We Southerners are well known for our love of sweet tea. Today I'm going to share with you a variation of this beloved drink that is very popular in my home state of Louisiana. In fact, when Oprah visited the town in Louisiana where I went to college, she could not stop raving about this delicious concoction. (By the way, having Oprah show up out of the blue and be the grand marshal of our Homecoming parade is a college experience I will never forget!)
12 cups water, divided
4 family-sized tea bags (I use Luzianne)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 to 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
4 teaspoons almond extract
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Bring 4 cups water to a boil; pour over tea bags. Cover and steep about 10 minutes, then discard tea bags.
Bring remaining 8 cups water and sugar to a boil in a large saucepan, stirring constantly. Boil 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in tea, lemon juice, and extracts. Chill and serve over ice. Garnish if desired with lemon slices.
Tastes best if enjoyed while relaxing on your porch. Tastes even better if shared with family or friends.