Is Sweet Tea Going Commercial?

updated May 12, 2022
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

We’ve noticed that sweet tea, that classic symbol of southern hospitality, has been cropping up in some unexpected places.

McDonald’s has been rolling out their Mickey D’s Sweet Tea nation-wide over the past several months. And just the other day, we noticed that Arizona Iced Tea had also come out with their own bottled version of the drink.

What do we think: is this abusing a fine Southern tradition or is sweet tea finally getting the national coverage it deserves?

What makes sweet tea so special?

Anyone who’s spent time in the South will be quick to insist that sweet tea is more than simply ice tea with sugar!

Classic sweet tea is a crystal clear reddish brown concoction brewed with basic black tea–Lipton’s or Luzianne’s being the preferred brands. Seven or eight bags are brewed in a small amount of water and then diluted into a gallon pitcher.

But the real key? What makes sweet tea sweet? Add the sugar while the tea is still warm so that it completely dissolves into the drink. No sugary sludge at the bottom of this iced tea!

Served ice-cold with a wedge of lemon and you’ve got yourself the perfect beverage for a relaxing summer afternoon, Southern-style.

Southern Sweet Tea

7-8 bags of black tea, Lipton’s or Luzianne’s
1 cup sugar

Bring a few cups of water to a boil. Add the sugar and stir until completely dissolved. Add the tea bags and let steep for 20 minutes or more.

Pour into a gallon pitcher and fill the rest of the pitcher with cool water. Refrigerate.

To serve, fill a glass completely with ice and pour the tea over the top. Garnish with a lemon wedge.

Related: Bourbon Mint Tea

(Images:, The Dr. Soda Company, Flickr member galant licensed under Creative Commons)