Talk about getting down to the basics! As simple as it is, not everybody knows how to make this Southern must have so I thought I’d take a sec to share. The first thing ya have to do is start with a respectable brand of tea, I use Tetley but Luzianne will do ya just fine. Tetley is great because you can sing the “tiny little tea leaves, in Tetley teeeeea” theme while you’re pulling the tags off. You can of course use Lipton or Red Rose or whatever, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. They all make the family size tea bags, and I use 2 of those in a big ol’ pitcher which works out nice. That would be around 4 or 5 of the small tea bags. You’ll also need some baking soda, so have that near the stove.
Use a small to medium sized sauce pan, and fill it up with water about 3/4ths of the way. Pull the tags off the tea bags (so you ain’t got paper in your tea), and set the whole mess on to boil. Please don’t wander off too far, you don’t wanna let it boil for more than a few seconds if you can help it. When it boils, yank it off the stove and use the super secret iced tea trick! Y’all ready? Take a pinch of the baking soda between your thumb and forefinger, and toss it in the tea. It should bubble up like one of those cheap science project volcanoes for a second, which is my fav part. Tea magic! Let the tea steep for a few minutes, and in the mean time put your sugar in the pitcher. It’s up to you how much you use, some people use a whole cup and that will get you really sweet tea. That’s a little too sweet for me (at least since were trying to eat healthier), 3/4ths cup is what I usually use. It’s good with as little as 1/2 cup sugar, but you ain’t likely to find any self respecting Southern household or diner serving it with any less than that. Take out the tea bags and pour the hot tea over the sugar. You’ll want to squeeze the tea bags into the pitcher too, I throw them back in the empty pot and run some cool water over them to not burn my hands when squeezing them and you can add the cool water to the pitcher. Fill the rest of the pitcher up with water, and give it another good mixing up before putting it in the fridge.