My mother-in-law makes the best sweet tea. And how can she not, when she lives in Summerville, the birthplace of Sweet Tea?
Whenever we go down to visit for a family gathering, she brews two big jugs and they’re always gone by the end of the day.
I never really thought about it until this minute but everyone in my husband’s family doesn’t drink while they’re eating. Not a single glass of liquid is on the table and it always bewildered me! Only after they are finished eating, is when they’ll put their plates up and then pour themselves a drink.
But now that I’ve tasted Mom’s sweet tea, I’m pretty sure they do that to savor that intense sweetness and tea flavor.
I don’t know if that’s the true reason or not but I’m going with it. Ha!
Now, no one in our family can recreate her tea, even when we use all the same ingredients, so I’ve just learned to embrace my own unique sweet tea recipe and method. It’s not quite the same but it’s pretty dang good.
Keep reading to see how I make it!
I start with about 4 cups of water, 6 Lipton Iced Tea bags and 2 Earl Grey tea bags. I never thought to add Earl Grey but Mom does it and I think it adds a little interest!
As I’m bringing the water up to a boil, I just toss the bags in to start steeping.
After it comes to a rolling boil, I turn off the heat and let it steep for about 5 minutes.
Then, after removing the tea bags with a spatula, I dump the sugar in. (Now, if you have strong opinions about white sugar, let me be the first to tell you that this blog post might not be the place for you. Or this entire blog, if we’re really being honest. After this, go check out my chocolate chip cookies. You’re welcome!)
Ok, now that we’re on the same page, I pour in about a cup and a half of sugar and stir it in while the tea is nice and hot.
Side note here: I used to work in the cafe of an adorable little bed and breakfast in college. While there, I used to make a simple syrup first and then add the brewed tea but I’ve found this method to be way faster, easier and uses less dishes. All wins in my book.
After the sugar is dissolved and you’ve ignored my crusty cooktop, we can move on to the next step.
I fill my pitcher halfway with ice and then pour the hot tea over it. This does two things in one step – dilutes that sugary tea to a less obscene level and cools the tea down so I can enjoy a glass immediately.
At this point, I’ll taste it a little bit to adjust the sweetness. If it’s too watered down, I can add some more sugar and it’s still slightly warm so it will dissolve well. But normally, it’s still a bit sweet and I’ll add more ice cubes.
And that’s it, my friends! All that’s left to do is pour it over ice in a thick mason jar and then go sit your behind in a rocking chair!
Thanks for reading along, friends. Hope you’re having a great day and if you try my sweet tea recipe, please let me know how you like it!