Southern Sweet Tea
Southern Sweet Tea
Southern Sweet Tea in a glass canning jar.
To assimilate into Southern culture, there’s two things you should know. First, when you see someone you know, you say,”How’s yo mama-nem?” Don’t ennunciate, for Pete’s sake, and ask, “How is your Mother and the rest of your family?’ Oh, no. This whole sentence only has four syllables. That’s all you need. We understand it perfectly. The curious thing is that when we answer back, we say, “Mama-nem’s fi-i-i-i-i-ne.” We put three extra syllables in a word that only has one. That’s just how we are. We can’t help ourselves.
The other thing you need to know is that we drink sweet tea. Not sweetened tea. Not tea with sugar. Not tea with sweetener. It’s sweet tea. Plain and simple. It’s the table wine of the South.
There is a raging debate concerning the brand of tea that makes the best sweet tea. Just as fierce as the rivalry between Alabama and Auburn football is the rivalry between Luzianne and Lipton. I throw my support squarely in the Luzianne camp.
Making good sweet tea is easy. There’s just a couple of tips that makes it makes it turn out the best. I will take you step by step. For this batch, I’m only making a quart.
First, start with cold water. That’s important. Add two cups of cold water to a saucepan. After it begins to boil, remove from heat and place one family style teabag in the pot. Steep for 3 to 5 minutes. Pour into a pitcher and add sugar. I used about 1/4 cup for the quart. Stir until dissolved.
Steep tea for 3 to 5 minutes.
Add sugar while the tea is still hot and stir until dissolved.
Next, add two cups cold water and stir. Some folks like to add ice in the pitcher. I prefer to fill the glass with ice and pour the tea over it. It’s a matter of choice. Putting ice in the pitcher can dilute the whole pitcher too much if you don’t drink it right away.
Serve with lemon slices, mint or just plain.