The Best Way to Sweeten Iced Tea, According to Ina Garten

Iced tea will forever be a summertime favorite. There are tons of different ways to fancy up your iced tea, including adding fresh fruit, honey and/or fresh mint leaves or freezing fruit or herbs in ice cubes to add some frozen pizazz.

Someone who we would follow straight into the depths of a pool of freshly brewed iced tea is Ina Garten and The Barefoot Contessa herself recently shared her secret to perfectly sweetened tea on her Instagram feed. The caption started with, “Well these were a hit,” and ended with "P.S. Do you know the secret ingredient I use as a sweetener?"

We were intrigued, of course, so we clicked through to find the recipe link to her fan-favorite Herbal Iced Tea and discovered the secret ingredient: apple juice.

Related: How to Make The Famous Chicken Salad Ina Garten Sold "Mountains of" at the Barefoot Contessa

Why You Should Sweeten Iced Tea With Apple Juice

Sugar is the classic sweetener for iced tea, of course, but it can be kind of a pain to use. It's best to add sugar to hot tea because it dissolves faster and more thoroughly, but that's not helpful if you have a big pitcher of iced tea or glasses filled with the chilly drink. Using apple juice to sweeten large or small amounts of iced tea makes sure that your drink is evenly sweetened (none of that sugary sediment in the bottom of your glass) with minimal stirring.

Apple juice's flavor is also mild enough that it won't compete with the flavor of your iced tea unless you use quite a bit. If you want the apple flavor to be more prominent, you can simply add more.

Related: Here’s the Truth About Whether or Not Apple Juice Is Actually Good for You

How to Sweeten Iced Tea With Apple Juice

How you use this tip at home depends on how much apple flavor you're going for. In Ina's recipe (see below), she uses a 1:1 ratio of tea to apple juice, which means you'll definitely taste it. Other recipes suggest a 3:1 ratio of tea to juice if you're going for a more subtle flavor.

To make Ina's Herbal Iced tea, brew a combination of Red Zinger and Lemon Zinger teas in boiling water, then combine with the apple juice. Serve over ice and that's it!

Garten's recipe truly is one of the easiest methods for sweetening iced tea we have yet to come across, and the simple addition of apple juice takes it to fun fruity levels. This tea would be great as-is or as the base for a fun summery cocktail by adding vodka, gin or rum. (We suspect Ina would approve of that idea.)

Up next: The Best Way to Slice a Bagel, According to Ina Garten