First of all, the drink is correctly called “iced tea,” not “ice tea.” That settled, what to do with an iced-tea spoon has long been one of the minor mysteries of manners, stirring up many a heated debate. But if hosts were to serve the drink correctly in the first place, much of the consternation over the spoon would dissolve as quickly as the sugar it is intended to stir.
Iced tea is properly served in a tall glass with a tall spoon for stirring added-sugar; a drinking-straw; perhaps some fruit-garnish; and a small plate, preferably decorated with a tiny doily, beneath the glass. Served thus, there generally are no problems with how to handle a glass of iced tea: The spoon, after stirring the beverage, is placed to the right side of the glass onto the saucer.[Have no fear: The dish will not run away with the spoon!] But if no saucer is provided, logistical issues arise: The tall spoon remains in the glass but should be braced against the far rim of the glass with the fingers as the beverage is drunk with the straw—lest the handle of the spoon accidentally gouge a gentleman in his eye! Also, when no saucer is provided—and there is no reason not to provide one—the spoon is left in the glass, like the straw, when the beverage is finished. Never should the iced-tea spoon be placed onto the tabletop.