You will find that most southerners have a lifelong love affair with “sweet tea”. Not just any regular old iced tea, mind you, but true sweet tea. Chock full of sugar, it is enough to make any northerner say, “Holy cow! How much sugar is in this stuff?”
I actually heard that from my best friend this past summer. She is now a sweet tea fan, and I gave her the recipe over the phone. (:
Growing up, my mom made lots of sweet tea for my dad. She doesn’t like it herself, (egads! A southern belle who doesn’t like sweet tea!) and truthfully, when I was little, I didn’t much care for it either. Somehow though, the taste of it grew on me and by the time I was a teenager, I loved it! It is my favorite summertime drink. To me, there is nothing better on a hot sunny day than a big ol’ glass of sweet tea!
Now that I have sung the praises of this yummalicious beverage, I think it is time to share with you the way I make sweet tea. This is a little different than the way my mom makes it, but I prefer to make a simple syrup to mix into my tea first, rather than trying to make sure all my sugar gets melted in the pitcher. It works wonderfully!
Southern Sweet Tea
(for a 1 gallon pitcher)
- 6-8 tea bags (or 3 family sized bags) – Luzianne brand is best if you can find it
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 cups water
- Bring 3 cups of water to a boil, add tea bags, cover, and remove from heat. Let steep 10-15 minutes.
- While tea is steeping, take remaining 1 cup of water, and bring it to a boil in a small pan.
- Add sugar, and stir until it is completely dissolved. (it should be clear, and is now what is called a “simple syrup”)
- Remove tea bags from steeping pot, and stir in your simple syrup. Mix well.
- Pour sweetened tea into a 1 gallon pitcher, and finish filling with cold water.
- Pour into large glasses filled with ice, and enjoy!
*NOTE* – If you have an aversion to tea due to the bitterness factor, try adding ¼ tsp. (a small pinch) of baking soda to the tea before adding the simple syrup. It doesn’t change the taste, but will cut back on the bitterness.