Last night, Martin and I had a couple of co-workers over for dinner. I tried out a few new things on willing bellies but failed to do any prep work the night before. So, consequently, on the day of the dinner, I was cooking a lot and efficiently freaking out. That’s why I failed to take any pictures. Food posts without pictures are sad, but sad food pictures are perhaps even worse. I guess you can’t win them all.

I thought I would devote today’s entry to sweet tea, which I made to go with our “barbecue” theme. For many, this beverage needs no introduction. But for others, like our co-workers, sweet tea is a drink served at McDonald’s and true southerners know that just ain’t right. I took a quick poll from all my friends who have experienced real sweet tea and happened to be available online and here are the results:

I asked, When you think of sweet tea, what do you think of?

Manveer: I think of Bojangles sweet tea!

Not quite what I was looking for but let’s go on:

Martin: Bojangles.

Okay … still not quite. I’ll cross my fingers with this next person:

Stuart: Bojangles.

Did I miss something?

Arun: Bojangles. Then the Rockford.

Obviously, yes.

Who knew Bojangles and sweet tea were so irrevocably tied in people’s minds? I was hoping for awesome adjectives like “amazingly awesome” or “summer” or “end-all be-all” of drinks, but these could also describe Bojangles biscuits so that’s good enough for me.

There is a lot of debate on the proper way to make sweet tea. Everyone has a different trick to getting that ever-important crystal-clear amber color.  I’ve heard a variety of techniques, from steeping the tea in a saucepan and pouring it into the pitcher for a natural cool down to not adding any cold water to the mixture. I do subscribe to the “don’t shock the tea” superstition and abstain from pouring cold water onto it, but that’s about it. Of course, everyone is different.

This is the recipe I use to make my sweet tea. I don’t think it compares to the Bojangles version (can anything?) but at least mine doesn’t come with a gross wedge of lemon. I always forget it and sometimes don’t follow the ratios (which I’ve learned one too many times is VERY VERY BAD) so now I’m writing it down where I’ll always know to look.

Sweet Tea

2 family-size or 6 normal-sized Lipton tea bags
2 cups hot (not boiling) water
3/4 cup sugar
6 cups lukewarm water

1- Add sugar to bottom of a pitcher. Place tea bags on top. Pour hot water over mixture and stir to dissolve.

2- Let sit, covered, for 15 minutes.

3- Add remaining water and let chill in the refrigerator until cold.

4- Serve in tall glasses over a lot of ice.

Servings: 4