Wednesday, January 18, 2012

House Wine of the South - Southern Sweet Tea

Truvy said it first and it remains the gospel truth that "sweet tea is the house wine of the south". Everyone drinks it around here and the only difference in recipes are 1)how strong do you like your tea and 2)the amount of sugar you add to it. Some teas are so bland they make me want to cry and some are so sweet that they make my eye balls pucker up. Now, I will drink just about any sweet tea put before me but I have developed my own house wine and I prefer it's ratio of sugar to tea. Since I married a Yankee, I have had to set him up on a few blind dates with the food from my home land so that he too could fall in love with them, just like I have. Sweet tea is one of those items that he has grown to love as much as I do. We have a pitcher on hand at all times since it goes with every meal and is a cheap alternative to coke (meaning everything you buy bottled).
Let this basic recipe be a good starting point for your family and one that you adapt to suit your own taste. Oh, and if you don't know who Truvy is you are not a true southerner! :)

Basic House Wine

4 cups water
4 family size tea bags (I usually buy Lipton. I am not really an off brand girl with tea, sorry!)
Just shy of 1 cup of sugar
8 more cups of ice cold water
Orange or Lime slices

In a small saucepan, bring the 4 cups of water to a boil.
Once it boils, turn off the heat but keep the pot on the stove and stir in the sugar until the granules have dissolved. Remove your tea from the packages, tie them together and drop them in the hot sugar bath. I like to allow a good 20-30 minutes for the tea to steep in the water.
After 20 minutes or so, remove the tea bags from the water and lightly squeeze them and pour the tea base into a big pitcher.
Add 8 more cups of water to the base and stir. Allow the tea to come to room temp, if at all possible, before serving so that it doesn't melt the ice and weaken the tea. Yuck!
Throw in an orange slice or lime wedge and sit back and enjoy!

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