How to Make Sweet Iced Tea Like a Southerner
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Drinking a tall glass of Southern Sweet Iced Tea is truly divine!
If you’ve never had the opportunity to enjoy a glass of sweet iced tea, or have only had it bottled, now’s the time to try making your own sweet iced tea, and enjoy it like a southerner.
Regardless of if you were raised in the south, were transplanted here, or just passing through, you’ll find that sweet tea is deeply part of the southern culture. Just as we’re known for growing peaches, pecans, and peanuts, we’re also known for making a mean brew of sweet iced tea. You’ll find it plastered on every menu at every restaurant, so there’s no excuse for not giving it a try.
Sweet Iced Tea is a staple of the southern kitchen. I can’t remember the first time I started drinking Sweet Iced Tea, but I’m pretty sure it was soon after I came into this world. I’ve continued my love for this drink, and have enjoyed it on the go, at mealtimes, and while sitting on the porch taking in the warm afternoons.
To grab your own Lipton Black Tea Bags, hover over the photo below to purchase then you’ll be set to make your own Southern Sweet Iced Tea!
Drinking this southern delight is more of a way of life or ritual than it is a simple drink option. It’s about slow living, taking it easy and sharing time with friends and family.
There are many recipes on how to make sweet iced tea. Everyone I know has their own time-honored tweaks and little tips and tricks to make their own perfect brew. My brew includes plenty of fruit, particularly citrus and sometimes a touch of mint. Depending on the season, I might substitute the citrus fruits with berries or better yet, Georgia peaches! Some southerners prefer their sweet iced tea straight up, with nothing added, which is perfectly acceptable of course. Not everyone is keen on adding bunches of the fresh mint straight into the pitcher. In fact, I have this vague recollection of being asked if I was trying to root some baby trees in my drink. Yes, I was being teased. Then they drank a tall glass of my “tree” tea and asked for more. Ha, they loved it!
Sweet Iced Tea Tips and Tricks:
- Start with filtered fresh cold water.
- Buy the best quality black tea, my choice is Lipton Black Tea, which I find at my local Walmart.
- A pinch of baking soda added to your sweet iced tea recipe will keep it from turning cloudy.
- Make a tea concentrate then dilute using ice first followed by topping it up with more cold filtered water – it will be ready to serve immediately without having to completely chill.
- If using a glass pitcher to serve in, put in your ice first then you must put a metal spoon deep into the ice, with the spoon touching the base of the pitcher. This is to keep your glass from cracking when you pour in the hot tea concentrate, the metal will help absorb the heat and protect the glass. Learned that one the hard way.
- If you are not going to drink your tea immediately after you have poured it into the pitcher and it has cooled off, remove the ice to prevent it from becoming too diluted. When ready to serve, add additional ice as needed.
Making my sweet iced tea recipe calls for quality tea, and that’s why my preference is Lipton 100% Natural Tea Black Tea Bags, which you can find in 100 ct or 50 ct, and by the way, I’m loving their new packaging! Don’t worry, Lipton is still 100% natural and is, of course, America’s favorite tea, with a new look, same great taste.
Not sure where to find it? Get yours at your local Walmart or Walmart.com, easy peasy!
Earn $.75 on any one Lipton product at Walmart while supplies last. Grab your savings now!
Now all you have to do is sit back and relax in your favorite rocking chair, and enjoy a tall glass of southern sweet iced tea.
Southern Sweet Iced Tea
The drink of the South, Sweet Iced Tea. No Southern kitchen would be without it.
- 1 pint of just boiled water
- 6 Lipton Black Tea bags
- 1/2 - 3/4 cup sugar, or to taste
- 1 lemon, sliced (optional)
- 1 orange, sliced (optional)
- several sprigs of fresh mint (optional)
- Pinch of baking soda
- Cold water
In a heat resistant large measuring cup (I use a 4 cup measuring cup), add the Lipton Black Tea bags and sugar, then pour over with freshly boiled water. Add a pinch of baking soda. Allow to brew for about 5 - 8 minutes. This will make your 1 pint of concentrate.
- In a large 2 quart pitcher, first add the ice until about 1/2 to 3/4 full. If using a glass pitcher, don't forget the metal spoon to keep your glass from cracking.
- Slowly pour the tea concentrate over the ice.
- Add in the lemon and orange slices, plus the mint if using.
- Top up with more cold, filtered water.
- Serve over ice and enjoy.
You can also use limes if preferred. Replace the Citrus altogether with other fruits, such as sliced peaches, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, or a mixture of your favorites. Lemon verbena or lemon balm are also great served in Sweet Iced Tea. You can also replace the sugar with honey to taste if preferred.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 8 ounces
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 49Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 14mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 1gSugar: 11gProtein: 0g
Stacey is a Southern girl with a taste for travel, thriving on the discovery of the world through food. After spending many years traveling and living overseas, she’s now back home in her beloved deep south enjoying life with her three little ones and loving the adventure. She’s a food stylist and food photographer, as well as, the creative behind Little Figgy Food, where she loves to inspire others to try new flavors and foodie techniques.
This is a beautiful recipe Stacey! We love ice tea! Summers in Greece can be very hot and humid and ice tea is served very often and this is definitely a recipe we will follow from now on. Your tips are so useful!! Thank you for sharing! 🙂
Panos & Mirella
Thank you all so much!!! I hope that your Grecian summer treats you well and this Iced Tea will keep you cool and refreshed! Looking forward to perusing your site 🙂 – All the best, Stacey
Do you know, I have never really tried Iced Tea. It’s not something that springs to me when I see it on a list, but I am going to have to give it a try at some point, it looks so refreshing! Sim x
Thank you, Sim! I do hope you get a chance to try it … yes, it’s definitely refreshing!
I’m curious to know what the pinch of baking soda does for the tea and can it be omitted?
Hi Michelle! The baking soda added can be omitted without the taste, it is only used to keep the tea from becoming cloudy. Hope that helps!