Stay cool: A trio of iced tea recipes for summer

Three refreshing summertime takes on the Southern sweet tea tradition.

Many Florida folk probably drink sweet tea year-round to keep cool, but we still gotta keep it interesting, right?

Birmingham, Alabama-based Royal Cup Coffee and Tea has shared a trio of sweet tea recipes with CL that put a refreshing spin on the classic beverage in more than one way. Though these summertime recipes showcase Royal Cup's H.C. Valentine, iced and sweet teas, feel free to use whatever you have on hand — and drink up.

Southern Strawberry Sweet Tea

5 scoops your favorite H.C. Valentine loose-leaf teas

2 quarts filtered water

1 cup sugar

3 cups freshly sliced strawberries

Lemon juice

Steep tea bags in 1 quart boiling filtered water for 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup sugar and stir well. Puree strawberries in food processor or blender until liquefied. Remove tea bags and add remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Add strawberry puree and lemon juice and stir well. Strain the strawberry/lemon juice puree through cheesecloth or fine sieve to remove large fruit pieces. Add remaining quart of water and chill. Serve over ice.

"Healthy" Sweet Tea

Filtered water

5-8 bags Royal Cup Sweet Tea

1 teaspoon artificial sweetener, such as stevia or agave nectar

Pour 2 cups of filtered water to a boil in a small pan. Once boiling, turn off heat and add the tea bags to the water to steep. Steep tea bags 7-10 minutes. Remove tea bags and stir in 1 teaspoon of liquid artificial sweetener. Mix well. Pour the tea/sweetener mix into a 1 gallon container and fill the rest of the way with cold, filtered water. Mix well. Place in refrigerator for 1 hour. Serve over ice and add lemon for garnishment.

Southern Spiced Tea

16 cups filtered water

5 tablespoons your favorite H.C. Valentine loose-leaf tea, or 5-8 tea bags of Royal Cup Iced Tea

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon whole cloves

1 lemon, or 2 teaspoons lemon juice

6 oranges, or 1 3/4 cups orange juice

Bring 8 cups of filtered water to boil. Add tea to boiling water. Strain (or remove tea bags). Set on the side. To make syrup: In a separate pot combine sugar, cloves and your other 8 cups of water and bring to boil. Pour syrup into tea. Add 2 teaspoons of lemon juice and 1 3/4 cups of orange juice. Stir well. Serve well hot or over ice for a smooth treat.

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