Often referred to as the “House Wine of the South”, sweet iced tea is a staple in most refrigerators year round, but especially in the summer months when steamy and sticky are two words frequently used to describe the weather.
Everyone has their special “secrets” for making sweet tea, and I’m no different. I make mine less sweet than the traditional glass and a bit stronger than even Lipton recommends. I also go to a bit more trouble dissolving the sugar in part of the water, then steeping the tea bags in another portion of the water. This is the old fashioned way I saw it done growing up and it seemed to work just fine back then. (You know the saying, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it”, don’t you?)
Of course, you can make your tea any way you like, this is simply a guideline if you’ve never made sweet iced tea before.
Even if we don’t all agree on exactly how to make it, one thing we can agree on is that nothing beats a tall glass of Refreshing Southern Sweet Tea over ice come summertime!
Refreshing Southern Sweet Tea
- 8 cups purified water
- 4 or 5 cup size tea bags, depending on how strong you like the finished product; we opt for a little on the strong side in our house, so I use 5 cup size tea bags (or 2 family size tea bags; I use Lipton tea.)
- 1/2 cup sugar (You can use more sugar, up to 1 cup, if you like your tea really sweet.)
- Lemon wedges, ice cubes and a sprig of fresh mint, if desired.
- Heat 2 cups of the water to boiling in a non-reactive saucepan, remove from the heat, then add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Set aside.
- Heat 2 additional cups of water to boiling and add the tea bags; steep 15 minutes, then remove tea bags and discard. (Do not squeeze the tea bags.)
- Combine sweetened water, tea-steeped water and remaining 4 cups unheated water in a large pitcher. Stir and chill.
- Serve over ice with a wedge of lemon and sprig of mint, if desired.