According the favesouthernrecipes.com:
1. It’s got to be freshly brewed.
2. It’s got to be crystal clear. No cloudy ice tea!
3. It’s got to be sweet but not too sweet.
Sweet Ice Tea
Makes ½ gallon
8 cups water divided
6 Lipton regular tea bags
¾ cup sugar
Add 4 cups of water to a medium size saucepan and bring to a roiling boil. You’re going to add the tea bags in a minute but before you do tie the tea bag strings together by gathering all the strings together in one hand and knotting them. You can pull off the tea bag tag if you like to make it easier to tie the knot.
This makes pouring the hot tea into your pitcher much easier. When the tea bags are not tied together some of them float around and try to jump into your pitcher as you’re pouring the hot tea into the pitcher.
Boil the tea bags in the water for about 1 minute. You don’t want to boil them much longer than that or you take the chance of one or more tea bags splitting and then you have to deal with the tea floating around in the pot. If this does happens all is not lost just use a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth to strain the loose tea leaves out of your tea. It’s a pain so keep an eye on your pot of tea.
After the tea has boiled for one minute remove the pot from the hot burner and let it steep for 10 minutes.
While the tea is steeping measure the sugar into your pitcher. After ten minutes is up pour the still hot tea over the sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Preparing your tea while the tea is still hot is what gives you a crystal clear pitcher of ice tea. If you wait until the tea has cooled you will end up with a bitter and cloudy pitcher of tea. It also allows the sugar granules to dissolve.
I hate it when the sugar doesn’t dissolve and sits on the bottom of my glass.
Now measure the last four cups of water and pour it into the pot with the tea bags. Swirl it around a little bit to allow the tea bags to release that last bit of tea goodness from the tea bags.
Pour the tea water into the pitcher.
Chill completely before serving and serve over ice.
Add a wedge of lemon or lime and a few mint leaves if you like.
I’ve also been known to add a slice of an orange if I don’t have any lime or lemon in the house.
Do not add ice to your pitcher of tea. When serving fill a glass with ice and then pour the tea over the ice. If you add the ice to the warm pitcher of tea most of it will melt and you will end up with a watered down version of ice tea.
See y'all next Sunday!
Photo Credit: Southern Weddings Blog
Recipe Credit: Favesouthernrecipes.com