13 Sweet Tea Recipes That Turn the Old-School Classic Into an Exciting New Sipper
Sweet tea isn't just some drink we tend to enjoy down in the South. It's the drink. It sits on the table as we tell stories and laugh with loved ones, and it's there waiting for us when the summer heat spanks us silly. While a traditional Southern sweet tea recipe can be very simple and hard to veer away from—why mess with perfection?—we've got just as many variations that turn this old-fashioned classic into a fun new sipper. From bourbon-spiked Arnold Palmers that are ready to be your new porch cocktail to sweet tea-infused cakes that make the ultimate family barbecue dessert, these sweet tea recipes are showing all of the ways to enjoy the company of this iced-down Southern staple.
Here are 13 recipes that'll have you immediately grabbing the tea bags and sugar.
Classic Sweet Tea
Recipe: Classic Sweet Tea
There is simply no more iconic Southern drink, and you should really master the basics before embarking on any crazy detours.
Big-Batch Spiked Arnold Palmers
Recipe: Big-Batch Spiked Arnold Palmers
Spiked with bourbon, this crowd-pleasing Arnold Palmer is just for the adults, and you won't have to worry about constantly stirring up more, thanks to the big-batch ingredient list.
Strawberry-Basil Sweet Tea
Recipe: Strawberry-Basil Sweet Tea
We can bet you have never had a sweet tea like this one, but you'll be so happy you veered from your mother's old recipe, if only for the weekend. Strawberries and basil make a fragrant, fruity duo.
Sweet Tea-and-Lemonade Cake
Recipe: Sweet Tea-and-Lemonade Cake
We'll take our glass of sweet tea—and eat it, too! Literally. This is an Arnold Palmer as a slice.
Bourbon-Peach Iced Tea
Recipe: Bourbon-Peach Iced Tea
Did someone call for a new spiked summer drink to enjoy by the pool or at the outdoor barbecue? This peach-infused bourbon tea is just the thing.
Sweet Tea Mule
Recipe: Sweet Tea Mule
Ginger beer, bourbon, and lime juice transform basic sweet tea into a refreshing cocktail you'll want to lap up on any warm afternoon.
Sweet Tea Bundt
Recipe: Sweet Tea Bundt
We promised "new," didn't we? This is what we call a slice of sweetness. When the cake is out of the oven, it’s brushed with a sweet tea syrup that gives the flavor of sweet tea and moistens the entire cake.
Pineapple-Sweet Tea Punch
Recipe: Pineapple-Sweet Tea Punch
Add major flair to the pitcher with fresh pineapple and pineapple juice, and you can even spike it with a dash of vodka for the adults, if preferred.
Slow-Cooker Ginger, Sweet Tea, and Whiskey Short Ribs
Oh, you didn't see this one coming? Incorporate everyone's favorite Southern drink into the savory side of dinnertime with this melt-in-your-mouth recipe that absolutely bursts with interesting flavors.
Mint Julep Sweet Tea
Recipe: Mint Julep Sweet Tea
This iced cocktail features the best of two classic Southern drinks: the mint julep and sweet tea. For best results, sip in a rocking chair on a front porch somewhere.
Peach Sweet Tea
Recipe: Peach Sweet Tea
The secret to this fruity tea recipe is a homemade peach simple syrup that adds just enough sweetness and fresh peach flavor, as well as the addition of fresh ginger.
Sweet Tea-Brined Fried Chicken
Recipe: Sweet Tea-Brined Fried Chicken
Brining is essential to having the juiciest fried chicken ever, but using a salty-sweet brine of brown sugar and freshly brewed tea is actually a genius combination that adds slightly more intricate flavor. Everyone will be asking about it—and for seconds.
Spiced Tea Bourbon Refresher
Recipe: Spiced Tea Bourbon Refresher
Consider this an extra spunky Arnold Palmer. Fresh-brewed tea, ice-cold lemonade, Southern-made bourbon, honey-infused simple syrup, and orange wedges are ready to take your porch-sipping to the next level.