Cocktail Friday ~ Perfect Southern Sweet Tea

So, you know how sometimes you can order those cocktails that taste like tea but they’re full of alcohol and next thing you know, you accidentally drink too many and the room is spinning?




This is not one of those.


I’m at the 35 week mark of my pregnancy, so the craziest I get is the occasional caffeinated beverage.  Sweet tea is one of my favorites (and I can make it decaf!!), and living in the South, I’m used to having it readily available.


Every restaurant in town carries sweet tea.  Because honestly, adding a pack of sugar to unsweet tea doesn’t work.  All the sugar just sinks to the bottom and it tastes like unsweet tea with the occasional grain of sugar floating around, which is really dumb.


I’ve messed around with a few different sweet tea recipes over the years, until I finally got it just right.  It’s important to follow the directions EXACT, because true Southern Tea is sugary enough to taste SWEET, but juuuuust strong enough that you know it’s tea and not sugar water.  This recipe is truly perfect, but don’t let it sit around more than 3 days TOPS.  I usually toss any left in the pitcher after 2 days because it just starts to get a funky after taste that I don’t like.  Fresh tea is the best kind, so don’t be tempted to double this recipe unless you’ve got a large family or company coming over.


2 LARGE tea bags or about 6  small ones  (I always use large Lipton bags)

4 cups BOILING water

1 cup sugar


1.  Place tea bags in a 2 quart pitcher.

2.  Boil water and measure 4 cups (I have a 4 cup Pyrex measuring glass that I use) and pour over the tea bags.  Let sit for FIVE MINUTES.  Dunk the bags a few times, then remove and throw away.

3.  Add the sugar to the hot tea and stir until dissolved.  Add cold water to the 2 quart mark.

That’s it!!

Enjoy and have a happy weekend.


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  1. 1
    Carrie says:

    You are SOOOOO right! I love sweet tea, and actually how I make it is pretty much just like your recipe (only instead of boiling the water on the stove I use the Bunn coffee maker). People up “north” just don’t get it. We had to spend almost 2 months in Pittsburgh, PA when my son was in Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and they DO NO HAVE SWEET TEA there! No where in the entire TOWN. UGH! I was jonesing so bad for some. I asked every where we went…and they would look at me like I had 2 heads and offer me some sugar packets for the tea they had. IT’S NOT THE SAME! So, finally once he was well enough, nearing the end of his hospitalization when we were brave enough to venture more than a few minutes from the hospital if we left, we heard that about 15 mins down the interstate there was a Bob Evans. Well, the Bob Evan’s here has sweet tea (and it’s pretty good!) so I thought YES! They will have it. Low and behold, they too were clueless….and the waitress even tried to tell me that she thinks the only one that does have it is the Bob Evans in Georgia! ARGH! Ofcourse, at that same dining outing, my hubby ordered dressing with his fried chicken and she wanted to know “what kind, we have ranch, thousand island…..” We had to explain to her what that was, you know, you have it with turkey at thanksgiving…..and then she was like “ohhhhh, you mean stuffing!” It’s funny how different things can be just a couple of hours away!! LOL

  2. 2
    Terri says:

    Hey there Carrie – stop picking on my city (Pittsburgh)!! We are too busy sticking French Fries on everything (Steak Salads and Primanti Sandwiches) that we don’t want the extra calories from sugar in our iced tea :-). I hope you found some things you liked about our city while you were here. If you come back you can get Sweet Tea at McDonald’s but I doubt that it as good as this recipe.

  3. 3
    Kit says:

    took me 20 years of marriage to figure out how to make good sweet “like his mama’s”… i married arkansas boy too!

  4. 4
    Dee says:

    Sweet tea is the best beverage ever made. I grew up in Southern Illinois and drank a LOT of sweet tea. I’ve lived in Southeast Missouri and North Mississippi (and worked & finished college in Memphis) and drank a LOT of sweet tea. I’ve recently moved to the Seattle area and I’m NOT drinking a lot of sweet tea . . it’s almost impossible to find it out here. I make mine at home close to this recipe except I fix a gallon at a time with my coffee maker, but wish I could get it at some of the awesome restaurants out here. :P

  5. 5

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