A tall ice-filled glass of sweet tea is like a period on a sentence. It completes me.
Add bubbles and whoo whee! Nothing’s more refreshing.
I model my mix on Granny’s, Lipton tea bags and all. It’s dark amber with a good pucker and not too sugary.
To fizz up sweet tea, I make a lemony simple syrup and top it off with soda water right before serving. Of course, you can finish your sweet tea with flat water if you prefer, but there’s something about the bubbles that just make this beverage sing.
If it’s cocktail time, go ahead and stir in a shot of bourbon. Or, if you’re feeling spicy, a pinch off your habanero pepper plant will do the trick nicely. I love the way the spice and sweet mingle together.
This is the perfect summer sip to round out an afternoon on the porch and is a refreshing addition to any garden party you’ve got planned.
The syrup can be refrigerated for up to two weeks so you can easily keep it on hand and offer a sweet tea surprise to any impromptu guests.
Sweet Tea Soda
Makes 3 cups syrup, 12 cups soda
1 lemon plus wedges for serving
2 cups sugar
6 black tea bags, paper tags cut off
3 liters unflavored, unsweetened soda water or seltzer
Mint sprigs, for garnish
Remove the zest from the lemon in long strips with a vegetable peeler. Squeeze 1/4 cup juice from the lemon.
Combine the sugar and 2 cups water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the tea bags and lemon zest and juice. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let steep for 40 minutes.
Discard the tea bags. Divide the syrup and zest among jars. Seal and chill until cold.
When ready to serve, fill tall glasses with ice. Pour 1/4 cup syrup into each glass, then top off with a generous cup of soda water. Garnish with mint and a lemon wedge and serve with a straw o swizzle stick for stirring.