Outside of scented candles and oils burning there was something else that added that fall inspired aroma to the air. I held the warm ceramic cup close as the vapors opened my head and warmed my throat. The shimmering spiced flavors tickled my taste buds, soothed my chest and made me feel all cozy inside. It was a great tonic for my pre-cold symptoms or just something delious and festive to drink during the holiday season. It's a long time favorite that I intend to keep making for years to come.
With Russian tea or Spiced tea, you can have that experience. The scent of cloves and cinnamon mingling with raw and organic lemon, orange, pineapple, and apple juices will tantalize your nose and your taste buds - making the fall/winter seasons distinctive as it did during my youth. I also now add in a bit of turmeric and ginger - giving an extra boost when I'm feeling under the weather. Yes, the added benefit is all the ingredients have cold and flu fighting properties. Even pineapple is known to be the best in soothing sore throats. Russian tea also contains freshly brewed black tea ( I use a green and black tea blend). Between the 100% natural juices and the freshly brewed tea, this stuff is just packed with antioxidants.
I will share with you a natural recipe, without using powdered and processed ingredients that lack the antioxidant punch and benefits of the real thing. Keeping all those tasty vitamins, minerals and other compounds that will help you fight the fall/winter blues. I don't us any premixes. Teas are always freshly brewed. If you have a juicer - grab oranges, apples and pineapples for a fresh blend. If you don't own a juicer - look for 100% natural and/or organic juices. I love those that have the "mother or pulp". It's loaded with goodness and if you don't like pulp - simply strain the juice into another container.
A note about ingredients:
It maybe difficult to find organic varieties of some of these juices. Try a natural grocery store near you.
1 gallon + 2 cups of filtered water
½ tsp organic whole cloves
½ tsp organic ground cinnamon (I also use cinnamon sticks as a garnish and for added spice)
4 bags of organic black tea/green tea
3 cups of organic orange juice
6 cups of organic pineapple juice, or one 46 oz can (like this brand)
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 (i'm loving coconut sugar lately)
½ tsp organic ginger ( if desired)
½ tsp organic turmeric ( if desired)
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. Since this is such a big recipe, you may want to save a few jars full of it to give to your neighbors or friends. Even when I’ve kept all of mine, though, it has never gone bad before we finished it.
photography by Hologram Productions