Classic Southern Sweet Tea – Sweet Tea is one of my absolute favorite drinks for any time of year. This smooth and bold drink is best served over a tall glass of ice with a straw! (And a slice of lemon or lime, if you’re into that!)
There is much debate throughout the south about how much sugar should go into the perfect sweet tea. The sugar content typically increases the further deep into the south you go.
I’m not a deep south sweet tea lady, but not quite a “lightly sweet” tea lady either.
I like to sweet tea to be flavorful and sweet. I learned to love the stuff when I went to college in Kentucky. Ya know, not quite the south, not quite the Midwest.
That’s how I like my sweet tea, not syrupy sweet, but not unsweet either.
You can buy sweet tea by the gallon or half gallon at many grocery stores but at a crazy high mark up.
Do you know how much sugar, tea bags and water cost?? Way less than a gallon of store bought sweet tea, I promise.
How to Make Southern Sweet Tea
I’m not going to claim to be a sweet tea expert. I haven’t been drinking it my whole life, nor have I lived in a region so saturated with sweet tea. But I like to think I can make a pretty good batch when I have a craving for some. There are plenty of variations you can make on this recipe:
- I typically make 8 cups at a time. I can fit that much in my water in my kettle and in my heat-safe glass container that I use for steeping.
- If you are from the deep south, I would start with between 2/3 cup and 3/4 cup of sugar. Midwesterners? I’d start with 1/3 of a cup to 1/2 cup.
- It might take a couple of batches of tea to figure out how much sugar you like in your tea.
- If unsweet tea is more your speed, follow the directions below and omit the sugar. But don’t knock it until you try it!
- I sometimes add a squeeze of lemon or lime to my tea. It’s definitely not for everyone, but I like the variety!
This is a crowd pleaser and super easy to make parties. Plus, you can make this the day before, get it good and cold overnight and stick it in a 5-gallon container with ice just before the party starts!
Tools to make Tea
Kettle – This can be stovetop or electric. I LOVE my electric kettle, but sometimes you just need a basic stovetop kettle.
Heatproof container – I use a large 8 cup glass Pyrex liquid measuring cup for this. When you are working with boiling liquids, plastic just isn’t going to cut it.
Hot Pad or Trivet – You could also set this on your stove if you aren’t doing anything else at the time. Just don’t set your hot glass container with boiling water straight onto your laminate countertop. It might not end well.
Pitcher – You’ll need this to store your liquid gold in the fridge once it’s cooled.
Now, let’s make some sweet tea!