Sweet Tea – My Southern Addiction

Confession time – I have a weakness for Southern belles and their alluring drawl. I was introduced to the Southern drawl around the age of 10 by the one and only Blanche Devereaux (played by Rue McClanahan) from the Golden Girls.

Maybe I have Blanche to thank for my love of all things Southern. With that logic, perhaps I love sweet tea because it reminds me of her or maybe I just love sweet tea because it’s sweet tea! Sweet tea is just that, it’s sweet and a way of life in the South. Southerners take their sweet tea very seriously and chances are if you ask ten Southerners how they make theirs, they’ll give you ten different answers all claiming theirs to be the best

As an added bonus, not only is sweet tea good, it’s also good for you as it’s loaded with antioxidants. Mary over at Deep South Dish whose blog reads like a testament to the South has a sweet tea recipe that I’m sure has been tried and tested more times than she can remember. In fact, browse her site for a while and you’ll be yearning for fried chicken, biscuits, pecan pie and a hundred other classic Southern dishes!

Now, when I’m enjoying a glass of sweet tea, for me, the sweeter the better. I enjoy a hurt-my-teeth-sugary-sweet tea. A person’s personal preference is like a snowflake, each one is unique. And for those that are curious, I still have never had a cavity. But insofar as making sweet tea at home, I just couldn’t justify putting in the recommended 1 3/4 cup of sugar knowing I was likely to be the one to drink all one gallon of it. So I went with the minimum that the recipe called for of 1 cup. But if I were to be entertaining, I’d definitely ramp up the sugar!

The sweet tea was as it should be. It was satisfying even on a cold winter day (is it summer yet?) up here in the North! I could sense it wasn’t as sweet as it could have been because I did hold back a bit, but it certainly did the trick and was refreshing.

Now, I just need a rocking chair, a porch to sit on and a Southern Belle to enjoy it with me.

Southern Sweet Tea (Southern Living – 1,001 Ways to Cook Southern)

  • 6 cups of water
  • 4 tea bags (I used ginger tea, but I think the fun is really in trying out all sorts until you find the perfect one for you)
  • 1 to 1 3/4 cups of sugar
  1. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan; add tea bags. Boil 1 minute; remove from heat. Cover and steep for 10 minutes. Remove tea bags, squeezing gently.
  2. Add sugar, stirring until dissolved. Pour into a 1-gallon pitcher, and add enough water to fill pitcher. Serve over ice.

I used an orange for garnish because that’s what was available, but lemons, limes or sprig of mint are all wonderful as well

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26 Comments

Filed under Sweet tea

26 responses to “Sweet Tea – My Southern Addiction

  1. I’ll take one! It’s cold here in WA but I’ll turn up the heat. I’ve never had [good] sweet tea. I won’t tell you which fast food chain was pushing sweet tea and I was very turned off, but only to the fast food sweet tea because it was yucky-pooh. I’m making this one.

  2. Oh how I adore sweet tea! When it warms up, put the tea bags and water in a glass jar and leave out in the sun for a few hours – that’s how Mommom makes it and there’s nothing like her ‘sun tea’!

    You seem to inspire so many exclamation points in my comments – I apologize for the enthusiasm overload, but you speak to my southern roots. =)

    • Tastes Better With Friends

      “!” are always a good sign, so I don’t mind them!! 😉
      every story you have about mommom or poppop are brilliant!

      • Funny story – Mommom also likes to throw a bunch of fresh mint leaves in her sun tea, but would always pull the leaves out before bringing the jar inside.

        For YEARS she denied the presence of mint in her tea even though Mom kept calling her out on it. She finally came around to admitting to the mint when she got caught in the act. =) Just another delicious secret of hers.

  3. What kind of tea do you use? I usually use black tea but am willing to try another kind. Thanks in advance!

    PS: I think it’s a sign for you to move South! 🙂

    • Tastes Better With Friends

      I knew I forgot something important lol. I used ginger tea this time around, but I’ll definitely be trying other types along the way.
      p.s. I think you’re right:)

  4. I love ginger, I’ve got to try and make some of this tea. I usually make my ginger tea hot, but it sounds great iced as well.

  5. I can’t WAIT for summer so I can chop up my mint plant and make sweet mint tea!! (and mint lemonade!). It’s coming, right?

  6. I worked in the restaurant industry for 21+ years and most of it in the New Orleans area. It was’nt until I worked in Jackson, MS in 1996 that I found out about sweet tea. We would brew two batches of tea every shift, one sweet and one unsweet. The sweet tea always went 2 to 1 faster than the unsweet. Finding a really good, and I mean a great sweet tea at southern restaurants is now one of the ways I judge the quality of my dining expereince.

    Bon appetit!

  7. Blanche! She was always my favorite, followed closely by Rose, of course.

  8. When I was in Savannah last summer, I couldn’t wait to try this. It was… sweet! Not something I’d like all the time, but good nonetheless.

  9. I’d take a glass or two. 😉

  10. One thing I will miss whenever I leave the south is sweet tea.. Just make sure when you say it you add the southern drawl and draw out the teeeea 🙂 Please tell me you’ve tried Firefly?? The sweet tea flavored vodka!?

  11. I was born, raised and still live in the south, and I do love a refreshing glass of sweet tea. I generally like it the way my mom (who is from the north) made it. Maybe some sort of north/south compromise she came up with: just sweet enough to know that it was sweet. And pretty strong. Made with Luzianne tea. Burl Ives used to do the Luzianne commercials, boasting that, unlike other teas, Luzianne tea stayed clear. “Luzianne don’t know nothin’ ’bout cloudy!” lol Here, watch Burl in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIMolV5WMQk

    Now, at restaurants, I tend to order 1/2 sweet, 1/2 unsweetened just because most restaurant sweet tea is Way Too Sweet for my taste.

    Thanks for the summer preview, Ethan! 🙂

  12. Gotta love that sweet tea! We really do drink it year round down here except for those rare occasions where it’s a hard freeze & hot cocoa in front of a fire is more appropriate. Sometimes I do sub in some Splenda and it’s really good, but a ice cold glass of sweet iced tea on a hot summer day is the absolute best! My husband will only drink it sweet.

    Great post & thanks so much for the linky love too – HUGS!!

  13. Isn’t Mary’s blog great? I’m so glad she pointed me over here; I’m loving yours, as well!

    And ohmigosh, yum, sweet tea!

  14. I grew up drinking sweet tea but we just called it tea. I put just a little less than a cup of sugar in mine now, but when I was growing up we put a lot more. Great post!

  15. I sooo have a thing for Blanche too. Hardly anyone on earth could get me to drink caffeinated tea, but you and Blanche would probably do the trick.

  16. I love making sweet tea with peach tea in the summertime…and Blanche will always be my favorite Golden Girl!!!!

  17. Pingback: Getting my “Around My French Table” groove back… | Tastes better with friends

  18. When I gave up the south. I gave up sweet tea. But your sweet concoction has me second guessing that decision! GREG

  19. My family’s from Texas and Louisiana, so every gathering I have ever been to has included big pitchers of sweet iced tea. Actually, for a long time I wasn’t too keen on it–until I gave it a try using peppermint tea. Sweet peppermint tea is so good! From one sweet tea fan to another, peppermint is a great variation to try.

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