I love Southern Sweet Tea! To me, there is nothing more refreshing on a hot summer day although I'll happily drink it at any time! I've put it in the magical potions category because that's truly what it is, a drink made with care and love that gives as good as it gets. Southern hospitality is laced with so many wonderful things, old silver, fresh biscuits, lazy days and a wraparound porch, but the blood of the South is definitely made up of sweet tea and perhaps a touch of Bourbon!
I'm not a southern girl by birth, but just in my heart. I love my southern girlfriends with their naughty charm and their flirtatious ways. It is in their honor that I give you this recipe, simple as can be yet as potent as Mardi Gras! A huge plate of homemade cookies or a delicious Lane cake, and you are only a friend or two short of a party! Store bought dessert on a gorgeous cake plate is fine too, "cause sugar it's the thought that counts!"
By the way, don't balk at the amount of sugar in this tea, because that's what makes it grand. Add some organic storebought lemonade and you've got an "Arnold Palmer"! Steep some fresh mint in it along with the tea and you've got ambrosia! Most importantly, serve it in a long tall glass, with ice made from branch water (a fancy name for pure stream water!) and a squeeze of lemon or a sprig of mint.
For a good pitcher of tea you will need to bring about a quart of water to boil, turn off the heat and add 4 tea bags. In spite of all of my "fancy" teas, I use Constant Comment, which is a basic "good ol'" orange pekoe spice blend. A lovely country music star who came into my store one evening swore by Pappy's sassafras tea concentrate http://www.sassafrastea.com/, so much so that when she got back to Nashville she sent me some! No matter what you use, let it steep and add about a cup of sugar, stirring the sugar until it's melted. This is the key, adding the sugar when the tea is hot, otherwise, it just doesn't taste right! Let the mixture cool, and put it into a pitcher, adding spring water to taste. Stick it into the refrigerator and wait for intense heat and real good company!
PIcture courtesy of teamuse.com