Do you know how to make the perfect Southern sweet iced tea? If not, you’ve come to the right article. Plenty of people enjoy a cup of hot tea on occasion, and those can be quite pleasant. However, if you’re in the South nearly any time of year or anywhere else when it’s hot, or even worse, humid, then sweet iced tea is what you want. And no one does it better than Southerners. Besides, unlike those ever-popular soft drinks, tea comes loaded with health benefits.
Tea has high levels of polyphenols, catechins, and flavonoids. Do you know what those are? If you guessed antioxidants, you’re right! They help your body boost its defenses against all kinds of diseases. Scientific studies and research have shown that tea has a positive influence on lowering both cholesterol and blood pressure levels while also protecting against things like cancer and heart disease.
Perfect Iced Tea
The first thing that you need to do is to gather up the ingredients. You’ll need from 5 up to 7 individual tea bags, and the Luzianne brand is quietly preferred across the South. You’ll also need 1 quart of cool water, either bottled or filtered (tap water can ruin the taste). A pinch of baking soda and 1 cup of granulated sugar are necessary. A 2-quart glass pitcher filled halfway up with ice is also required. Optional items include a glass measuring cup, mint sprigs, and fresh lemon, either as slices or wedges.
Sweet Iced Tea Recipe
Boil the quart of water until it is rolling. Then, steep the tea bags in your hot water for 9 full minutes. When you remove the bags, squeeze them gently to get excess water out. Whisk in the sugar and baking soda until they are dissolved. Fill your pitcher with ice, and then pour your hot tea concentrate over your ice. Stir it well and then pour into ice-filled glasses. Optionally garnish with mint sprigs and lemon. This should make 2 savory quarts.
5 bags usually makes a milder tea, but 7 bags packs more punch into the taste. The level of sugar you need is something that you need to experiment with, as it is definitely to taste. Put in more as needed, and if you want to skip the sugar altogether because of the calories, feel free to experiment with Stevia or artificial sweeteners using the substitution ratios they provide. Never, ever pour hot tea right into your glass pitcher if it doesn’t have ice in it.
Tip: Here’s a pro tip even some Southerners don’t know: for better lemon flavor throughout the glass, skip the slices or wedges and instead make lemonade ice cubes ahead of time!
The question first posed in the introduction was whether or not you know. If you don’t know this while reading the conclusion, it’s because you skimmed or skipped this article. Scroll back up to read how to do it so you can enjoy it on your own on a hot or humid day or so you can entertain friends and family.