Whether you call it an Arnold Palmer or a John Daly (sorry, John), the half iced tea, half lemonade refresher tastes that much better when you substitute sweet tea vodka for iced tea. But imbiber beware: These sweet tea sippers go down, as one reviewer put it, “absurdly easy.” Tea up with caution!
Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka
As used in the John Daly at Encore Beach Club, $15.
Muscadine grapes give this sweet tea-flavored vodka from Wadmalaw Island, S.C., a leg-up in the down-home department. Adding to this, Firefly uses only locally grown tea and Louisiana cane sugar, and just introduced a Sweet Tea Bourbon using authentic Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey from Buffalo Trace Distillery.
Red Square bartender Aaron Harmych likes his Firefly on the rocks with just a squeeze of lemon, but Matt Jensen of BarMagic prefers to drink his Firefly up, with a bit of water and some lemon wedges. fireflyvodka.com
Seagram’s Sweet Tea Vodka
As used in the Wet Tea Shirt at Wet Republic, $16.
Made with Indiana-grown grain (five-times distilled) and “mineral-rich water,” Seagram’s sweet tea vodka took the gold at the 2009 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
Tom Kunick of Rumor resort uses this sweet tea-flavored vodka to make frozen sweet peach sangria, with Pallini Peachcello, Schonauer apple liqueur, lemon juice and white cranberry-peach juice. Meanwhile, Tony Banawa of PT’s Gold on Horizon Ridge Parkway serves it with lemonade and a splash of 7Up. seagramssweettea.com
Jeremiah Weed Sweet Tea Vodka
As used in the Sweet Tea Martini at Blue Martini, $12.
Born of a bourbon tradition rarely seen beyond America’s Air Force bases (Jeremiah Weed bourbon is consumed almost exclusively by U.S. fighter pilots), Weed brings us a sweet tea vodka with the sort of rich, deep sweetness and fresh-brewed flavor that warrants a salute.
Scott Schubert of Memphis Championship Barbecue uses Jeremiah Weed sweet tea vodka in his Arnold Palmeretto—along with house-made lemonade and a shot of Amaretto Disaronno. jeremiahweed.com