INDIANAPOLIS - With summer on the horizon, I want to toast to vacations, patios and cookouts. I want to herald in the season of fireflies and sing praises to the breeze as I relax on the back porch. I want to honor the heat of the sun and the give thanks for the shade.
And with that toast, I lift my glass of sweet iced tea.
Forget the booze; the essence of summer can only be contained in one perfect glass of sweet tea. It is the official drink of summertime as far as I am concerned, even though I make it all year round.
Making sweet tea isn't rocket science, but it does involve more than throwing some boiling water, tea bags and some sugar into a pitcher.
I've incorporated family traditions, personal preference and practice into creating this perfect summer refreshment.
Twinkle's Simply Sweet Tea
3 family size or 6 regular size black tea bags
½ cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
2 qts. + 2 cups water
1 tray of ice
Large glass pitcher
Place the tea bags into your empty glass pitcher.
Combine sugars and the two cups of water in a small saucepan and simmer over medium heat to create thin, simple syrup. Stir slowly until the sugar is completely dissolved.
When your syrup is ready, pour directly over tea bags and let steep for 10 minutes, stirring gently a few times.
Take out the tea bags, squeezing out the water from them, and pour your remaining two quarts of water into the pitcher. Stir well and then add your tray of ice.
Tips for better Sweet Iced Tea:
Don't oversteep your tea. The more steeping, the more tannins are released form the tea bags which can make your tea bitter. If you want stronger tea, then add more tea bags instead. What are tannins?(LINK)
Cool your tea before refrigerating. Hot tea put directly into the cold fridge will make your tea became cloudy.
The fresher the better. Only make enough for you to drink up in a few days – not anything I usually have to worry about around here. However, tea that has been sitting for over three days tends to become sour or funky tasting.
If you aren't a fan of black teas or if you'd like to switch it up, green teas and fruit teas can replace the black tea.
Also, I love lemon in my tea, and I prefer to wait until it's poured over ice to squeeze some in. If you like a lot of lemon, you can definitely add fresh cut lemon juice to your batch, or even a few sprigs of fresh mint to fancy up your glass of tea.
Twinkle VanWinkle was born in a small town in Mississippi. A life-long lover of music, media and food, she grew up following those three things along her path. She has almost 20 years of professional cooking under her apron strings, feeding thousands of friends, family and other folks while working in restaurants and bakeries in Oxford, Miss. She baked 300 apple pies for the "Oprah Winfrey Show" and appeared on "The Best Of..." in the same year. Along with producing dynamic entertainment content for LIN Media, she is a mother, musician and social media fanatic.
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