This is for my "Southern to the Core" cookbook series. Feel free to offer your suggestions in the comments.
I find Luzianne brand tea to be used frequently in the south, but you can substitute any brand of good quality tea.
In a saucepan, stir sugar into the 1 quart boiling water until completely dissolved. Remove from heat and place tea bags into this sugar syrup mixture. Allow to steep 5-7 minutes.
Pour cold water and about 2 cups of ice cubes into a 2 1/2 quart serving pitcher. SLOWLY pour hot tea mixture into the cold water. Stir until ice melts and add lemon slices or mint leaves if desired. Serve in tall glasses over ice cubes.
All tastes are different. People like sweet tea made with as little as 1/2 cup of sugar, up to a cup and a half - we prefer 3/4 to 1 cup sugar per half gallon. Try different mixtures and make it your own.