Sweet Cran-Tea

By Jimmy Kennedy, & Justin Brouillard
Cook Ambassadors

Sweet tea is one of those classic Southern recipes that has stood the test of time. Pitchers of presweetened tea are more than just a common sight in homes and restaurants all over the South … it’s more like a tradition. Real sweet tea is made by sweetening tea while it is still hot and then serving over ice after it cools. While this recipe changes the game a little by adding cranberry juice, it does follow tradition by making a simple syrup to sweeten the tea. The addition of cranberry juice adds a little more fun and pop to the tea, and the kids seem to enjoy it even more. It’s also very easy to make when on the road or camping and makes for a refreshing alternative when hiking.


6 tea bags, caffeinated or decaffeinated
2 cups water
2 cups cranberry juice
2 or 3 tablespoons hot water
2 or 3 tablespoons sugar
Lemon slices, for garnish
Mint, for garnish (optional)


1. Place the water in a clear plastic or glass pitcher and add the tea bags. Pour in the cranberry juice. The tea needs to steep close to an hour and, if it’s sunny out, place the pitcher directly in the sun. Real sun tea takes around six hours to brew, but this is somewhat of a quick version, plus it’s fun to do. 

2. While the tea is steeping, make the simple syrup by combining equal parts of the water and sugar. The water needs to be hot, and you can heat it in a small pot or pan or just have planned ahead and brought some hot water in a thermos. I’ve found there are always uses for hot water around the campsite. 

3. Pour the 2 or 3 tablespoons of hot water in a small bowl and add the exact same amount of sugar. Stir until the sugar completely dissolves and set aside to add to the tea later. 

4. After 45 minutes to an hour, remove the tea bags from the pitcher. Add the simple syrup to the tea and stir well. In keeping with tradition, I like to fill large glasses, plastic or glass, with ice and fill with the tea. Add lemon slices and/or mint for garnish, and enjoy! 

Yield: 4 cups
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour

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