times
video story was entertaining, and I don't like to be ridiculed for it.
I haven't posted "not remotely lexicographical" American food terms
such as "white chili" or "fish tacos" or "dirty rice" or "Cobb salad"
here, and I don't think I'll post much here at all in the future, and
I suppose it'll be a much better list.
Entry from November 08, 2007
Lebanese Iced Tea
Iced tea is a favorite drink in the South. Sweet tea is sometimes
called "the champagne of the South."

Lebanese iced tea is made with rosewater and pine nuts and is served
at Middle Eastern restaurants—surprisingly—in Baton Rouge and New
Orleans, Louisiana. Lebanese iced tea has spread to Texas and is now
being requested at restaurants throughout the United States. It is not
known who invented "Lebanese iced tea," which appears in print by

Lebanese Iced Tea
One of the most refreshing and surprising drinks is Lebanese Iced Tea.
Nothing too fancy, Lebanese iced tea is composed of basic sweetened
iced tea, and stirred together with the intriguing flavor of
rosewater, just a splash. The heady aroma and floral flavor are exotic
and refreshing. When done right, the taste is subtle and not too
perfumey. Nile Café's version hits the spot to perfection. Their iced
tea has body, good hearty flavor that's mildly sweet, a slight tang
from lemon, the softest whiff of rose and a garnish of crunchy pine
nuts for texture and a tasty, rich contrast.

Lebanese Iced Tea
6 ounces of freshly made iced tea sweetened to taste
1/2 teaspoon of rosewater
1 teaspoon raw pine nuts

Pour sweetened iced tea into a tall glass filled with ice.  Add the
rosewater and stir to combine.  Sprinkle with pine nuts and serve.

Where Y'At (New Orleans Monthly Entertainment Magazine)
Mona's Café
Marigny, Uptown, Carrollton, Mid-City
Mona's fantastic falafels, spicy hummus and killer kebabs can now be
found all over the city thanks to a welcome expansion. The exotic
Lebanese iced tea is one of the place's unique trademarks. The service
with a smile and the reasonable prices will have you looking for the
Mona's nearest you.

16 March 1990, The Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA):
Lebanese iced tea (75 cents) was tasty and invigorating. Orange, lemon
and rose water were added to the tea. It was sweetened just enough,
and we noted pine…

Google Groups: rec.food.drink.tea
Newsgroups: rec.food.drink.tea
From: Bill or Ellen Estevens
Date: 1999/03/23
Subject: Re: green tea with mint

Just a thought: for some odd, wonderful reason Baton Rouge (where I
live) is blessed with a great many very good Lebanese restaurants. The
beverage of choice is "Lebanese Iced Tea" which is made with black
tea, rose water and lemon, with pine nuts floating in it. Great stuff,
and very refreshing in our heat here in Louisiana.

Google Groups: rec.food.drink.tea
Newsgroups: rec.food.drink.tea
From: billmailn... at earthlink.net (Bill)
Date: Fri, 21 Dec 2001 03:22:25 GMT
Local: Thurs, Dec 20 2001 10:22 pm
Subject: Re: New Orleans Tea Review

i live in Baton Rouge, sixty miles up the road. While we have a full
range of cajun restaurants—real ones—and the coffee consumption
herabouts is astronomical, Baton Rouge really likes Lebanese and Greek
cuisine (why is a long story. maybe some other time. It wasn't like
this 20 years ago.) There are about twenty really great lebanese
restaurants in baton Rouge, where the drink of choice is lebanese iced
tea which is quite tasty. We drink it by the gallon. Lebanese iced tea
is black tea with lemon and rose water, lightly sweetened, not too
cold, with a teaspooon of raw pine nuts floating on the top. Great!
Don't knock it if you haven't tried it—and I don't generally care for
iced tea since most of what you usually get is either a mix or they
haven't cleaned the dispenser in months and it's fermenting or
something. But no kidding, Lebanese iced tea is different.

Gambit Weekly - Cuisine
By Sara Roahen
10 08 02
Learning that the unsweetened, rose-flavored Lebanese iced tea had
been made with Lipton was as much a surprise as hearing that those
illegible Arabic newspapers had come from Chicago. Jerusalem Deli was
one of the city's first Middle Eastern restaurants when owner Dirar
Mousa opened it 15 years ago. If it was exotic then, it's part of the
landscape today, feeding the city's expanding affection for a cuisine
that's similar in spirit to the soul food of every nation.

Austin Chronicle (October 3, 2003)
The Pyramids
6019 N. I-35 (at Highway 290 East), 302-9600
Raves go out for the Lebanese Iced Tea ($1.50), sweet and lemony, with
a hint of rose water, as well as the Turkish Coffee ($1.95): intense,
lightly sweetened espresso with a hint of cardamom.

eGullet Forums
Sep 29 2004, 08:31 AM
At Mona's in New Orleans, a great little Middle Eastern Restaurant on
Banks, they serve Lebanese Iced Tea. I was wondering if this beverage
is something that is regularly served or if it is strictly a signature
beverage of that restaurant. They add rose water to the iced tea and
then finish it with toasted pine nuts.

I have tried to make it for myself but the amount of rosewater is very
hard to figure out. The flavor is just enough to taste it, but not so
much it is objectionable. And I never had to add sugar.

The pine nuts gave it a wonderful finish. I guess it could be
described as a Middle Eastern version of an RC cola with peanuts.

1 July 2005, New Orleans (LA) Magazine, "Table Talk" by Lorin Gaudin, pg. 28:
Refreshing Lebanese iced tea (basic black tea splashed with rose water
and sprinkled with pine nuts) is a fitting counterpoint to all the
bright herbs, spices and flavors of Middle Kaslern food.
(Mona's on Banks Street—ed.)

1 November 2005, New Orleans (LA) Magazine, "Capital Cuisine" by Lorin
Gaudin, pg. 48:
If the significant number of Greek-Lebanese restaurants in Baton Rouge
has escaped your notice, well, that would be surprising. The local
leaders are Serop's, Arzi's and Roman's. We hit several and happily
found that the Serop's on Perkins Road has the original chef from the
original Serop's on Government Street (now La Carreta's) in the
kitchen. Serop's also has gyro sandwiches, citrusy chicken shawarma,
chunky baba ghanouj, silky smooth hummus and the best
rose-water-scented Lebanese iced tea - cool, fresh, tart, sweet and
gently perfumed, all at the same time.

January 17, 2006
What a Nut
My young son recently asked me about pine nuts, as he fished them out
of his glass of Lebanese iced tea. "What are these things?" "Do they
come from pine cones?" Okay , okay, here's the scoop. Tiny
pale-colored pine nuts come from the inside of pine cones. Extracting
them is difficult and thus the sky-high price tag. Nonetheless, pine
nuts have a delicate, earthy flavor. Pine nuts add that elusive flavor
to pesto, have a delcious crunch when sprinkled on vegetables and
salads. Pan-roasting brings out more of their nutty flavor and added
to a fluffy rice pilaf, are a delicious compliment. Raw, pine nuts are
also great flavor booster to a glass of lemony, sweet, rose-water
laced Lebanese iced tea.

Chowhound - Los Angeles Area
Lebanese Iced Tea
My family and I just returned from a Baton Rouge/New Orleans trip. Our
first night in Baton Rouge we ate in a Lebanese and Greek Restaurant
(Albasha's) where we had Lebanese Iced Tea. It was delicious and a
perfect way to combat the heat and humidity. Does anyone know of any
places out here that serves it? It tasted like it was flavored with
rose water and completely unlike anything I've ever had out here. Any
help would be appreciated. Thanks!
mikeyas Aug 15, 2007 08:44AM

Yelp Austin
Lebanese Iced Tea
Toby M. says:
Hey everyone, I'm asking this on behalf of someone moving here from
NOLA. They've got a favorite drink: Lebanese Iced Tea. Basically it's
iced tea, rosewater, and some pine nuts. However I can't find a single
place in the yelp directory that lists such a drink. Anyone know where
they could find such?

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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