Y’all, in the south making sweet tea correctly is serious business. Southern women will straight tell everybody in town that your tea is trash if you can’t “git it right”. As a Yankee turned Southern Belle, nothing was more mystical than learning how to make good ‘ole fashioned southern sweet tea. Once in church I asked some ladies how to make tea & they went off like a bunch of biddies in a hen house! My analytical brain was bouncing around like a toddler in a ball pit trying to piece together phrases like, “you can only use this tea or that tea”, “don’t let it boil over”, “don’t or do put it in the refrigerator while it’s hot”, & my personal favorite…”honey you just pour sugar ‘til it feels right”. For a brief moment I understood how men could think women over complicate things 😉
So began my obsession to create an actual recipe for Southern Sweet Tea. Y’all know? That thing with measurements, ingredients, & INSTRUCTIONS! I tried lots of brands of tea, methods, pitcher sizes, amounts of sugar, & this is what I learned…
First…The brand of tea DOES NOT MATTER! The brand is not what makes it weak or bitter. It’s more about how many, what size, & how long you’re steeping your tea bags.
Second…DON”T let the tea boil OVER! This is what makes the tea taste bitter! I don’t know why, but it does. (If someone knows why…Please! explain.)
Next…I want to debunk the old wives tale of, Putting your HOT tea pitcher in the fridge will make your tea sour. This is NOT true…Not thoroughly washing your tea pitcher after every use is what makes your tea sour.
Lastly & arguably the most important is the sugar. Use a measuring cup people! Don’t eyeball it, because if you eyeball it you will be drinking syrup or as my daughter calls it, “diabetes in a glass”.
- 1/2 gallon pitcher (a gallon pitcher doesn’t fit in my fridge door so I make two ½ gallon pitchers.)
- Large spoon
- measuring cup
- A small saucepan
Ingredients: Double if you’re using a gallon pitcher
2 Family size tea bags or 4 single tea bags
¾ cup sugar
½ gallon water
Fill a small saucepan about ¾ of the way with water & add tea bags. Bring to a simmer NOT a boil, remove from heat, & let steep for a few minutes. Don’t let it cool completely, it needs to be hot enough to melt the sugar. In a ½ gallon pitcher add ¾ cup of sugar, pour the hot tea over the sugar (leave the tea bags in the pot), stirring to dissolve. Finally run water over the tea bags in the pot (do not reboil the tea bags), then continue to fill your pitcher as you stir.
Bless your heart, now all you have to do is add some ice to a mason jar, pour your tea over the top, & enjoy…No magic wand required 🍹