First, find some tea. I buy cheap tea because if I bought expensive tea I'd go bankrupt in about a week and a half. I also buy caffeine-free tea because I'd rather not be mistaken for the Energizer bunny. You can get whatever kind of tea you like, but good ol' Lipton is pretty standard.
Next thing you do is boil four cups of water.
While your water is boiling, take twelve teabags out of their pouch. I like to destring my teabags, too, because somehow I think the ink on the tea tag is going to poison me, despite the fact that I chewed on notebook paper when I was a kid. This is a completely unnecessary step for the sane.
When your water is boiling, take it off the heat, add a pinch of baking soda (the secret ingredient--and yes, just a pinch), and toss in your teabags. Cover the pan and let it sit for 20 minutes.
When your timer goes off, fish out your teabags, pour your uber-strong tea into a one-gallon pitcher and add your sweetener. The original recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of sugar, but that's waaaaaay a lot. Start with one cup and work your way up or down from there. Once you're addicted you'll have to switch to zero-calorie sweetener to prevent yourself from becoming gargantuan; and believe me, you will be addicted.
Here's the sneaky bit: Because nobody can wait all day for an ice-cold glass of sweet tea, speed up the process by dumping a crapton of ice into the pitcher and swirling it around until it melts. Top off the rest with chilled water and serve immediately over ice or store in the fridge.
Now that you have your perfect pitcher of sweet tea, serve it up on your front porch and soak in the summer. Everybody will think you're a gen-u-ine Georgia peach, bless your heart.
I linked up with Eat Drink & Be Mary for Delicious Dish Tuesday and the Orchard Girls for What We Eat Wednesday. Go check them out!