11 Ways to Step Up Grandma’s Sweet Tea
Add a dash of this or a splash of that for a refreshing burst of flavor. Grandma would approve!
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Nothing beats a glass of cool sweet tea on a hot day—even when you’re not in the South. It helps us all kick back and relax, and there’s no reason not to make it your own!
Start by making our Smooth Sweet Tea, and get ready to mix in fresh flavors.
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A Burst of Citrus
Nothing will balance out your sweet tea better than the pucker of some lemon or orange. Both flavors add a bright splash of sun to the classic warm-weather quencher. (Be sure to offer lemon/orange wedges to your guests, too.)
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Lots of Berries
Juicy raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and strawberries—either individually or in a multi-berry mix—add big bursts of flavor. Plus, the subtle blush of color perks up your presentation for guests. For an even deeper flavor, muddle some berries at the bottom of each glass with a spoon.
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Lemon & Blueberry
Who says you have to choose between the citrus and berries? Lemons and blueberries are flavor BFFs and they work together beautifully to brighten up a pitcher of sweet tea. If you decide to muddle some blueberries in the pitcher, keep a few of them whole to accent each glass.
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Think of this as a non-alcoholic mint julep. Add a few sprigs of fresh mint but hold the bourbon–and you’ll have the perfect Southern “mocktail.” You could also add fresh lime for a sweet tea mojito!
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Sure, sweet tea is already, well, sweet! But substituting some of the sugar with honey takes the tea to another level. Honey-flavored tea will cool you down while delivering some pretty incredible health benefits.
Tip: Honey plays well with lots of other ingredients, including ginger, lemon and berries.
Photo: Shutterstock / Bukhta Ihor
Add some spice with a pinch of ground cinnamon–or float a few cinnamon sticks in the pitcher. Instead of using real cinnamon, you can also pop some red-hot candies in your sweet tea. (Seriously!) They’ll bring the cinnamon heat, plus a rosy glow.
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If a little spice is good, then more spice must be better. Adding chai spices (like ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves) to your sweet tea makes an afternoon on the porch feel exotic. Splash in milk or vanilla-flavored creamer for an iced chai latte.
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Add peaches or peach nectar to your sweet tea for a sweet surprise. We love peaches accented with lemon and mint! You might also try a dash of cinnamon–the contrasting flavors are delicious.
(Got Georgia on your mind? We’re peachy-keen on these fruity recipes!)
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There’s nothing like pineapple to bring your imagination on a tropical vacation. If lemon sends you to a sunny backyard, then pineapple takes you straight to the beach. Add a splash of coconut water–and you’ll want to put a tiny umbrella in your tea.
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Adding basil with either strawberry or raspberry brings a surprising sophistication to an afternoon in the backyard. The basil is subtly sweet when paired with a fresh berry, like in this recipe for basil raspberry tea.
Can’t get enough refreshment? Make sure you’ve seen all our fave sweet tea recipes!