Whether you grew up here, visited and had trouble getting hot tea in a diner, or have simply had a friend tediously prepare you a delicious glass….there’s nothin’ like Southern- style sweet tea.Â Oh and I mean very very sweet, syrupy-like, with that delicious crisp bitterness of whatever bagged teas Mamma had in the cabinet.Â (Most likely drab Lipton family-size bags, as this was both economical and effective for producing mass quantities of the delicious Dixie infusion).
I am a GRITS; a Girl Raised In The South.Â It is what it is, though there are some attributes to having been born into this geographic disposition that have welded themselves to the fibrous structures of my DNA.Â I am pretty sure I will die with sweet tea running through my bloodstream, despite being a raw foodist.
So in order to allow my sweet tea vice to be acceptable to my healthy lifestyle, I began to contrive great alternatives to the traditional Generic Black Tea bagged, sugar-logged southern sweet crack tea.
Here are a few tips….
SWAP BAGGED TEA FOR LOOSE-LEAF TEA.
Use a tea ball or strainer and allow the tea to diffuse, without any trace toxins from the bleached bags used to steep tea.Â Go herbal! Add some flair with dehydrated citrus fruits, herbs, hibiscus flowers, lemongrass; the possibilities for ‘livelying up’ your sweet tea are endless!
I’ve found the Bangkok Blazin’ (c) blend to produce an excellent, light, exotic sweet tea.Â Get it here.
USE A HEALTHY SUGAR ALTERNATIVE TO …WELL…SUGAR!
Mind you, substituting any of these alternatives will not completely cut sugar out of your sweet tea; but they certainly are far healthier than using processed, granulated sugar.
-Soak medjool or honey dates in your tea.Â It will take 10-20 dates, but they will add a natural sweet syrupy flavor to your tea.Â Let soak overnight; so prepare your tea the day before.Â Dates are very healthy for our body and are naturally sweet.Â When the dates are done soaking, leave them in the tea or use them to make cashew cookies (raw and delicious)!
-Swap sugar for honey.
-For vegans, swap honey for agave nectar (and go with raw if possible).
-Use fruit juice for a sweeter, juicier twist!Â Juice your own apples or citrus fruits, and toss the juice into the tea.Â Mix evenly, for a mildly sweet alternative!Â Make a tasty homestyle version of the Arnold Palmer!
ADD FRESH GARDEN HERBS FOR DECORATION AND FRESH VIBRATION!
-Mint makes a great garnish, grows abundandly here in Virginia, and can naturally be used to cleanse the palate.
-Try adding a sprig of basil; you might like it! -Use real lemon or lemon zest for flavor, instead of pre-mixed lemon juice.
Go forth, my Southern Sweethearts, and make you some sweet tea!Â (Even if you’re not a Southern Sweetheart).