Sweet (Iced) Tea

I had my first sweet tea in Tennessee when I was 17. It was fantastic and I wished very much that it was available at home. But it isn’t, so I tried to make my own (it didn’t work out so well at the time). The next time I travelled, my flight had a stop-over in Chicago. And I was ecstatic to find that the McDonald’s in the airport served sweet tea (I think it also had unsweetened iced tea, something for everyone’s tastes). It wasn’t as fantastic as I had remembered and I was quite disappointed. A few years later, in Florida, I decided I would give sweet tea a try yet again. I bought a whole gallon (which my friend graciously let me keep in her fridge). It was gone by the end of my visit.

Remember when I went to Virginia back in May? Well, one thing I forgot to mention about this trip was my obsession with sweet tea. I couldn’t get enough of it! I had sweet tea at least once per day. At one point, I even made a special trip out one evening, just for a cup (the biggest cup available) of sweet tea.

It’s just better than the sweet iced tea that we have here in Ontario. What makes it so much better? It seems that sweet tea is freshly brewed everywhere. Even McDonald’s! (In fact, McDonald’s is one of my favourite places to get a sweet tea because I know it will consistently be delicious).  The tea is always slightly warm and is served over a glass full of ice. It’s an interesting combination of warm and cold in each sip (unless you savour the sweet tea, then it’s mostly cold by the time you finish it). I usually don’t get to this point.

I’m just a bit better at cooking now than when I was 17 (obviously, I’m exaggerating, I’m much more informed now that I cook daily). So, I decided to make another attempt at making sweet tea at home. It’s delicious and almost as tasty as the sweet tea that I get when vacationing in the US. Bryan wasn’t much of a fan – he drinks his iced tea unsweetened. I enjoy iced tea either way!

Yesterday, Sharyn from thekalechronicles (a blog I follow regularly) posted about how to properly brew tea and iced tea. It’s a very interesting and informative step-by-step instruction for brewing tea. My tea is not brewed properly, so my next batch of sweet tea will be made following Sharyn’s directions. There are a lot of tea shops in town, so I’m hoping to find a suitable/similar loose leaf tea.

Sweet Tea

Ingredients

  • 6 1/2 cups water
  • 2 bag of Lipton Cold Brew Tea (“pitcher”-sized tea bags, or 4 regular Lipton black tea bags) – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1/3 cup cane sugar – approximate cost $0.75
  • 3 teaspoons lemon juice (optional) – approximate cost $0.15

Method

  1. In a large pot, bring the water to a boil.
  2. Add the sugar.
  3. Stir until the sugar dissolves completely.
  4. Add the tea bags and turn off the heat.
  5. Allow the tea to steep for 7-10 minutes.
  6. Remove the tea bags (so the tea doesn’t get bitter).
  7. Stir in the lemon juice.
  8. Let the tea cool until it is warm.
  9. Fill a tall glass with ice.
  10. Pour some of the sweet tea over the ice.
  11. Serve and enjoy immediately!

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve the tea warm and with a generous amount of ice.
  • Add a slice of lemon as garnish.
  • If you chill the tea, slightly heat a single portion of sweet tea (in the microwave or on the stove top) and serve over ice.

Makes 6 servings (approximate cost: $0.28 per serving).

Mangia Mondays is a weekly blog hop/link part hosted by Delightfully Dowling & Shine Your LightCheck out the other posts for Mangia Monday!

Also linking to Makin’ You Crave Monday (hosted by Mrs. Happy Homemaker) and Made by you Monday (hosted by Skip to my Lou)!

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12 Comments

  1. I love iced tea! I really should make my own instead of buying premix. Your looks so refreshing!

    Reply
  2. i often find pre-sweetened drinks are just too sweet for my taste; in Canada you only get sweet iced tea, they don’t serve it without sugar. My husband was once entertaining an American at a restaurant and they ordered iced tea. The gentleman proceeded to put 3 bags of sugar into the tea and was quite surprised to taste that it was so unbelievably sweet. Everyone else just thought he had a sweet tooth!

    Reply
    • I often find them too sweet as well. This sweet tea is fairly sweet, you may want to cut down the amount of sugar if you decide to try it.

      Oh no! I hope the restaurant replaced his iced tea. I try my best to remind any American friends/family that our iced tea comes already sweetened if they order it at a restaurant. Most of the time, they don’t need the reminder, but I’ve found it’s a good habit to avoid such surprises.

      Reply
  3. It’s funny, I have friends that are from Georgia and naturally they love their sweet tea. It’s too sweet for me, but I like to have it for them when they come over. I usually buy it because I really don’t know how to make it. You have to have to the rich proportions! Thank you for the recipe! I don’t have to guess now!

    Reply
    • Thanks Tanya! It’s always possible that my sweet tea is too sweet (or not sweet enough) for other’s tastes. You might want to try putting in the recommended amount of sugar, but also make a simple syrup to keep on hand, just in case it’s not sweet enough!

      Reply
  4. Oh, I love all this talk about sweet tea because here they call it the wine of the South. Sweet tea is everywhere and although unsweetened tea is always available in restaurants, you have to request it. But in the northern part of the U.S., it’s the opposite – unsweetened tea is the norm. The thing is though, you cannot properly sweeten tea once it’s cold, so I never order tea up north. lol

    Your recipe is almost like my mom’s, but the only difference is is that she puts the tea bags in just before the water starts to boil – when it forms the little bubbles and also she adds a tiny pinch of salt. She says where there’s sugar, there’s salt.

    See, now you make me want tea. 🙂

    * Thank you for stopping by my blog and commenting.

    Reply
    • Thanks for stopping by Libby!

      I came up with the sweet tea by guessing. I’m sure it’s not authentic, I just wanted something comparable to the amazing sweet tea in the Southern US. I’m definitely willing to try out your mother’s way of making sweet tea, putting the tea bags in earlier and adding a pinch of salt (an interesting ingredient!),

      Reply
  5. Who wouldn’t love sweetened ice tea? Yumm! I am going to try his with earl grey tea for better flavour!

    Reply
    • I’d probably use less sugar if you’re trying it with Earl Grey tea. I’ve never tried it for an iced tea, but it seems like the flavour wouldn’t require as much added sweetness. Hope your iced tea turns out well!

      Reply
  6. Thanks for the mention — I just found it, caught in my Spam filter — sorry. I hope you are now making tea you enjoy.

    Reply

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