Arnold Palmer: Nothing personal, but if you order an Arnold Palmer at my table I will be forced to get up and leave. Actually, scratch that, it is personal. What are you—three years old? Do you know what those pansy-ass Europeans give their children when they are learning to drink alcohol? Lemonade mixed with beer. Here in America we simply leave a bottle of gin out in plain view and look the other way, and we don’t put lemon Kool-Aid in our iced tea. It’s worse than ordering coffee Americano, as bad as soda with a single-malt Scotch. I’d prefer to be seen with someone putting A-1 on their Beef Wellington.
Green: When the most omnipresent version of chilled green tea is sold by Lipton and typically carries the qualifier “Diet,” you have to question the cognitive dissonance of the people who pick it up, considering that green tea was largely made popular because of its health benefits. But, hey, I’m sure that diet thing will work out for you.
Fruit-flavored: You order wine spritzers, don’t you?
Made with a powder – It’s fitting that Nestea powder and its ilk have such a strong foothold in Latin American nations, given that discovering someone drinks “tea” made from a powder awakens in me the same overriding fervor to educate and convert that must have gripped the more religiously motivated of the conquistadors. But their crusade was based on ignorance and elitism. Mine is based purely on benevolence and a heightened sense of justice.
Made with a syrup – You are everything that is wrong with this great nation. What does it say about a restaurant when the task of dumping a pile of tea bags into a coffee filter and pressing a button is deemed too inefficient for its business model? What does it say about you that you financially support it? My hands shake with fury at the damage you are doing to our society. Civilizations have fallen over lesser injustices.
Served with a lime: I’m not going to judge you. I’m going to assume you’ve spent too much time in Texas, but I’m not going to judge you.
Served with a lemon At last, we come to the most pure form of this celebrated nectar. The taste is refined yet understated—everything wine would be if wine critics could be trusted. You don’t know how good you have it: sitting in a restaurant, drinking free refills of heaven that arrive in half-gallon cups delivered by a smiling face who speaks only in affectionate personal pronouns. Honey. Sweetie. Darling. Dear. A beverage that is perfectly acceptable to be drunk so sickeningly sweet that you are faced with the very real possibility of a diabetic coma. You take it for granted, until you go to one of those godless regions that doesn’t even realize tea predates coffee by about 2,000 years. It’s a drink so American that a choice, your choice, of sweetener is an assumed part of the experience. And, whether you use a subtle hint of lemon or enough sugar to hit your daily recommended allotment in two sips, or even if you resort to a hit of the artificial stuff (all the self-destructive joys of cigarettes with none of the judgment), you are doing the right thing. Unless you use that hippy raw sugar crap that fittingly comes in a brown bag. I don’t care who you are, it is physically impossible to dissolve those stupid little crystals into a glass of iced tea, and a pox on the restaurants that believe otherwise.