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The perfect Southern brunch drink, a sweet tea and bourbon cocktail is simple to make and incredibly refreshing.
Obviously I know my way around sweet tea, honey. This is Sweet Tea + Thyme, after all, so a sweet tea cocktail (or actually, a few) definitely belongs here.
I really love this drink, it's definitely a sipper that's great for basically any time of year and any occasion: it's both casual and classy, easy to drink on the porch with your friends, have pitcherfuls for brunch, drink poolside in the summer, or pour at a Kentucky Derby party.
How to Make it
It's as easy as making southern sweet tea and mixing in your favorite bourbon, served over ice. I personally love adding a vanilla rooibos syrup that I have, which gives it a sweet vanilla flavor that pairs well with the bourbon.
What Does Bourbon Taste like?
Bourbon --an American whiskey that can only be called bourbon when made in Kentucky, must be made with at least 51% corn, and is aged for at least 2 years in white oak barrels-- has strong notes of vanilla, oak, and caramel. It's a pleasant and smooth liquor, which is why it goes so well in this imbibe.
Can I use Whiskey instead?
If you're going to use whiskey, I would suggest using a Tennessee whiskey. It's a bourbon-type whiskey with the same oak, vanilla, and caramel notes, but mellowed out with a charcoal filter.
Warmed up, this drink would be considered a Hot Toddy!
How to Make Sweet Tea
I have a recipe for Southern Sweet Tea that explains how to make a full pitcher of perfect sweet tea that every Southern girl most likely has an exact pitcher of in her fridge (I know I do), but here's a quick breakdown:
- Boil water.
- One boiling, add in your tea bags. Luzianne is my preference, but Lipton is widely used as well.
- Let steep, then add sugar and a pinch of baking soda.
And that's it!
Best type of Tea for Southern Sweet Tea
Black tea, 'orange pekoe' are usually what is used for Southern sweet tea. Orange Pekoe refers to a grade of black tea. Orange Pekoe is a phrase created by the Dutch House of Orange generally used by westerners in order to describe black teas from India, Sri Lanka, and other parts of Asia excluding China.
Popular brands Southerners use of Orange Pekoe black tea include Lipton and Luzianne, though I have used loose leaf black teas from different brands like Twinings and local tea shops in Atlanta and South Florida.
Can This Cocktail be Made Ahead?
You can make the tea cocktail many days in advance, I would say up to a week in advance.
Make sure to serve this over ice. It can be served in whatever glass fits the occasion.
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- 8 cups sweet tea
- 1 cup bourbon
- Ice, for serving
- Pour the sweet tea, and bourbon over ice in a pitcher.
- Stir the cocktail well with a long mixer spoon and serve immediately into glasses of choice.
Want to make homemade southern sweet tea? Get the recipe here!
How to Make it Ahead
Simply stir the sweet tea and bourbon together in your pitcher and keep in the fridge until ready to serve. Pour into serving glasses over ice.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 130Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 0gSugar: 20gProtein: 0g
All nutrition facts are estimations. Please see a physician for any health-related inquiries.
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.