How To Make Southern Sweet Tea
Before all your Sweeties read this and start thinking, "Are y'all kidding me? Who doesn't know how to make sweet tea?"-hear us out. We always keep a pitcher ready in the fridge, and friends inevitably ask us, "How do you make this sweet tasting tea?"
Today you're gonna find out how. If you've never heard of sweet tea or have only tried a store bouht, bottled version, this is a recipe you're going to wanna make when the weather is warm or any time of year!
What's the History of Sweet Tea anyway?
Well y'all, In 1795, the first tea plantations in the United States arrived in good ol' South Carolina. Today, there are actually still a few left! The version of a sweet tea recipe has been traced back to a cookbook in Old Virginia, created by Marion Cabell Tyree, and was published in the year 1879. It called for green tea, which was more commonly drunk as iced tea at the time, until World War II when green tea importation was cut off and Americans switched to black tea imported from India.
Sweet tea is so ingrained in Southern culture that in 2003, as part of an April Fool's joke, the Georgia Legislature introduced a bill that would make it a misdemeanor for restaurants not to offer sweet tea…oh my! One of our most favorite thing to do is is to sit on the back porch on a warm Georgia night, sipping sweet tea, and eating a plate of guilt free goodies while watching the sunset.
What Is Sweet Tea?
Sweeties, sweet tea is more than just adding a spoonful of sugar to a glass of black iced tea. It's usually made in large batches, stored in a pitcher, and kept chilled in the fridge. When company comes over, we're ready with our sweet tea to serve up some Southern hospitality.
Most sweet tea recipes call for a relatively quick steep, anywhere from a few quick steeps of the tea bags through the hot water to a full five-minute steep, some folk may also like to dunk their tea bags longer for of bolder taste. And don't worry about adding sugar, sugar! The sweetness is in the tea bag! For the best tasting tea, make sure it's chilled before sipping it. Pour the sweet goodness over ice and drink it as is, or make it fun and add a sprig of mint or add in a few lemon wedges. Sweet tip! For a grown-up, after-work version, try adding a shot of bourbon or other favorite liquor.
Make Your Own Delicious Sweet Tea
We believe the best tasting sweet tea is the one that can be made at home and stored in your fridge. If y'all never made traditional sweet tea before, start with our special Southern Breeze recipe and then adjust it to your linking. Steep the tea for longer, if you'd like a lemony twist, squeeze some lemons wedges into the pitcher — make your sweet tea as special as you!
Sweeties, we'd love to hear your tricks for sprucing up your sweet tea and what advice you may have for making the best version possible. Please share in the comments below! We'd LOVE to hear from ya!
How To Make Sweet Tea
Makes 1 gallon
- 4 Southern Breeze Sweet Tea Family Size Tea Bags
- Fresh mint leaves or lemon slices (optional)
- Saucepan/ pot
- Long-handled spoon
- 1-gallon pitcher, or multiple smaller pitchers
- Bring 4 cups plain water to a boil in a pot over medium-high heat. Remove from heat.
- Steep the tea for 3- 5 minutes. Steep the tea bags with the strings hanging over the side of the pot. After 3-5 minutes, remove the bags and discard.
- Don't add sugar to the tea. No sugar is needed for this recipe!
- Pour the tea from the pot to a pitcher. If using a few pitchers, divide the tea evenly between them.
- To quick chill add ice to the pitcher.
- Pop the sweet tea in the fridge until very cold. Refrigerate for a few hours or oveernight.
- Serve your sweet tea over ice in a mason jar. Add some mint springs or a slice of lemon to each glass, if ya like!
Storage: Make sure you keep your Southern Breeze pitched chilled in the fridge
If you like Arnold Palmer (aka Swamp Water): Brew using our Half & Half Family Size Tea Bags!
Looking for somthin' with a kick?: Add a shot of your most favorite liquor to your glass, then pour Southern Breeze over top.