Few drinks conjure images of Southern living like sweet tea. A glistening glass on a hot summer afternoon, sipping while sitting on a porch. But what’s the difference between sweet tea and regular old ice tea?
Sugar. A whole giant heaping of sugar. And also the brew time!
So how did this drink start? The earliest recipe shows up in a cookbook from 1879, with the recipe calling for green tea instead of the traditional black tea used today. The recipe changed to black tea during WWII, with access to green tea cut off due to the Japanese invasion. Instead, the British stepped up (quite ironically) for our sweet tea addiction and supplied us with black tea from India. Since the 1940s, black tea has reigned supreme in sweet tea production. It’s surpassed its status as a drink for only the wealthy to become a drink for everyday people.
We’ll show you this super simple recipe for Sweet Tea & Bourbon, another classic beverage from Americana to create the ultimate summer sipper. Have it at backyard barbeques, 4th of July parties, or just enjoy it alone reading a good book on your patio.
Now, one thing we won’t do is tell you there is right way or a wrong way to make sweet tea. Everyone’s family has their own recipe and whatever recipe that is would be the correct way to make it. However, if you grew up anywhere but the South, let us show you a simple way to make this drink.
First off, find some classic black tea. You want something like an English breakfast tea or even just Lipton (yes, Lipton!). They even make big bags of tea for sweet tea because we’re all pretty much addicts at this point. You can use loose leaf tea or tea bags. If you use loose leaf tea, prepare to use either a tea infuser or to pour your tea into a fine mesh sieve. If you’re using tea bags, use tea tongs to remove the bags from hot water. Either method works well, but the key to the best tasting version lies in the type of tea you use.
You want to heat 2 quarts of water over medium-high heat until it gets to a simmer in a small stock pot. Add your sugar and stir until it’s completely dissolved. Turn off the heat and add your tea. Put a lid on it and let it sit for 5 minutes. Strain or remove the tea bags and let the tea cool at least 15 minutes. If you want to drink it immediately, you can pour the hot tea over a pitcher filled with ice. If you’re making a big batch for later drinking, add 2 more quarts of water and pour into a pitcher.
And now your sweet tea is ready to be mixed with some Kentucky bourbon for super happy fun party times! Or just responsible sipping times, because we believe in drinking responsibly always.
To make the cocktail, fill a 16 ounce glass with ice. Add 2 ounces of bourbon, then top with the sweet tea. The lemon slice is optional (as lemon doesn’t traditionally go in sweet tea), but we really feel like it adds a nice little touch of summer.
Happy sipping! Don’t forget to use your Endurance® Drink Straws for maximum sipping joy.
Sweet Tea & Bourbon Cocktail
Classic Southern sweet tea mixed with Kentucky Bourbon is the perfect summer celebration of Americana.
black tea, or 4 tea bags, or 1 sweet tea bag
Ice or 2 quarts cold water
Lemon slices for garnish
Heat 2 quarts of water over medium-high heat until it gets to a simmer in a small stock pot.
Add sugar and stir until completely dissolved. Turn off heat and add tea. Put a lid on it and let sit for 5 minutes. Strain or remove tea bags.
To cool tea use one of two methods:
1. Allow to cool for 15 minutes and add 2 quarts of cold water. Chill in refrigerator.
2. Pour hot tea over 4 cups of ice into large heat proof pitcher. Stir until ice is completely melted.
To make the cocktail, fill a 16 ounce glass with ice. Add 2 ounces of
bourbon, then top with sweet tea. Lemon slice garnish optional.