Home / Main Recipes / How To Make Southern Sweet Tea — Cooking Lessons from The Kitchn

How To Make Southern Sweet Tea — Cooking Lessons from The Kitchn

Sooner than you Southerners learn this and get started pondering, “Are you kidding me? Who does not understand how to make candy tea?” — listen me out. I’m Florida-born and Georgia-raised, but if I moved to California, some of the first issues I spotted used to be that nobody beverages candy tea out right here! I at all times stay a tumbler in a position in my refrigerator, and my pals inevitably inquire from me, “How do you are making this?”

Lately you are going to learn the way. Whether or not you’ve gotten by no means heard of candy tea or have most effective attempted the bottled model, it is a recipe you are going to wish to make this summer season. Southerners, chime in right here along with your highest recommendation!

What is the Historical past of Candy Tea?

First, just a little historical past on candy tea. In 1795, the primary tea plantations in the USA arrived in South Carolina. Lately, there are nonetheless a couple of left within the state. The primary candy tea recipe has been traced again to the cookbook Housework in Outdated Virginia, through Marion Cabell Tyree, and used to be printed in 1879. It referred to as for inexperienced tea, which used to be extra often under the influence of alcohol as iced tea on the time, till International Conflict II when inexperienced tea importation used to be bring to an end and American citizens switched to black tea imported from India.

Candy tea is so ingrained in Southern tradition that during 2003, as a part of an April Idiot’s comic story, the Georgia Legislature offered a invoice that will make it a misdemeanor for eating places to not be offering candy tea. Within the film Metal Magnolias, Dolly Parton proclaimed that candy tea used to be “the home wine of the South.” One among my favourite easy pleasures is to sit down at the again porch on a velvety Georgia evening, sipping candy tea, and consuming a plate of fried inexperienced tomatoes whilst observing fireflies.

What Is Candy Tea?

Candy tea is extra than simply including a spoonful of sugar to a pitcher of iced tea. First off, it is normally made in massive batches and stored chilled within the refrigerator, in a position for a day customer or a very easy cool-down on a scorching summer season day.

Maximum recipes name for a somewhat fast steep, any place from a couple of swishes of the tea luggage throughout the scorching water to a complete five-minute dunk, although some Southerners like a pleasing lengthy steep to make a more potent candy tea. Combine the sugar into the new tea so it dissolves utterly — I just like the somewhat gentle sweetness of a cup of sugar in a gallon of tea, however it’s worthwhile to without a doubt upload extra (or much less) to fit your personal private style. (We Southerners do have a candy teeth! Coca-Cola, pecan pie, and candy tea … Our love of sugar helps to keep dentists in trade.)

Relax your candy tea totally earlier than ingesting it. I in finding the flavour in fact adjustments and improves the extra chilled the tea will get. Pour it over ice, and drink it instantly, or upload a spray of mint or drop in a couple of lemon wedges. For a grown-up, after-work model, upload a shot of bourbon or different favourite liquor.

Making Your Personal Candy Tea

The most efficient candy tea is the only within the pitcher for your refrigerator. In case you’ve by no means made candy tea earlier than, get started with this recipe after which alter it to style. Steep the tea for longer, upload kind of sugar, squeeze a couple of lemons into the pitcher — you favor your candy tea the best way you adore it, and that is the reason simply advantageous.

Southerners and Southerners-at-heart, I might love to listen to about your “area recipe” for candy tea and what recommendation you might have for making the most efficient model. Please proportion your tales within the feedback!

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Boil the water. Carry four cups of the water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high warmth. Take away from warmth.

How To Make Candy Tea

Makes 1 gallon

What You Want


  • three

    family-sized black tea luggage (or 12 particular person tea luggage), akin to Lipton or Luzianne

  • 1 cup

    granulated sugar

  • Ice

  • Recent mint leaves or lemon slices (non-compulsory)

  • Apparatus
  • Small saucepan

  • Lengthy-handled spoon

  • 1-gallon pitcher, or more than one smaller pitchers


  1. Boil the water. Carry four cups of the water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high warmth. Take away from warmth.

  2. Steep the tea for five mins. Dunk the tea luggage a couple of instances within the water to completely hydrate, then go away submerged with the strings putting over the facet of the pot. After five mins, take away the baggage and discard.

  3. Upload the sugar to the tea. Upload the sugar and stir till utterly dissolved.

  4. Pour the tea base into the pitcher. If the use of more than one pitchers, divide the tea flippantly between them.

  5. Most sensible off the pitchers with water. Upload three extra quarts of water to the tea base to make a gallon of candy tea and stir to mix.

  6. Refrigerate till very chilly. Refrigerate for a minimum of four hours or, preferably, in a single day.

  7. Serve over ice. Pour the candy tea into ice-filled glasses. Upload a spray of mint or a slice of lemon to each and every, if desired!

Recipe Notes

Garage: The candy tea will stay refrigerated for approximately every week.

More potent candy tea: For more potent tea, upload the tea and the sugar on the similar time, stir to dissolve the sugar, after which let the tea steep for as much as three hours. Take away the tea luggage and proceed with the recipe.

Sweeter (or not-so-sweet) candy tea: As it’s, this makes a somewhat gentle, calmly sweetened tea; if you happen to’d choose a sweeter tea, stir in further sugar, 1/four cup at a time, to the entire 1-gallon batch simply earlier than refrigerating. Stir till dissolved, then refrigerate. You’ll be able to additionally upload much less sugar, if you happen to choose.

Arnold Palmers (aka Swamp Water): Combine equivalent portions lemonade and candy tea.

Spiked candy tea: Upload a shot of your favourite liquor to the glass, then pour the candy tea over most sensible. (Bourbon is a favourite — take a look at our recipe for Glowing Candy Tea Cocktail!)

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