What is Southern Sweet Tea?: If you are familiar with iced tea then you should have definitely heard about sweet tea. It is a variety of iced tea commonly consumed in the United States, especially in the Southern United States and hence popularly known as Southern Sweet Tea. Whenever you have heard of sweet tea it is almost the bottled version of the tea people go for. This is a cool recipe you would love to make every summer at your home.
Sweet tea is something more than just adding sugar to a glass of iced tea. It is made by adding sugar to bags of tea brewing in hot water while the mixture is still hot, so that the sugar can be easily dissolved. It is saturating the tea with sucrose. Baking soda is an optional ingredient which is often used to reduce the drinkâ€™s acidity. Just a pinch of baking soda makes a large difference in a pitcher of freshly brewed sweet tea as it neutralizes the tannins in the tea, giving it a smoother taste and thus reducing the bitterness of the tea.
Traditionally it is served ice-cold, only with sugar. Chilling your tea changes and improves the flavor of tea. It may also be flavored with lemon, mint, peach or raspberry. Simply pour the tea over ice cubes and drink it straight or add mint leaves or lemon wedges.
Want to know the history of Sweet Tea?: There is a sweet history about this sweet tea. Sweet tea began its journey as a luxury item due to the expensive nature of tea, ice and sugar. Ice was the most valued of ingredients then, as it had to be shipped from afar unlike modern times where it can be made in large quantities very quickly.
It is said that the oldest known recipe for sweet iced tea was published in 1879 in a cookbook called Housekeeping in Old Virginia by Marion Cabell Tyree. This recipe was mostly brewed using green tea, however during World War II, the major sources of green tea were cut off from the United States. This led Americans drinking predominantly black tea. Sweet tea was once consumed as a punch mixed with hard liquor with flavorings of mint and cream as well.
Also, in 2003, supposedly as an April foolâ€™s joke, the Georgia House introduced a bill making it a "...misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature" to sell iced tea in a restaurant that did not also offer sweet iced tea on the menu. However, the bill never went to a vote.
Are you are now curious to know how to make this simple yet refreshing tea?: If you are making the tea for the first time, then start with this recipe and adjust according to your taste. Whether you steep the tea for longer duration or squeeze the bags to make it even stronger or add some flavorings, you are going to love your sweet tea the way you want it. This recipe yields approximately 2 quarts of tea. The preparation will be ready in 30 minutes and then it goes inside the refrigerator for chilling. It is best when refrigerated for 4 to 5 hours or overnight. The flavor improves a lot when refrigerated.
- Small sauce pan
- Long handled spoon
- Large pitcher or multiple small pitchers
- Glass bowls big enough just to brew the tea