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Best sweet iced tea recipe in the south

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In the southern portion of the United States, folks like their tea over ice and sweetened with a healthy (or not so healthy) dose of sugar. There is an old saying in the south about iced tea:

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It has to be cold, it has to be sweet and it can’t be made last week!

Now, making iced tea isn't a simple task; therefore you have to be patient and toy around with the amount of tea bags and sugar until you are happy with the results. This recipe is a great starting point for the best sweet ice tea in the south!

Best sweet iced tea in the south:


  • 6 regular tea bags
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 6 cups cold water


  1. In a large glass measuring cup, place the tea bags and add the baking soda.
  2. Pour the boiling water over the tea bags.
  3. Cover and steep for 15 minutes.
  4. Take out the tea bags and do not squeeze them.
  5. Pour the tea mixture into a 2-quart pitcher; add the sugar.
  6. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  7. Add in the cold water.
  8. Let cool; chill in the refrigerator and serve over ice.

This will make a two quart pitcher of southern sweet iced tea.

A few points to remember:

  • The baking soda is optional; the only difference in flavor is that it will eliminate any bitterness
  • Please, please please resist the temptation to squeeze excess liquid from the tea bags. Please.
  • Feel free to spruce it up by adding a spring of mint or a lemon wedge.
  • Play with the sugar levels and tea bags until you find the best match for your taste buds.

On a hot summer’s day, this is a thirst quenching and delicious way to keep cool. Tea also has many health benefits!

WebMD reports:

Regarded for thousands of years in the East as a key to good health, happiness, and wisdom, tea has caught the attention of researchers in the West, who are discovering the many health benefits of different types of teas.

Studies have found that some teas may help with cancer, heart disease, and diabetes; encourage weight loss; lower cholesterol; and bring about mental alertness. Tea also appears to have antimicrobial qualities.

(Please note that the WebMD statements above refer to unsweetened tea)

Sweet iced tea is a southern staple that most folks enjoy year ‘round. While adding sugar does change the nutritional values, the benefits of the tea leaves remain. So what are you waiting for? Go grab some tea bags and sugar and prepare for a real southern treat!

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