Covers & Cocktails: Southern Hospitality

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and have recovered from your food comas! Now, I have mentioned before that I hail from Florida and while that may conjure images of Florida Man or sunny beaches, I grew up in North Florida. And North Florida is a whole ‘nother beast. It’s essentially South Georgia, which is why this week’s cocktail inspiration was such a siren song for me.

I have a complicated relationship with my home state. I kind of hate it, but there are things about the South that I dearly miss. Fireflies. Publix. Sweet tea. And Sweet Tea and Sympathy by Molly Harper is like a balm for my sometimes homesick soul. The drink I made is incredibly simple and versatile. We all have our drinking idiosyncrasies, so I like making something that can be personalized to individual tastes. It’s a peach Arnold Palmer that I’m calling Southern Hospitality.

Sweet Tea and Sympathy
A | BN | K | AB
With sweet tea in the title, it was a given that I’d be including that in the drink. Let me warn you though that this is going to venture into rant territory for a minute.

New Englanders, listen up. Giving me sugar packets with my iced tea is not how sweet tea is made. Not even close. I end up with lightly sweetened tea, with sporadic sips of grainy sugar still undissolved at the bottom of my glass. To make actual sweet tea, you have to brew it hot and incorporate the sugar during that process. Then, let it cool and pop it in the fridge. I remember when I first moved here and was told I could “sweeten in myself.” I was aghast.

Lemonade also makes me think of the South in that you might think it’s sweet, but Southern hospitality has a bit of tartness to it. A liquid version of “bless your heart,” if you will. Lemonade conjures images of porch swings and the cruel humidity that comes with summer (and most other seasons).

The book takes place in Georgia, which is where the peach element comes in. I mention in the most recent Hide Your Wallet that the set up reminds me of the movie Sweet Home Alabama with Reese Witherspoon and I’m happy to report that I wasn’t too far off the mark.

Ingredients for a Southern Hospitality cocktail


Shopping list:
Lemon vodka
Sweet tea
Peach juice or syrup

6 oz peach juice
5 oz sweet tea
4 oz vodka

You can easily just pour this over ice and give it a stir. Or if you need to work out some aggression, use a shaker to mix it all up before pouring it into a glass.

Modifications and notes:

  • As I mentioned before, this drink is incredibly customizable. You can switch up the flavors by using lemonade and sweet tea vodka, though I personally find that sweet tea vodka tastes remotely like sweet tea. Or…use both vodkas for more of a punch and then add regular sweet tea and peach juice.
  • Regarding the proportions, I know it looks like a lot. I wanted to fill my mason jar glass (naturally), so I used that amount. Adjust as needed for however big or small your drinking jar is.
  • The peach juice or should I saw “peach nectar” I used was found in the organic section. It’s a rather light taste, so you have to use a bit of it to really taste any peach flavor. You might be better off finding a peach syrup or using the juice from canned peaches for a richer, thicker flavor.
  • Though you’re free to use whatever sort of vodka you want, I really do recommend Deep Eddy Lemon Vodka. They also have some other flavors I’m dying try like Ruby Red Grapefruit. They do a great job of packing their vodka with significant flavor.
  • If you’re blessed to live by a Publix, you can definitely use some of their premade sweet tea rather than brewing your own.

A mason jar of Southern Hospitality on a gingham cloth next to a copy of Sweet Tea and Sympathy by Molly Harper

Drink up!


Comments are Closed

  1. Jean Russell says:

    Amusing typo in the proportions, “peace juice”! If I drank one of these, I’d be very peaceful!!

  2. Amanda says:

    @Jean Russell: Fixed! I’d like to note that I write these posts directly after “taste testing” the recipes. 😛

  3. Yota says:

    I grew up in St. Augustine and have since moved to the Midwest. I feel you on the South Georgia thing and on missing Publix with all my heart. Publix Peach Tea used to be my crack.

    Pre moving to Ohio I weaned myself off of sweet tea in preparation of exactly what you described. I can now drink tea unsweetened. *gasp*

  4. Heather S says:

    I grew up in the Panhandle, right on the coast.

  5. Ren Benton says:

    Publix is the ONLY thing I miss about Florida. They’re building one in my dinky Tennessee town, and I will be there when the doors open, weeping and hugging strangers as if I’ve been rescued from the unnatural disaster that is the local grocery alternative. We’ve made a day trip of the 80-mile drive to Nashville to get to the nearest Publix on more than one occasion.

    Sorry, but I’m triggered.

  6. Mara says:

    I live in SC and I love how you explain your part of Florida. I liked this book a lot, too. And while Publix is obviously the best, I have never ever liked sweet tea. Still this drink sounds very very appealing. Reminds me of my Grandma Louann (who was not a perfect Southern Baptist HA)

  7. Theresa says:

    Firefly make a sweet tea vodka that is amazing. Just add lemonade and it’s so good. The only downside is that you can’t really taste the alcohol…. a friend of mine had these as a drink at her wedding in the South and it was so good.

  8. LauraL says:

    Looks and sounds yummy, both the drink and the book!

    Firefly Sweet Tea vodka and Pellegrino lemon soda was a favorite front porch drink over the summer.

    My husband, the family food gatherer, fell in love with Publix while on a vacation in Savannah. They recently opened two stores within 45 minutes of our farm, a much anticipated event. Mr. L happily loads up his cooler for his “big shop” times at Publix.

  9. Deianira says:

    As someone living in northeast Florida (my husband’s a hometown boy, & given that he’s a partner in a professional firm, and, you know, I don’t want to leave him, I’ve been stuck here for 3 decades now), I salute you for getting out! The best I can manage is a 2- or 3-week annual trip somewhere sane!

  10. kitkat9000 says:

    Although I live in Maryland, many restaurants in my area only serve presweetened flavored teas I don’t like or want.

    I’ve solved the dilemma of insufficiently sweetened tea by carrying simple syrup with me in a leak proof squeeze bottle. Either that, or I ask for them to hit up the bar for it. Both work well.

  11. denise says:

    When I dropped off my kid at college in the South, I walked him to the Publix so he would know where to get great sweet tea and food in a pinch.

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