Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Recipes: Russian Tea

I discovered this wonderful wintertime drink when my mother used to brew it for guests during the Christmas season. I remember she used to squeeze fresh lemons and oranges and tie up bags of spices to brew with the tea. Not only is it a great beverage, it also fills the house with a wonderful aroma! I've tried a couple of different recipes myself. There are recipes out there for instant Russian tea which are okay, but not as good as brewing it fresh. Here are some recipes you may want to try:

Russian Spice Tea
6 cups boiling water
6 tea bags
2 sticks cinnamon
8-10 cloves
1 quart pineapple juice
1 quart orange juice
1-3 ounce can frozen lemon concentrate-undiluted
1/2-1 cup sugar

Steep tea and spices in boiling water and remove. Add sugar. Mix juices and lemon concentrate in large pitcher. Add tea mixture. Dilute to taste.

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Todd’s Russian Tea

1 1/2 teaspoons whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
1 1/2-2 cups sugar
1 (12 ounce) can frozen orange juice concentrate
1 (12 ounce) can frozen lemonade concentrate
15 teaspoons loose tea (or 3 family-size teabags)
5 quarts of water


1. Place 3 qts of water in a large pot, and add cloves and cinnamon sticks.
2. Bring water to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 25 minutes.
3. Remove from the heat and place a mesh tea-infusion basket of tea (or 3 teabags) into   the pot. Steep tea 
    for only 5 minutes.
4. After removing the tea-infusion basket or teabags, add sugar to the pot and stir until it dissolves.
5. Add cans of concentrate, plus 2 qts of water.
6. Bring the whole mixture up to temperature and serve hot.

This tea refrigerates well for a few days with the cloves and cinnamon sticks removed. Always serve hot, though. 

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Russian Tea

6 cups cold water
1 cinnamon stick
6 whole cloves
4 black tea bags
1 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar, more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Bring water, cinnamon stick and cloves to a boil in a medium saucepan; remove from heat and add tea bags. Steep, covered, for 5 minutes. Discard the tea bags and whole spices.

In a small saucepan, heat orange juice, lemon juice, sugar and nutmeg. Warm until the sugar dissolves.

Add the juice mixture to the tea. Taste and add more sugar if desired. Reheat and serve.

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Last year during the month of December I posted 12 of my favorite Christmas songs. These songs are still on my blog. To read about them and hear them go up to the top of the blog page and click on "Videos." Then scroll down to "The Joys of Christmas" where you will see the web links listed. 



  1. Jeremy, for years I've been satisfied to call this Russian tea just because that's what someone said it was. I just assumed this was some kind of Russian recipe. I quick internet search, however, yields no easy answers. I see that tea was an important beverage to Russian culture and that it was brewed very strong so that it had to be diluted with hot water before drinking. I also see that sugar, honey, or fruit jam was often added to the tea. As for the beverage we call Russian tea, fruit juice, cinnamon and cloves seem to be the common ingredients that are added to the tea. So why is this Russian? Does anyone out there know the answer?

  2. Sometimes objects somehow get names attached to them that have nothing to do with origin (for example, the Panama hat). One recipe famous in the South Carolina lowcountry is called the Huguenot tort. But it has nothing to do with the Huguenots who came to the colonies, and it's anyone's guess why it's called that because it probably came from Appalachia or Tennessee.

    Oh well, Russian tea sounds great and I am definitely going to try it!


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