Summertime, and all year long here in Florida, there’s no better way to quench your thirst on a hot, steamy day than with sweet tea…and there’s no better way to make it than just like a good southerner would!
Sweet tea has been a staple in the south for centuries. You may find some varying recipes since every proper southern belle has her own predilections for the personal sweet tea favorite formula; but some things are for certain. To do southern sweet tea justice, you need to make it strong, you need to make it sweet and you dang sure better make enough!
There are several types of tea that southerners abide by, including Luzianne and Lipton, but Red Rose is also a nice, robust choice that will surely bring a smile to the face of any sweet tea lover.
So let’s make things easy and work by the gallon. You need two (yes, I said two) cups of sugar. The best way to do this is by filling a glass pitcher with lukewarm tap water and stirring the sugar you have added until it “disappears.” You don’t want cold water because sugar dissolves quicker in warmer water and glass is best to help you see just what you have going on in there. Warm water is better than hot when you are working with glass and so that you can cool your masterpiece quicker. Just an aside…Simple syrup is a fine substitute for sugar.
You’ll want to complete that first step before you add your three family size tea bags, so that you don’t break them. I like to steep my tea on the counter until it cools and turns a rich brownish-red color before refrigerating. At this point, you can also add a dash of baking soda to cut any acidity and to keep your tea tasting fresh longer.
Then, if you want things to be extra special, serve your tea with sliced lemons, oranges, berries or mint. And, as always, you can find fresh and affordable fruits and herbs for your southern sweet tea at any convenient Perrine’s Produce location.