Sweet Tea

You can’t make sweet tea by stirring sugar into a glass of unsweetened tea. 

You need a small saucepan to boil the water and steep the tea. It will probably be a battered-looking, well-used pan reserved exclusively for the task. To make a half-gallon pitcher (yes, there is usually a certain pitcher that is always used for tea and nothing else), heat about 2-3 cups water to boiling (some say a pinch of baking soda or a dash of salt will make the tea smooth-don’t worry about that if you like just a little kick), remove from heat, then put in 6-8 regular tea bags (or 2 family-size) with the tags hanging over the side of the pan. Steep tea until it is very dark. In the meantime, dump a cup of sugar, more or less (some actually use a cup and a half!), into the pitcher. When ready, pour the steeped tea over the sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add cold water to fill the pitcher and stir to mix.

You can refrigerate the tea before serving, but I like to pour the still-warm tea into a tall glass full of ice and enjoy that first sip as a warm-cold mix before swirling the glass to make the tea icy cold all through.

Just remember, never drink sweet tea through a straw. Do enjoy sweet tea year-round, but especially in the summertime. Every day.

This entry was posted in home and family, SOLSC 2012 Weekly, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Sweet Tea

  1. Sounds so cool and refreshing. Kinda makes me feel bad about putting three packets of Splenda into my unsweetened iced tea every morning.

    • newtreemom says:

      Don’t feel bad…I wrote about the Southern sweet tea I love…and wish I could have every single day, but the reality is…I often have the same as you (except I use Equal). Too much sugar otherwise…

  2. dana says:

    I have to confess I have never had sweat tea. You make it sound delightful.

  3. jee young says:

    I just had some sweet tea while I was visiting Memphis~! I was wondering how people made it…thanks for sharing this recipe with us!

  4. newtreemom says:

    Yes, you would surely get the real thing in Memphis!

  5. Lynn says:

    I’m not even a tea drinker and you made it sound so yummy!

  6. I have southern roots soaked in sweet tea. We moved to California so it wasn’t continued in my immediate family tradition. Those southern summers can be so HOT and HUMID so the idea of sweet tea provides cooling refreshment. I don’t think the McDonalds version is made with such care.

    • newtreemom says:

      McDonald’s is OK when you’re running around in a hot car, but a styrofoam cup with a straw just can’t provide same satisfaction as that tall glass or Mason jar handed to you by mama, or gramma, or Aunt Pauline, or Cud’n Trudell, or Miz Lizzie Mae, or your own best friend, when you’re sitting at their kitchen table…

  7. JenniferM says:

    Sweet tea is such a cultural “thing”! My cousins used to live out in the country in Southern Ohio, and they’ve been craving sweet tea ever since they moved to Arizona 10 years ago, because it’s not out there! When they came back to visit for my wedding, they couldn’t wait to go to Bob Evans (which also doesn’t exist out West!) to get some sweet tea! (Although, as you said, that’s not as good as homemade while sitting on the porch!)

  8. aruddteacher100 says:

    Why never drink sweet tea through a straw? Just wondering…your description sounds so refreshing! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Oh, I grew up in Missouri on sweet tea, & just don’t make it anymore, but you certainly brought back memories of porches and big jugs & chipped ice, which my grandfather did for ‘special’ evenings. It is good stuff!

    • newtreemom says:

      Nice that it made you think of your grandfather and special evenings. This is what I like about slice of life writng- the way it connects us and lets us share things that mean so much to us.

  10. Peg D says:

    Growing up we only had sweet tea. I didn’t know it came any other way. 🙂 When hubby and I strated dating I learned his family only had unsweetened. It was so bitter! I grew used to it and that is how we make it now. We fill up the pitcher, put the tea bags in and let it steep in the fridge. Now when I taste my mom’s I go into sugar shock. Now hot tea has sugar and milk. Yum! 🙂

    • newtreemom says:

      Hot tea with sugar and milk has some good memories for me, too. When we lived in the ex-pat community in Lima, Peru, many of our friends were British. We got to experience “high tea” at a fancy hotel. We also had a lovely tea time in the home of an elderly friend who took such delight in serving us. At the fellowship time in our church, hot tea with milk and sugar was at one end of the table, while coffee, cream and sugar were at the other end. Our then-preschool daughter thought she was so grown up having a spot of tea in her cup of milk and sugar!

  11. pamelahodges says:

    Sounds delicious. I wonder what it would taste like flavored with apple juice concentrate? as I don’t eat sugar. Thank you for the recipe.

  12. As southern as I am I also don’t drink sweet tea any more. Well, not often anyway. Usually once or twice a summer I give in and indulge. There is nothing finer. Your description made me smile -and made me thirsty for the good conversation that always comes with a cold glass of sweet tea.

  13. Terje says:

    I just learned something new. It almost felt like I sat in a kitchen watching you make the tea. Thank you for explaining the no-straw rule in the comments. That was a puzzlement for me.

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