It was a scorcher here the past few days with a heat index up in the triple digits. The one thing that I wanted most to cool down with was a glass of sweet tea. Dolly Parton calls it "the house wine of the South". My childhood experience confirms this sentiment. Unfortunately, the northern part of the Untied States has not caught on to this southern "wine", so I make it for myself and my family because ordering a glass of tea and adding a packet of sugar isn't the same. The sugar does not fully dissolve and you're left with a glass of dirty tasting tea with barely a hint of sweetness and the bottom of the glass packing a grainy, hallucinatory dose of pure cane chaser- bleh. For my sweet tea, I need a good, strong tea flavored with a simple syrup. You can certainly squeeze in a wedge of lemon, orange, or even add a sprig of mint, but I like to keep it simple--just tea and sugar.
*Note- If you are new to sweet tea I would suggest adding the simple syrup to taste.
makes 2 quarts
4 pitcher-size cold-brew tea bags ( I like Lipton)
2 quarts cold water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
sliced lemons (optional)
sliced oranges (optional)
mint sprigs (optional)
Place the tea bags in a large pitcher. (I like to wrap the string around a wooden spoon and suspend it over the rim of the pitcher so I don't have to fish out the bags). Add the 2 quarts of cold water and steep for 30 minutes to one hour depending on how strong you like your tea.
Meanwhile, combine the 1/2 cup of sugar and the 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan. Stirring occasionally, bring the mixture to a boil and cook until the sugar has completely dissolved. Remove from the heat.
Remove the tea bags, squeezing them by pressing against the wooden spoon. Add the sugar mixture and stir until combined. Pour over ice and garnish with lemon, orange, or mint if desired. Enjoy!
Source: The Galley Gourmet