In Steel Magnolia’s, Dolly Parton’s character called it the “house wine of the south.”
And the truth is, it just doesn’t get much more southern or more refreshing than a tall glass of sweetened iced tea on a hot July day.
In fact, it’s believed that’s how the notion of sweet tea began in the South. In the days before air conditioning, it was common to greet a guest on the front porch with a tall glass of sweetened tea served over ice.
Tastes vary on just how sweet is “too sweet.” Some of the sweetest versions can contain more than twice the amount of sugar of a canned soft drink. Others cut back on the fructose-levels considerably.
Nowadays, there are literally dozens of variations on the classic recipe that starts with brewing tea bags and pouring the liquid over simple syrup.
Try one of these refreshing variations the next time you host a party or just want an ice cold beverage on a hot summer day.
Sweet Tea Lemonade Slushie
4 – 5 family-sized tea bags - Make tea strong or the ice will water it down (another option is to freeze your own ice cubes out of sweet tea and you won’t have to make your tea as strong).
1/2 cup water
1.5 Tbsp. lemonade mix
3/4 cup sugar
4-6 cups of ice
Bring 1/2 cup water to a boil and remove from stove. Place your tea bags in the water and cover. Let steep for at least 10 minutes. Pour tea, lemonade mix, sugar and ice cubes into blender. Make sure you blend until all ice cubes are pulverized. Pour into glass and garnish with a slice of lemon.
3 cups fresh or frozen
1 1/4 cups sugar
Pinch of baking soda
4 cups boiling water
2 family-size tea bags
2 1/2 cups cold water
1. Combine blackberries and sugar in a large container, and crush with a wooden spoon; stir in mint and baking soda.
2. Pour 4 cups boiling water over tea bags; cover and steep 5 minutes. Discard tea bags.
3. Pour tea over blackberry mixture; let stand at room temperature 1 hour. Pour tea through a wire-mesh strainer into a large pitcher, discarding solids. Add 2 1/2 cups cold water, stirring until sugar dissolves. Cover and chill 1 hour.
Citrus Sweet Tea
1 family-size tea bag
1/2 cups pineapple
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup fresh
2/3 cup sugar
Garnish: lemon slices
1. Bring 3 cups water and cloves to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat; reduce heat to low, and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and add tea bag; steep 10 minutes.
2. Discard tea bag. Add fruit juices and sugar, stirring until sugar dissolves. Cover and chill for 1 hour; serve over crushed ice.