A Southern Belle secret revealed: the perfect glass of southern sweet tea. Sit on your porch and sip some of this all through the warm weather.
Hey y'all. It's been rainy all week, so I figured I'd share a little traditional rain or shine recipe: yes, honey, I'm bringing you a southern sweet tea recipe. I am currently sitting on my porch enjoying these April showers with a batch of Neiman Marcus cookies and sweet tea with lemon, and it has been a good day!
You know, I've never lived above the Mason-Dixon line. Though I married a Yankee (a New Yorker!), my soul belongs to the South. The closest I've ever been to The Line was living in D.C. and it's really a different world there! Unfortunately, while in D.C. sweet tea was a rarity, unless in a bottle from Whole Foods (no Publix there!) and it all really seemed like a tame version of New York City, where the only 'sweet tea' was my Iced Chai Latte from the Starbucks in the Marriott hotel.
But everybody knows here in the South, all tea is sweet. Unless asked for unsweetened, specifically. Sweet tea is in the blood. In fact, it's so ingrained into our setting that the State of Georgia passed a bill making it a crime for restaurants to not serve sweet tea! (As an April Fool's joke!)
My mama, my grandma, my aunties, my wonderfully eccentric neighbor Miss Bridgette, all have a pitcher of homemade southern sweet tea in the fridge at all times. I have memories of sitting on the back porch of my parent's lakefront home, watching the fish jump and the ducks walk across the backyard while sipping sweet tea and nibbling on whatever my mama cooked up that afternoon. Usually fried fish; catfish was my favorite.
Mind you, this was all in Miami, Florida. 😉 And of course, Savannah and Augusta, Georgia with my grandparents and in Texas with lovely Miss Jay, my neighbor, and her Scotty dog. She once told me: "Sweet tea should always be in a lady's fridge or what else are your guests going to drink?"
Miss Jay was very properly Southern. I loved me some Miss Jay, let me tell you!
And yes, there are people who don't know how to make a pitcher of sweet tea! Who knew? Not me! When we had guests to our D.C. home (we were part of the military at the time, and our peers and their spouses often popped in since we all lived in the same areas) they asked me, "Where is this from? You made this? How?"
With some good ole know how! And a sprinkling of baking soda.
How do you like drinking your sweet tea? Do you like it warm, cold from the refrigerator, or hot with ice? My mom liked it cold but I have always loved it hot with ice, let me know!
Drink up some more refreshing beverage recipes:
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- 4 Luzianne or Lipton family sized Iced Tea bags
- 3 cups of granulated sugar
- 4 cups boiling water
- More water to fill your pitcher
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- Steep the tea in your boiling water for 7 minutes. Do not press the bags, at most dunk them in the water to saturate them.
- In your pitcher, pour in the sugar and baking soda. Discard the tea bags and pour tea into the pitcher. Fill the pitcher with fresh water and stir to dissolve the sugar and soda.
- Taste, adjust water to make less sweet, more sugar for sweeter tea.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 232Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 42mgCarbohydrates: 60gFiber: 0gSugar: 60gProtein: 0g
Eden Westbrook is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind Sweet Tea and Thyme. A classically trained chef, Eden has inspired home cooks into the kitchen with cultural comfort foods, easy family-friendly eats and sweets, and glorious spreads for date night and entertaining since 2015.