I’m not a southern gal. In fact, I was raised among the almond trees of beautiful California! My idea of the south was Fresno, and they didn’t serve legendary tea there as far as I knew.
So when I married an eastern boy with southern roots, I was introduced to the Sweet Tea of the South.
Man was it ever good and smooth . . .
and sweet . . .
and so very, very Southern!
For almost fourteen years, I’ve tried to make southern tea. My husband would put up with my “watered down” version of the nectar of the south. Mine was either not sweet enough or not strong enough.
Then I came across this recipe from Craving Comfort which tells the secret of sweet southern tea. Now you southern folks might have your own way of getting it to taste, well . . . southern. But this one has worked for us!
I finally have that smooth, sweet flavor that is not bitter!
However, I will adamantly warn you that this is not for the healthy-minded. Unless you can somehow use stevia or truvia instead of sugar. Because this takes more sugar than I feel comfortable feeding my family on a regular basis, it is saved for special occasions!
Here is the secret ingredient:
Ohhhh, yuck! That’s what I first thought. Baking soda is reserved for my cookies and my laundry detergent, not to be poured over ice and sipped while sitting on the porch.
If you are an unbeliever like I was, just try it once and see if you don’t begin to view baking soda in a different light.
Now for the entire recipe (because it takes more than just baking soda)!
Sweet Southern Iced Tea
- 12 regular tea bags or 5-8 family size tea bags
- 4 cups boiling water
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- Gallon pitcher
- Cold water and ice
I use a 2-quart glass bowl to steep the tea in. Sprinkle your baking soda on the bottom of the bowl. Add your tea bags and pour boiling water over them. Let steep 15 minutes.
Remove the tea bags and add the sugar. Stir until dissolved.
Pour the brewed tea into your gallon pitcher and fill it to the top with cold water. Stir well. Refrigerate until cool.
Now pour over ice and enjoy!
Makes 1 gallon