We love sweet tea in our house, even though neither of us hails from the South. Over the years I’ve adapted Alton Brown’s method as follows.
Put a pot of water on to boil, and gather up 8 Red Rose tea bags–we use decaf so we can drink our sweet tea late into the night. The tea bags go in a four-cup Pyrex measuring cup, with the strings twisted around the cup’s handle (keeps them from drowning!). When the water boils, pour it over the tea, until it’s about half-way up the measuring cup. More if you like. Steep for five minutes, then discard the tea bags.
For the sweet, I don’t bother making a real simple syrup. Just under a half-cup of sugar goes into a mug, and right after pouring the boiling water over the tea, I fill the mug with boiling water. Stir to dissolve.
Fill a 2-quart pitcher a bit less than half-way with water–whatever temperature comes out of the tap is fine. Not too hot, not too cold.
Add the sugar water to the steeped tea, stirring to combine, and then pour the sweetened tea into your pitcher. Add water as necessary to bring the level up to 2 quarts.
Chill and enjoy!