Sweet tea is to Southerners what wine is to the French. Here is the "Cooks Illustrated" version of Iced Tea. It is guaranteed to cool you down on a hot summer day!
Quick and Simple Iced Tea
5 tea bags of your choice (I use Lipton)
1 quart water
1 to 6 tablespoons sugar (depending on desired sweetness, many southerners will not be satisfied with anything less than one-quarter cup per quart!)
1 quart ice, plus additional cubes for glasses
~Heat tea bags and water in medium saucepan over medium heat until instant read thermometer registers about 190 degrees, about 10 minutes.
~Off heat, steep for 3 minutes (no longer or tea may become bitter). Remove and discard tea bags; pour into pitcher. Stir in sugar until dissolved. Stir in ice until melted. Serve in ice-filled glasses.
~Minted Iced Tea
Add 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, bruised with a wooden spoon, along with the tea bags and water. After you remove the tea bags, strain tea through fine-mesh sieve to remove mint.
~Gingered Iced Tea
Add 1-inch pice fresh ginger, sliced into thin coins and smashed with broad side of large chef's knife, along with the tea bags and water. After you remove the tea bags, strain tea through fine-mesh sieve to remove ginger.