Q: "iced tea" -- 18th century?

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Wed Jul 15 21:58:28 UTC 2009

The earliest OED quotations for "iced tea" are
1877 and 1880 (and for "iced coffee",
1879).  "Iced water" appears in 1673 and "iced
liquors" in 1775.  What say the experts today
about the appearance of "iced tea"?  Any
connection with 18th-century Charleston, S.C.?

The ADS-L archives contain over a hundred
messages containing "ïced tea".  Browsing
quickly, the earliest date I see is 1852, in a
message of 29 Jul 1999 09:57 (from Barry, I believe):

LADIES' REPOSITORY, January 1852, pg. 34, col. 1:
Throughout the summer, ices are sold in the
streets of every Russian town; and, not only iced
water, iced wine, and iced beer, but even iced
tea is drank in immense quantities.  [Making of America database]

Google Books associates the same quotation with
Charles Dickens, via "Home and Social Philosophy:
or, Chapters in Every-day Topics. From 'Household
Words,' Edited by Charles Dickens", also 1852
(NY: G. P. Putnam).  And with "Panorama of St.
Petersburg", by J.G. Köhl, also 1852.

(The instance in "The Phrenological journal and
miscellany" must be spurious.  Although the title
page reads 1837, the page in question is from
something else altogether Pakistani; see page 765
of 967 and following  The page with "iced tea"
[unnumbered, as far as I can tell] contains
phrases such as "A corporation president",
"semi-coma", "post-luncheon slumps" that do not sound 1837-ish.)

There seem to be many quotations from circa 1873 on.

Google Books claims 1827, Domestic Economy, and
Cookery, By Lady, Adam Matthew Publications,
[title page says "London: Printed for Longman,
Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green, Paternoster-Row,
1827], p. 589:  "Iced Teas, Coffee, and
Chocolate" [recipe title].  BUT, the recipe is in
a section titled "Ices", and it (and the next,
"Iced Water Coffee") is an ice[d] cream:  "Put
four pints of good cream on the fire, with eight
yolks and a quarter of a pound of sugar; let it
thicken, turning it with a whisk. Dissolve half a
pound of vanilla or chocolate, and mix it in
well; strain, cool, and ice it.  [No mention of
tea in this recipe!!  And also not a drink.]
      Elsewhere, this book has:  Page
148:  "Those who have not tasted raw frozen fish
in Russia, nor iced cream coffee or tea at
Venice, with a long draught of iced water after
it ..."  [No commas in list.  This tea too sounds like an ice, not a drink.]


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

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