Brit: Put the kettle on.
American: Americans don't have kettles.
Brit: Then how do you make tea?
American: We throw it in the harbor.
Actually, most of the tea we drink is iced, something like 80%. Like shrubs, iced tea began as an ingredient in a boozy colonial punch, until Temperance, Prohibition, and the 1904 World's Fair combined to popularize iced tea by mid-century (for more information, see this NPR piece.)
I love iced tea and in the fifteen or so years that I've been up north, I've noticed that iced tea--and actual good iced tea--has become widely available. And most of it is fresh brewed! You can even get sweet tea at a few places, though nothing like Texas sweet tea.
The stuff I make at home--and I'm making a pitcher right now--isn't quite as sweet. I used to like sun tea or cold steeped in the fridge, but I've read too much about it not being safe because the tea is not heated; fine--my way is quicker. (And you know how much I like a cup of hot tea and an afternoon tea party), but that's not what we're celebrating today.) Anyway you like it though, it's wonderful . . . and perhaps even more American than baseball and apple pie.
Mommy Hungry's Iced Tea
2-3 tea bags (right now I'm using two Lipton decaf and one Celestial Seasonings Tangerine Dream; lemon and mint are good, too.)
2 sugar cubes, to taste
2 cups boiling water
4 cups ice
Steep tea bags and sugar cubes in boiling water (I used it straight out of my Keurig) for approximately 2-3 minutes. Remove tea bags and stir until all sugar is dissolved. Pour into heat-proof pitcher filled halfway with ice cubes. Drink.