(Picture courtesy of AT)
My parents always made good iced tea. I would ask them how and they would say "this, this, and this." But I had a hard time duplicating. At family reunions, there are always cleaned out milk jugs marked "sweet" and "unsweet." Beverage companies are jumping on the iced tea bandwagon after someone figured out bottled tap water would sell. There is only one brand I like/only purchased in an iced tea emergency and I'm not telling. Like everything else, homemade is better. Good grief. I'd been married for almost thirty years and I was still looking for the holy grail of ice tea perfection.
I am a good cook. I just decided I was going to practice and come up with the perfect recipe for iced tea. Sometimes the most common and easiest of things allude us. Doesn't everybody in the South know how to make iced tea? Somehow I missed out on that lesson. I can tell you how to fix Chicken Fried Steak, Flatsy Patsy (cobbler), Cornbread, and Purple Hull Peas. (Just to name a few.) And I can say "Bless Her Heart" while smiling and not move my lips.
Here is the recipe I came up with. A fridge magnet holds up my recipe (with Clark Gable's pic and "Frankly, my dear" spelled out). I try not to curse but I did yell a big cuss word after I fell down the steps the other day. I apologized to my painters. After all, I am a new Sunday School teacher, not a perfect person.
Amy's Perfect Iced Tea Guarantea'd
FILL a four cup teapot with cold water
PUT on stove and boil water
REMOVE from heat
ADD 4 individual-sized tea bags*** (I prefer the tried and true brand name)
COVER with the teapot lid (little tags hanging out)
STEEP for 8 minutes (to soak, to cover or plunge in liquid, to saturate) I set a timer.
WHILE the tea is steeping
PREPARE a 2 quart plastic jug (I prefer plastic because glass can shatter.)
ADD 4 cups of ice to the jug
(Sister has lived in the Deep South and likes to drink Iced Tea Syrup. I prefer very little sweet or just straight.)
IF I add something sweet: 2 tablespoons of sugar OR 1 good squeeze of honey
BUZZER goes off
POUR hot brewed tea over ice in the jug. Stir with spoon if sweet has been added.
FILL large glass with ice and pour in ICED TEA. Add lemon or lime slice to taste.
POUR fresh iced tea from the plastic pitcher into crystal pitcher (for show).
SIP, GUZZLE and ENJOY!
***I now make DECAF/CAFF tea. Instead of 4 teabags, ADD 1 FAMILY-SIZED DECAF bag and 2 INDIVIDUAL tea bags. Everything else stays the same.
Anyone, North, South, East, or West, can consistently enjoy delicious iced-tea, with this process and the measurements.
For Iced Tea emergency, contact Amy's Iced Tea Hotline where good tea is guarantea'd.