I was born and raised in the South. My husband was raised in the South by two Yankee-raised parents. It was inevitable that there were going to be some kinks that we were going to have to work out.
One of those things was sweet tea. When we married I realized that no one had ever taught my husband the fine art of making sweet tea. Making sweet tea is definitely an art that is best cultivated in the south. If you have never been given the secrets to making sweet tea, let me share them with you, because no one should live deprived of a glass of delicious sweet tea.
First, always boil your tea in the same pot. My Mama always used a "whistler" kettle to boil her tea. You should definitely wash your pot, but it will retain some of it's "tea-ness" for the next boil. We use Lipton tea bags. We let the tea come to a boil or "whistle" and then turn off and let steep for about five minutes.
Second, before the tea is cooled you add your sugar. We pour our desired amount of sugar into the bottom of our gallon pitcher and then pour the hot tea over the sugar. Stir thoroughly to let dissolve. Squeeze out tea bags. Add cool water to finish filling gallon pitcher.
Last, put in refrigerator to let cool.
It sounds so simple doesn't it, but apparently it isn't because so many people get it so wrong. My sweetie makes the best tea now and when the tea pitcher is empty we all look to him to refill it.
The only thing we disagree on is where that empty tea pitcher should go. Any true Southerner knows that tea pitcher stays in the refrigerator. He wants to leave it out on the counter, but as he discovers... the results can be UGLY!
So for now I blame his forgetting this minor detail on his Yankee genes.