In our July/August 2014 issue, writer Jenny Adams pens an ode to sweet tea—the sugar-sweetened summertime staple of the South. And while tradition calls for strong-brewed black tea and enough sugar to make a dentist shudder, there are plenty of ways to dress up the basic recipe. From honey to agave to maple syrup, and with plenty of fresh ingredients, here’s how we’re shaking up sweet tea this summer.
Basic Sweet Tea
Steep 4 tsp. black tea (or 4 teabags) in 4 cups of water for 6-8 minutes. Strain tea, stir in 1/2 cup of granulated sugar and let cool to room temperature before refrigerating. Serve cold, and over ice.
Instead of granulated sugar, try swapping in these sweeteners:
1/4 cup honey
1/8 cup maple syrup
3 Tbsp. agave nectar
Using the basic sweet tea recipe as a guide, use these flavor combinations for a few modern twists:
Green Tea + Honey + Fresh Mint + Cucumber
Rooibos + Honey + Rosemary + Apricot
Earl Grey + Maple Syrup + Vanilla Ice Cream
Darjeeling + Maple Syrup + Pineapple + Coconut Milk
English Breakfast + Agave Nectar + Cantaloupe
Hibiscus Tea + Agave Nectar + Bing Cherries
Oolong + Agave Nectar + Fresh Ginger + Pear