If you've ever spent a significant amount of time in the American South, then you've likely gotten an opportunity to have yourself a refreshing glass of its regional staple: sweet tea (even if sweet tea's origins are not-so-Southern). This popular Southern drink can be made as simply as its name suggests -- steep some black tea in hot water, cool it with cold water, and sweeten it with sugar (and perhaps top it off with lemon or mint). But that doesn't mean that you have to always make sweet tea the traditional way. Sometimes putting a twist on this classic drink can make it all the more refreshing, both literally and figuratively. So how would you give sweet tea an upgrade? Mix in some cranberry juice.
Sweet and sour are classic tastes that have been combined in all kinds of dishes for a flavorful balance. You can enjoy this complementary flavor duo in your sweet tea by simply mixing in cranberry juice, which will add a delicious tang to go along with the sweetness of your tear. And just because you're putting a little spin on the simple recipe for sweet tea doesn't mean it's going to get more complicated, as this concoction is quite easy to make. However, there's a specific kind of cranberry juice that you should be mixing into your sweet tea for the best results.
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Mix 100% Cranberry Juice Into Your Sweet Tea
There are three types of cranberry juice that you're likely to find on grocery store shelves and only one of which you should use to give your sweet tea a more complex flavor profile. The first kind is pure cranberry juice, which is made from nothing but cranberries and it isn't sweetened at all. Pure cranberry juice can be unpleasant to drink without any added flavorings or sweeteners because it's often incredibly bitter.
The second kind is a cranberry juice cocktail, which is made with cranberries and sweeteners meant to counteract the sourness of the fruit. The sugar added to this juice is often derived from refined sugars, such as high-fructose corn syrup.
The third kind of cranberry juice is the one that you'll most want to mix into your sweet tea: 100% cranberry juice. This juice is made from a mix of cranberries and a blend of other fruit juices, typically grape, apple, and pear. When these fruit juices are blended with cranberries, they make the result more tolerable to drink because they soften the bitterness of the cranberries -- but without the same kind of sugar hit as cranberry juice cocktail. Make sure you get your 100% cranberry juice from one of the best cranberry juice brands while you're at it.
How To Make Sweet Tea With Cranberry Juice
The only thing that you'll be adding to your standard Southern sweet tea recipe is the step of stirring cranberry juice into your drink. The rest of the process is simple and quick. First, get a pot that's large enough to hold six cups of water. Place the pot on the stove, pour the water into the pot, and turn the heat on high. Once the water comes to a boil, turn off the heat, then add eight black tea bags to the water and allow them to steep for about 10 minutes.
Remove the tea bags, then transfer the tea to a heat-safe pitcher. Pour one cup of white sugar into the mix and stir well to dissolve. For a little something extra, pour ½ teaspoon of orange extract or add a couple of mint sprigs into your pitcher. Next, pour 1 ½ cups of 100% cranberry juice into your tea. Finally, add eight cups of cold water to the mix to cool it down and stir. Enjoy your new take on refreshing sweet tea!
Read the original article on Daily Meal.