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Jun 24, 2008 11:29 AM

Southern Sweet Tea

I need a recipe for sweet tea. My husband and daughter love the sweet tea served in the south, but can't find it where we live. DH has tried to make it, but it just doesn't taste the same.

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  1. I think it has to do with the brand of tea that is used. If you can find it you should use:
    Luzianne Tea Bags

    1. Quick story:
      when I lived in Houston a friend from TN visited and discovered the hot tea that she had loved in England. So she loaded up on tea bags, took them home to TN, and found that different water makes very different tasting tea.

      Our water is well water from limestone caverns. Luzianne tea bags make a great iced tea in my water. (My water is so hard that ice cubes have precipitates.)
      For two quarts of iced tea, one large tea bag, about four to six packs of Sweet and Lo and three to four four-inch long sprigs of fresh mint.

      Purists make a sugar syrup. And pour the tea over ice to cool it after the sugar is added.

      Our version is lower cal and really refreshing.

      1 Reply
      1. re: shallots

        You are so right, Shallots. I am an avid hot tea drinker and I live in NC. When we travel up North I make my tea w/ bottled water b/c when I make it w/ tap water up there it just doesn't taste right. Now, I love the water up north, just not for my tea.

        Down here, I don't think the tea bag means as much as the fact that you must use simple syrup to sweeten it. But Luzianne, Lipton, whatever will work fine.

      2. I'll second the Luzianne brand... I have also heard conflicting methodology about adding the sugar. some say it has to been simple syrup added to the cold tea... but I have also heard some say you actually cook the sugar in the boiling water before you make the tea.

        maybe you could post a notice on some of the southern boards... I know you can't request recipes on there... but you could probably post a heads up that you are looking for recipes and please respond to home cooking.

        1. After 20 years of living in NC, I still can't get used to the syrupy, thick liquid that they call sweet tea down here, but here's how my southern belle friends make it:

          Steep 6-7 teabags in 1 quart of boiling water (bring water to boil, then remove from heat and add tea bags). Let steep for about 5 to 10 minutes

          Pour steeped tea into 1 quart of room temperature water. Adding the pre-steeped tea to room temp plain water seems to keep the tea from getting cloudy.

          Make a simple syrup by mixing 3 cups water with 5 cups sugar in a saucepan. Heat until sugar dissolves. Cool slightly and add to steeped tea/water mixture to taste.

          I've never heard of any brand preference for tea but I believe Luzianne is black oolong and Lipton is orange pekoe - just keep experimenting until you find a brand you like.

          You can also add the simple syrup to brewed sun tea


          1. My family wasn't blessed with good cooks.
            And summer's main drink was water with the occassional RC cola.
            I remember my first 'real' iced tea. At a first grade birthday party in early June. (I do remember which friend's birthday it was.)
            It was sparkling clear with lots of ice and lots of sweetness. I have no idea what kind of cake was served, but that iced tea was my first glimpse that there were cooking skills out there beyond my family efforts.