Taste: Sweet Tea with Basil Simple Syrup

On warm summer nights, don’t you just love a good sweet tea? I learned how to make real sweet tea during my catering days back in high school, but I was taught a southern twist in college that has become a sweet tea game changer. My friend, Sonja, is from Texas and loves big flavors– she taught me that the perfect twist to sweet tea is to not just use black tea but to add in some Constant Comment for a little spice. Recently, Matt and I were making this sweet tea for a party and decided to add yet another twist- basil simple syrup. I don’t think I’ll ever go back. Sweet tea is a great party drink because you can make large batches of it by making the tea concentrated and then adding in a lot of ice to make it cool. This tea batch is large enough for a party and tastey enough that you just might run out. Try it and see for yourself!

Sweet Tea with Basil Simple Syrup
Makes 16 servings
20 regular size black tea bags
8 cups of water
4 Constant Comment tea bags
1/8 tsp baking soda (to keep the tea clear and protect against bitterness)
8 cups of ice
2 1/2 cups basil simple syrup
Basil simple syrup:
2 1/2 cups of water
2 1/2 cups of sugar
15 Fresh basil leaves
1. In a large pot bring the 10 cups of water to a boil.
2. Once the water is boiling, add the baking soda, black tea bags and Constant Comment tea bags and turn off the heat. Let steep for 8 minutes. 
3. Remove tea bags without squeezing and fill drink dispenser with ice. Pour hot tea over the ice. 
4. Make the basil simple syrup: heat the 2 1/2 cups of water, sugar and basil leaves over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Bring to a boil and let boil for 1 minute until sugar dissolves. Turn off heat and let mixture steep for 15 minutes. Strain the leaves out of the syrup. 
5. Add in basil simple syrup until sweetened to taste.

The next time you’re headed to a cookout, bring this sweet tea along. You’ll be bound to make some new friends 😉

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