Iced tea was staple in my household growing up. Growing up in the upper northeast my mom made unsweetened iced tea. It wasn’t until later in life when my family moved to Dover, DE that I realized iced tea can come in all shapes and sizes.
Delaware is on the border of the Mason-Dixon line and it’s up for debate on if it falls on the north or if it can claim the south. The people in Dover proudly claim the south and all of it’s glory and southern charm. Including the mason jar of sweet tea with a paper straw.
Did you know there is sweet tea, there is sun tea, and sun tea is usually sweet tea? Phew that’s a lot to take in. Some people make sweet tea similar to the recipe below but by adding more sweetener (sugar, honey, something artificial). Some people make sun tea which is tea made by adding tea bags and sweetener to cold water which then, yes you know what I’m about to say, basks in the hot summer sun for a couple of hours to marry all of the flavors. After it lays out to get a tan, the tea will become richer in taste. It’s so so good.
Sweet tea and sun tea I love them both but I don’t make them. I have to keep sweet tea as a buy-out only beverage otherwise I am sure I would go into some sort of diabetic shock. Something you should know about me is that I don’t have any self-restraint. If you want to make it though you can follow the same recipe below but just add more sugar – to taste.
To add sugar to any drink it’s best if you do it with a simple syrup to avoid the crunch.
To make a simple syrup – boil water and add sugar to let it dissolve. The basic ratio for a simple syrup is 1:1 but if you’re making a drink and filling a pitcher you may need to adjust it for what you’re aiming for. For iced tea I cheat a little and I just add the sugar to the hot water that I also steep my tea bags in, it’s a one mug recipe.
- 6 Cups of cold water (1 cup reserved)
- 1/4 Cup of sugar
- Pinch of salt (I just grab a small pinch, 1/2 tsp is too much!)
- 7 tea black tea bags (more or less depending on how strong you want it to be)
- Lemon slices (optional)
- Bring 1 Cup of water to a boil & pour it into a mug. (I usually just run hot water through my Keurig into a mug)
- To the mug of hot water, add in the 1/4 cup of sugar and salt – stir until dissolved. The salt will help remove some the bitter taste that tea sometimes has.
- While the water is still hot, add in the tea bags and let them steep. Depending on how long you let them steep will determine how strong the taste of tea will be. The longer the steep the strong the taste. I usually just keep my tea bags in the pitcher unless I’m entertaining and I want my pitcher to be pretty.
- Once it is cool, serve over ice and with a lemon slice.
*Note: this is just the basics – you can adapt this recipe to include different teas like green or citrus infused. You can also eliminate the sugar or add more sugar – whatever your taste buds are searching for.
Cheers! Here’s to drinking tea all-year-round.