I know it's heresy--a "Northerner" giving you a recipe for the ubiquitous drink of the South! But to be honest with you, I never quite knew how to make really good iced tea--it would be bitter, too weak, too strong, etc. So I started looking for an honest-to-goodness recipe and found this one which I've tweaked a bit to suit us.
According to American Table, the first published recipe for sweetened, non-alcoholic iced tea appeared in Marion Campbell Tyree’s 1879 community cookbook Housekeeping in Old Virginia Containing Contributions from 250 Ladies in Virginia and Her Sister States. Quite a mouthful, isn't it?
And most of the tea used back then was green tea which is suddenly so in vogue again and which, during World War II, became impossible to get since it was imported from Japan--that's when black tea began appearing in everyone's cup.
Use six tea bags. I like to mix it up--some black tea, some green tea and, in this case, some Zen tea from Tazo with green tea, lemongrass and spearmint.
Bring two cups of water to the boil.
Add tea bags and sugar. Recipe calls for 3/4 cup but that is way too sweet to us. We substitute 1/3 cup of Splenda, but experiment to see what you prefer. Cover and let tea steep for 15 minutes
The secret to iced tea that isn't bitter--a pinch of baking soda!
Add six cups of cold water or cold water mixed with ice if you want to drink it right away--although the recipe in Marion Tyree's cookbook gently suggests that if you want the tea for dinner, you should make it at breakfast! Use a pretty pitcher or a utilitarian container that can go in the fridge with no fear of breaking.
Pour into a pretty glass, sit back, put your feet up and enjoy.
If you'd like to visit a world where there's plenty of sweet tea and a dash of...murder...you might enjoy my Sweet Nothings Lingerie Series written as Meg London.