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May 26, 2009

Relief from Casual Water

Filed under: Tea — Mr. Henry @ 8:12 am


On a golf course if water is temporary, that is, if the course designer did not place it there as a deliberate hazard, it is called casual. If you hit your ball into it, on your next shot you can get relief, that is, you may pick up your ball and drop it one club length away from the water.

In the whole of Florida, however, there is no relief from casual drinking water. Florida tap water is naturally sulfurous and unnaturally chlorinated. Pick your poison, vacationer.


Water, water every where
And all the boards did shrink
Water, water every where
Nor any drop to drink


Ya’ll know it’s an albatross of a problem.

Although bottled water may not taste sulfurous or chlorinated, it still harbors that plastic aroma, plastic that pollutes landfills. When it’s 87 degrees and 97% humidity outside, however, you’ve simply got to drink plenty of water.

Steer clear of Gatorade, whatever you do. Mr. Henry understands that down here Gatorade has been used in enhanced interrogation techniques – Gatorboarding. Very effective.

Iced tea remains the savior, the universal donor. Try to avoid “sweet tea,” too, for obvious reasons. (Sugar micedtea.jpegakes you thirstier.) After a few days in the Sunshine State you begin to crave tea with top notes of sulfur and chlorine.

Add a squeeze of lemon for a tart, minerally aftertaste, what connoisseurs of sauvignon blanc affectionately call “cat pee.”

Mr. Henry’s own recipe is to put several tea bags (English breakfast) in a big pitcher filled with water left to steep slowly in the refrigerator. Because the tea develops no bitterness, you need neither milk nor sugar.


  1. Iced Tea is the house wine of the South! As a true southern belle, I was raised on sweet tea, the more sugar the better. I wasn’t allowed colas because they would “stunt my growth” but I could have all of the tea I wanted. I have now learned to appreciate my tea unsweetened. In learning that I found a wonderful world of flavors… Earl Grey hot or cold, Oolong, Darjeeling, Breakfast tea, orange pekoe, black pekoe. Try them all hot or cold. Add flavors like orange zest, a miniscule amount of honey, extra strong brew cut with sparkling water instead of a cola.

    Comment by Jennie — May 26, 2009 @ 8:08 pm

  2. awww, Mr. Henry, why not just submit and have an Arnold Palmer?

    Comment by pixie — May 30, 2009 @ 8:13 am

  3. Mr. Henry does not drink sweet drinks, period, full stop.

    Sugared tea does not cleanse the palate. Mildly astringent tannins of lightly brewed tea seem to wash the tongue. The meal concludes with a long finish, obviating cravings for dessert.

    Anyway, Arnold Palmer had a funky unorthodox golf swing, which like his lemonade iced tea was one he made up himself.

    Comment by Mr. Henry — May 30, 2009 @ 11:19 am

  4. I make Sun Tea, which is like your Refrigerator Tea but involving sitting out in direct sunlight for a few hours. Also bitterness-free, even with the really cheap teabags you buy in the 500-pack. And it’s pretty much the only thing you can use those for anyway.

    Comment by raincoaster — June 5, 2009 @ 8:40 am

  5. Mr. Henry:

    I love this blog (indeed, any writing by the Manolo and his coterie), and I was curious as to whether you’d written about tea. I found only two entries in this category and decided to ring the bell a bit.

    Have you thought of delving into experiencing connoisseur-level tea? The world of tea is seductive in its depth, subtlety, and variety of experience, and I keep thinking that serious foodies would dive in if they had any inkling of what they were missing. Tea can be as delightful an obsession as great bread, or chocolate, or wine, or fine restaurants, beer, or exotic ingredients to cook with at home, or….

    A quite serious problem is that at most great restaurants, tea is an afterthought (if a thought at all); and to find a great, mind-blowing cup, one must go a bit afield. There are some great tea shops (about chain mall stores, the tea equivalent of Starbucks, the less said, the better), but probably the best tea would be drunk at home, among good friends. The kind of tea experience I hope you’ll discover is not about doilies, or flowery cups, or tiny sandwiches paired with low- or mid-quality leaves mixed with fruits and spices; rather, it’s extraordinary Camellia sinensis leaves, undiluted and in all their naked glory, brought to a high art form by quite literally thousands of years of love, care, skill, and human ingenuity cooperating with nature.

    One consequence of the lack of decent tea in serious restaurants is that enthusiasts have to look long and hard to find great, world-class leaves to imbibe. This used to be a real problem, but technology has been a great boon. So we’ve developed an active Internet presence, with a community of bloggers and writers who live sort of in parallel to the wine and foodie world. We look to one another for recommendations and descriptions of amazing teas that can easily be found online, which we use to help shape our buying decisions and refine our enjoyments.

    Because of your passion for food and gustatory pleasures, Mr. Henry, I do hope you will seriously indulge in this world-class enjoyment that you’ve only glancingly touched on here on the Manolo’s Food Blog.

    Cheers, and happy steeping!

    Steven Knoerr
    “The 39 Steeps” blog

    Comment by Steven Knoerr — August 5, 2009 @ 12:13 pm

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