Real Southern Sweet Tea

Brewing good iced tea is not rocket science, although it is beyond the grasp of some folks. But by following these simple instructions, I guarantee at the end you’ll have a glass of genuine Southern iced tea.

Start with a 4-to 6-quart non-reactive pot (stainless steel or enamel works just fine) and fill it with three quarts of cold water. Put four to six regular (or three or four family-size) tea bags into the cold water and put the lid on the pot. Put the pot on the stove on high. Bring to a boil, then immediately remove the pot from the heat.

After three or four minutes, (depending on how strong you like your tea), remove the tea bags (don’t squeeze them), and pour the hot tea into a gallon pitcher. Add a small pinch of baking soda to counter they bitterness from the tannins in the tea, and add sugar to taste- one to two cups, depending on whether you like your tea sweet, seriously sweet, or stand up and bark sweet. Add enough cold water to fill the pitcher, stir well and let the tea cool to room temperature before pouring; otherwise the hot tea will melt the ice in the glasses and the tea will be watery. Do not refrigerate until the tea is completely cool or it will become cloudy.

To serve, fill a tall glass three-quarters full of ice. Quarter a lemon and squeeze it over the ice, then drop in the lemon and pour the tea over the ice. For maximum summer cooling, find some of those 1950s-vintage anodized aluminum tumblers. Nothing is more refreshing than holding that cool aluminum up to your sweaty face on a sweltering southern summer day. All you need now is a hammock and a good book and you have the recipe for a delightful afternoon.

1 Comment so far »

  1. Clemmer said

    May 28 2010 @ 1:51 pm

    A great taste from the table of Chef Rick..!

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