It was our first cold and snowy evening this season and I had made plans several days prior to visit my dear friend and neighbor. I bundled up in my new sweater that I had just finished knitting, put on my boots and headed out. A big part of me didn't feel like getting in my cold car, away from my family and the warmth of our wood stove, but it had been way too long that I had seen my friend and shared an evening of catching up.
Off I went, finding my way down the snowy road. My friend lives in a magical home built of straw surrounded by gardens of herbs, flowers and vegetables. I always love visiting her. It's a home that deeply nourishes the soul. When I arrived, her outdoor lights shone bright, illuminating the large, falling snowflakes. I ran inside, careful not to step in puddles of slush. She greeted me at the door and immediately took me over to her stove where she had a big pot of Russian tea brewing.
I had never had Russian tea, but its spicy aroma wafted throughout her house and it smelled wonderful. I couldn't wait to try it. We settled into her cozy living room with our mugs of hot tea. My first sip warmed my insides to my core. It tasted yummy with a perfect blend of cinnamon and other spices. All tension from my day magically melted away and I felt transported to another time and place as we sat sipping our drinks.
We were so busy catching up for the rest of the evening that I left without asking for the recipe. But VOILA! The next morning, DIY Natural, had a recipe for Russian tea. So I thought I'd share it with all of you. I included the story of my visit with my neighbor because sometimes there's a warm drink or a delicious dessert that is part of a whole experience and the two just can't be separated. Such was the case with my first experience of Russian Tea! Enjoy!
Homemade Russian Tea Recipe
A note about ingredients: It can be difficult to find organic varieties for some of these juices. You’re likely to have better luck at a natural grocery store.
1 gallon + 2 cups of filtered water
½ tsp organic whole cloves
½ tsp organic ground cinnamon
4 bags of organic black tea
6 cups of organic orange juice
6 cups of organic pineapple juice, or one 46 oz can
4 cups of organic apple juice
½ cup of organic lemon juice
Optional: ½ to 1 cup of organic cane sugar or other natural sweetener of your choice
Get out two pots – a large stock pot to start your water mixture, and a small one in which to brew your tea.
In the large pot, pour one gallon of water. Bring to a boil on high heat.
In the small pot, pour two cups of water and bring to a boil. Add the four tea bags and reduce heat to low. Let the tea bags steep as you wait for the large pot of water to boil.
When the large pot of water has come to a boil, add the ½ teaspoon of cinnamon and the ½ teaspoon of whole cloves. If you know for sure that you want to add sugar, this is a good time to add it. Once all of these ingredients are combined, pour in the tea that has been brewing.
Next, you’re going to start adding juices. It doesn’t matter what order in which you pour them – just get them all in and stir them well.
If you didn’t add sugar before, now you’ll need to taste the tea and make sure you’re happy with that decision. It’s good without sugar, but a little sour, and my family prefers it with half a cup of sugar added. If you do add sugar, stir well.
Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and allow the tea to simmer for a few more minutes to make sure everything is fully combined. This also concentrates the taste more.
Keep in mind that this recipe will make just over two gallons of Russian tea. You’ll need to have a few large containers to hold it all. Store it in the refrigerator and reheat by the cup. The ingredients have a tendency to settle, so shake or stir well before serving.