Although I’m proud to be Canadian, I’ve spent most of my life in the South. That’s why I’ve developed a taste for sweet tea! It tastes delicious alongside a plate of traditional Southern fare, and is one of the most refreshing summer drinks. Its popularity is widespread across the southern states: nearly all the fast-food and sit-down restaurants carry it. If you ask for “tea” at Southern restaurants in my home state of Georgia, don’t expect hot tea in a china cup because you’ll be served a tall, ice-packed glass of sweet tea instead, often garnished with a lemon wedge. Some people love it so much that they drink it in the morning every day instead of coffee. Others always have a large jug of it ready for pouring. I’m not that much of a diehard, but I do like my tea sweet while Mom prefers hers unsweet.
Here’s some tips that even Canucks and Yankees can use to make tea your Southern friends will rave about! First, make sure you have strong tea. Use the large tea bags if you can, but if you can’t find them, use twice as many regular sized ones instead. Traditionally, sweet tea is caffeinated black tea, but you can experiment with flavors like Earl Grey, ginger-peach, raspberry, mint, or whatever you’d like.
Also, employ this special technique: dissolving the sugar into the tea while it’s still hot. Otherwise, you end up with grainy bits of sugar at the bottom of your glass that never dissolved. 😟 That’s an important step!
Feel free to adjust the amount of sugar to your taste. Please note that the tea tastes sweeter as it cools off, especially when it’s chilled in the fridge. 1 cup of sugar to 8 cups of tea tastes just right when it’s served immediately, but ends up pretty sweet once it’s fully chilled. Add more sugar if you’re serving your tea immediately, but cut it down a little if you’re chilling it for later.
Are you ready to relax on your front porch, sip a tall refreshing ice-cold glass of amber-colored sweet tea, and enjoy the beautiful weather? This recipe is super fast, super easy, and super delicious!Print
A quick, easy method for making the classic Southern beverage: sweet tea.
- 3 family-size black tea bags
- 8 cups filtered water
- 1 cup sugar
- Boil the filtered water.
- Pour the water over the tea bags into a heatproof pitcher.
- Steep for about 8 minutes until you have a strong, black tea.
- Remove the tea bags and immediately stir in the sugar. Add more or less to get your desired taste.
- Serve immediately poured over lots of ice, or chill in the fridge until desired.
If you want really strong tea, use additional tea bags instead of just increasing the steeping time.
Sweet tea gets sweeter as it cools, especially if it’s chilled in the fridge. Be wary of adding too much sugar at first, or you’ll end up with really sweet tea! ☺ It’s good to start with 3/4 cup to 1 cup and then add more if needed.