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sweet tea

Southern Kitchen's Sweet Tea with Lemon

Serves: 4 to 6

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Lemon Simple Syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 large, juicy lemon

Sweet Tea
1 family-sized black iced tea bag, such as Luzianne
4 cups water
Lemon Simple Syrup, for serving
Ice cubes, for serving


To make the lemon simple syrup: In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and the water. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the peel from the lemon. Add the peel to the sugar mixture and reserve the lemon for serving.

Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. As soon as the mixture comes to a boil, remove the saucepan from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Once cool, remove the lemon peels.

To make the sweet tea: Place the tea bag in a medium teapot or heatproof pitcher. Bring 2 cups of the water to a boil; pour the boiling water over the tea. Let steep for 5 minutes, then remove the tea bag. Stir in the remaining 2 cups water and let the mixture cool to room temperature. Once cool, stir in lemon syrup to taste.

Slice the reserved lemon into wedges or rounds. Serve the tea in tall glasses filled with ice cubes and garnished with the lemon wedges. 

Photo: Kate Williams

About the recipe

A perfect sweet tea recipe for all levels of sweet teeth, our iced tea uses a simple syrup to sweeten the tea to taste. You can also serve the tea unsweetened and pass the syrup at the table. We've boosted the lemon flavor of the tea by steeping lemon peels in the simple syrup; if you'd like to keep the tea flavor front and center, you can skip that ingredient. Just be sure to serve over lots of ice.