Down to a T

My trip down South has ended, and I’m already fondly reminiscing over the great times & many wonderful dishes. Recently posted were tasty peppermint cookies & collards and black-eyed peas, but there is one Southern staple I miss already – sweet tea. May seem simple, but if you’ve been to the South, you’d be hard-pressed to find a kitchen or restaurant not serving a chilled pitcher of this easy-drinking variety. It’s not that I can’t make it at home, I do make tea occasionally, but there is something addicting & refreshing about a good pitcher of the sweeter kind.

One local restaurant is known for their awesome sweet tea with mint & great lunch specials, and it’s a favorite when I visit Atlanta. Mittie’s Tea Room Cafe is located in both Historic Roswell and Historic Downtown Alpharetta, and for over 25 years Mittie’s has been charming locals & visitors with their hospitality. I remember going there as a kid, and loving their delicious iced tea and famous chicken salad! I was lucky enough to have the chance to visit Mittie’s for lunch over Christmas, and was again delighted by the country charm of their Alpharetta tea room. Mittie’s is nestled within a historic country cottage, donning charming hand-painted tea pots, and country inspired decor.

Their menu offers both a country breakfast and lunch fare, but I always find myself ordering ‘Katie’s Delight’ consisting of their famous Chicken Salad Croissant, side of house lobster bisque and a harvest green salad. The chicken salad is unique, and full of white meat chicken, almonds, grapes, a little mayo, and a secret spice blend. All goes perfectly inside a buttery, freshly-baked croissant if I do say so! Soup and salad are pretty ordinary lunch options, but there is something exceptional about Mittie’s menu that keeps people coming back for years & years…

Inspired by my  trip to Mittie’s, and the tea my family made daily over the holidays, here is a classic Southern Sweet Tea recipe I know you’ll love! Did I mention it’s as easy as boiling water? See, I knew you’d like it too…

Southern Sweet Tea

51

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: large pitcher of tea

glass

Southern Sweet Tea

Sweet tea is refreshing staple in the South, that you can easily make & savor any season! A few standard ingredients is all you'll need!

What to get...

  • 4 family-size black tea bags (Like Lipton brand)
  • ~5 cups drinking water (plus ~2 cups after first steeping)
  • 0.5 - 1 cup white sugar (to taste)
  • Lemon wedges for serving
  • Ice Cubes for serving
  • *You will need a large beverage pitcher.

What to do...

  1. Bring a medium pot of water and tea bags to a rolling boil on low.
  2. Once boiling, cover with a lid or saucer, and turn off heat letting tea bags steep in pot for about 5-8 minutes.
  3. Pour warm/hot tea into large glass pitcher, reserving tea bags in the now emptied pot.
  4. Run warm water over tea bags in pot, and add to warm tea already in pitcher. (about 2 more cups worth).
  5. To warmed pitcher of tea, add 0.5 -1 cup sugar mixing well (add sugar to taste for desired sweetness).
  6. You can transfer pitcher to refrigerator and store, or leave room temperature covered if consuming quickly.
  7. Serve tea in glasses over ice cubes to chill, with lemon wedges on the side!

Notes

This is seriously easy and seriously good. Many Southern sweet teas are in fact, very sweet, but you can add less sugar to your taste.

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You might be thinking this is just like making any iced tea, and you’d be correct! Though, what sets this sweet tea apart is in fact the ‘sweet’, our white sugar, is added at the right time! We add the sugar directly into the pitcher while our tea is still warm-hot. This allows the sugar granules to completely dissolve & incorporate throughout. Now you won’t have to fool with awkward sweetener packets to make each glass…

Our tea also has a deep flavor, because we do not add ice into the pitcher. In the past I’ve filled the pitcher with ice cubes to chill our steeped tea, but that ultimately dilutes its richness. It just makes sense to serve our undiluted brew, instead over ice in individual glasses.

Now I’ve got this sweet tea stuff down, and I’m ready to whip-up a fresh pitcher! Though I can’t be sitting on Mittie’s charming porch, I’ll have to enjoy my next sweet glass from the West Coast… 

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