Bob Fila/Chicago Tribune
Classic iced tea
Note:This recipe comes from Cook's Illustrated. The magazine, known for its extensive recipe and product testing, says Twining's English Breakfast and Tazo Awake brands topped its taste test.
5 tea bags of your choice
1 quart water
1 to 6 tablespoons granulated sugar, optional
1 quart ice cubes, plus additional cubes for glasses
Heat tea bags and water in medium nonreactive saucepan over medium heat until dark colored, very steamy, and small bubbles form on bottom and sides of pan (an instant-read thermometer will register about 190 degrees), 10 to 15 minutes.
Off heat, steep for 3 minutes (no longer or tea may become bitter). Remove and discard tea bags; pour tea into pitcher.
Stir in sugar, if using, until dissolved and desired sweetness is reached; stir in ice until melted. Serve in ice-filled glasses garnished with lemon slices.
Keep in mind: Depending on the quality of your tap water, you may want to use bottled water to make both the tea and your ice cubes. For stronger tea, reduce ice to 3 cups.
Sweet southern iced tea
Note:This recipe comes from that epitome of the Southern cook, Food Network star Paula Deen, who recommends Luzianne brand tea.
1 quart water
4 family-size tea bags (7 grams each)
2 cups sugar
1 lemon, sliced for garnish
1 bunch mint leaves
In a large pot, bring the water to a boil. Remove pot from heat, add the tea bags, cover with a lid, and allow tea to steep in water for 20 minutes.
Take a 1-gallon jug and pour the sugar into the jug and cover with some hot tap water. Stir the sugar around to dissolve while the tea is steeping. Once the tea has steeped, remove the lid and the tea bags from the pot. Pour the tea into the jug with the sugar, stir, and place the tea bags into the jug. Stir the tea well, making sure the sugar dissolves. Fill the jug with cold water to yield 1 gallon.
To serve, pour each glass of tea and garnish with a slice of lemon and mint leaves.