Truly, real sweet tea is religion in the South. When traveling to other parts of the country, Southerners miss their precious sweet tea and are thrown into a worship experience if the real thing is discovered while away from home.
Speaking of the real thing, we love our Coca-Cola (also the real thing) here in the South, but all real-sweet-tea-aholics know the real real thing. Don’t tell the Coke company, y’all. It might start a revolt. Coca Cola might place a ban on tea bags sold in stores to prevent us from making our other real thing.
The Ten Commandments of Real Sweet Tea
Thou shalt not serve tea made from granules called instant – for this is blasphemy!
Thou shalt not serve tea that is brewed, then chilled and served with no sugar added.
Thou shalt not attempt to add sugar, sugar substitute, etc., to chilled un-sweet tea to falsify real sweet tea.
Thou shalt not covet one’s neighbor’s tea – except in the South, where sharing the experience of sweet tea is faithful service.
Thou shalt boil 6 cups of water and add one full cup of sugar (no substitutes!), stir until sugar is dosolved, and allow to remain soft rolling boil two to three additional minutes – longer if time allows.
Thou shalt add one family sized tea bag (or four regular-sized bags) to sugared boiling water, and remove from heat.
Thou shalt rest tea off of heat and covered, 2-3 hours if possible, steeping the tea for full flavor.
Thou shalt remove tea bag(s) and pour into gallon pitcher for serving.
Thou shalt add fresh water to finish filling pitcher for refrigeration, but add only a tish when serving immediately over ice.
Thou shalt serve sweet tea, always over ice, in a glass container of choice, with a garnish of choice.
What’s my garnish of choice? These days, it’s Apple Mint, freshly snipped off the potted plant on the porch. I found Apple Mint at Lowe’s or Home Depot last year and thought I’d give it a try. So glad I did, ’cause it is my favorite thing to add to tea or lemonade.
I hope you can find a starter plant this year. Better than regular mint – it’s sweeter, almost to the point of not needing sugar in your tea.
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