Updated 12/19/2010: Sugar reduced from 1/3 cup to 1/8 cup. A lot of times, I even halve that to 1 Tbsp sugar in 2 quarts of tea.
Cook’s Notes: I have a pitcher of this tea in my fridge at all times. It just seems more refreshing than regular iced tea. According to Thompson, the baking soda will soften the natural tannins that cause a bitter taste. Making simple syrup is an easy way to sweeten the tea.
Makes 2 quarts (8 cups).
2 cups water
1/8 cup sugar
1/8 tsp baking soda
6 regular-size strong black tea bags (PG Tips brand)
2 regular-size mint tea bags
6 cups cold water
Start by making a simple syrup. In a small saucepan, bring the 2 cups water to a boil. Stir in sugar until it dissolves. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. Turn off the burner, and stir in the baking soda. Add the tea bags and steep for 15 minutes. Remove the tea bags, being careful not to squeeze them (squeezing the bags will add bitterness).
Pour tea mixture into a two-quart pitcher, and add cold water to make 8 cups total (2 quarts). Serve chilled over ice.
- Arnold Palmer variation (or “tea-monade”): Increase the sugar to 6 oz (3/4 cup). Add 1 cup lemon juice to the tea mixture. Add cold water as needed to make 2 quarts (8 cups).
Source: Adapted from the book Iced Tea by Fred Thompson (Harvard Common Press).