Sweet tea is a summertime staple. It's easy to make, it tastes great, and it's really healthy for you!

sweet tea in a glass

Did you ever wonder why we say that sweet tea is the drink of happy people? Imagine yourself sitting out in the sun with this refreshing drink. Especially if you are having fun running around the yard or visiting friends and family. That’s the magic of sweet tea!

What Is Southern Sweet Tea?

Sweet tea is a Southern drink that's usually made from tea leaves and sweeteners. The history of sweet tea is pretty interesting. It was originally made by mixing black tea with sugar, but over time it became a blend of black and green teas with sugar added. It's also known as "sweet" because of its high concentration of natural sugars--which makes it perfect for hot weather! 


sweet tea in a tea set

It has been around for a very long time, but it didn't really take off until the Civil War era when it became popular among Union soldiers who were stationed in Richmond, Virginia (where much of the war was fought). The popularity of sweet tea grew even more after the war as people began drinking it as a way to cool off during hot summer days. The original version of sweet tea was made with just water and sugar, but it wasn't until the 1980s that people started adding honey or lemonade syrup to their sweet teas. It can be made from either black or white tea, depending on how sweet you like it.

How To Make Sweet Tea?

Making homemade sweet tea is the perfect alternative to over-processed, store-bought versions. It's easy to do and requires just a few basic ingredients. You can customize it by using different flavorings, like mint or berries, depending on the season. And you can serve it with your favorite garnishes, like fresh fruit or mint sprigs.

Sweet tea is made from sugar and water, but there are some important steps that must be taken before you actually start drinking it.


  • 12 black tea bags 
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • Ice (crushed or cubes)
  • Fresh mint leaves or lemon slices


  • The tea bags should be submerged with the strings dangling over the side of the pot after being dipped in the water several times to properly hydrate them. 
  • Remove and discard the bags after five minutes.
  • Stir the tea with the sugar until all of it is dissolved.
  • Fill the pitcher with the tea base.
  • To make a gallon of sweet tea, combine the tea base with 3 more quarts of water and stir.
  • Place in the fridge for at least 4 hours, or better yet, overnight.
  • The sweet tea should be poured into cups with ice. 
  • If preferred, garnish each with a lemon or mint sprig.

If you love refreshing Southern summer drinks, you'll love this southern-style sweet tea. This recipe for southern sweet tea will give you an authentic southern taste – with the perfect blend of sugar, lime and mint leaves. Enjoy!


Stay Well Steeped

Be a part of the Wellness Tribe and enjoy exclusive benefits