Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Easy Breezy Carolina Sweet Tea

My man is from the South.  He's taught me lots of great Southern culinary lessons like how to fry okra, what good grits taste like and perhaps one of the most often repeated recipes in our home:

How to make a crazy good glass of sweet tea.

Being a mom (aka, always looking for ways to streamline things), I've come up with a way to make sweet tea in about 9 minutes flat.  No special tools needed, no special skills, just easy peasy lemon squeezy, extra breezy sweet tea.

Easy Breezy Carolina Sweet Tea

3-4 cups water
4-6 black tea bags (Luzianne and Lipton are the two we use)
1/2 - 1 cup white sugar, to your taste

First, boil the water in a microwave safe container, about 5 minutes. Remove the water from the microwave and add the tea bags.  I usually use 4-5, but if you want the tea stronger, add 1 extra tea bag.  Let steep 3-4 minutes, or longer if you desire.

Remove the tea bags and add the sugar, stirring until it dissolves (since the water is still very hot, the sugar will dissolve quickly).

Add some ice to cool the tea down before pouring it into a pitcher (this is especially important if you are using a glass pitcher):

Now pour into a pitcher and add about 4 cups ice:

 Pour into a glass (are you thirsty yet?):

Once you know how easy it is to make Sweet Tea, you can alter the method to your heart's content.  Here are some of my favorite variations:

*Decaffeinated Sweet Tea:  Save your tea bags after they steep for your first batch of sweet tea, and make some decaf for your kiddos to enjoy.  Once tea bags have steeped 1 minute, 95 of their caffeine has been removed.  Or, duh, use decaffeinated tea bags.

*Sweet Green (or White) Tea:  Simply use green tea (or white tea) bags instead of the black tea.

*Herbed Sweet Tea:  Add a few sprigs of rosemary, lavender, mint, thyme or basil to your tea as it steeps. 

*Agave Sweet Tea:  Use agave syrup instead of sugar.

Life is Sweet,