How to make Southern Sweet Tea
I am going to share my version of how to make Southern Sweet Tea and hope you enjoy it. Something to know about Sweet Tea is that everyone you meet in the South thinks their version is the best and there is always a little secret they use that you don’t know. I was born and raised in the South and I don’t think I know any two people who make it exactly the same. If you go to a restaurant, ask for sweet tea and they give you a funny look or don’t know what you are talking about just give it up and order soda because what they bring to your table is not going to come close to being what you think of as sweet tea.( If you’re interested in the history of Southern of food and drinks, check out Eating, Drinking, and Visiting in the South: An Informal History.)
Now this is one of those little secrets I wrote about in the opening up there. I always use a clean dish towel to cover the pan when I steep my tea. I have no idea why, other than that is the way my grandmother and mother did it and my mom insisted it be done this way. We have always had good sweet iced tea and I am one of those “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” kind of people about some things. Another big secret in how to make Southern sweet tea is the sugar must be added to the hot tea and not after the cool water is stirred in. This dates back to the time of sugar rationing and the women discovered that adding the sugar this way stretched it further and gave a much sweeter flavor while using a little less of their sugar stash. The baking soda is to avoid bitterness. You will not taste it in your tea.
Here my version of How to Make Southern Sweet Tea:
2 family size tea bags
8 cups of water
¾ cup sugar
A pinch of baking soda
A half gallon pitcher or jar
- Add just a pinch of baking soda to your pitcher.
- Bring 4 cups of water to boiling point.
- Remove from heat and add tea bags.
- Cover with a clean kitchen towel.
- Steep for 7-9 minutes depending on how strong you like your tea.
- Squeeze tea bags and discard.
- Add sugar to hot liquid stirring to dissolve.
- Pour the hot tea into your pitcher or jar.
- Stir in remaining 4 cups of water.
- Pour over ice and enjoy.
- I like mine with a lemon wedge, but this is optional.
Be sure to check the coupon database to see if there are any coupons available for the items on your ingredients list that you don’t have already!