I was introduced to Russian Tea this week.
My friend Kathy and I were discussing how cold the winter had been and she was giving me suggestions on how to keep warm. She mentioned that she made Russian tea the other night. Russian Tea? How exotic. Was this a family recipe that’s been handed down from generation to generation? At the start of winter, she makes a batch of Russian tea. She serves this tea to her family and it keeps them warm and cozy on cold winter nights. She was going to bring some to work tomorrow so I could try it. I was intrigued. Why not? Maybe she would even give me the recipe.
The next day she presented me with my very own jar of Russian tea. She was proud that she was going to introduce me to this midwest delight. I wondered what was in store. I scurried over to the kitchen for a cup of hot water. When I returned, Kathy was there, spoon in hand waiting for me to try it. She scooped one heaping tablespoon of Russian tea (the recommended amount) into my cup of hot water. It smelled delightful. This was looking promising. I took a big sip. When it hit my taste buds. They screamed “What the hell was that?!” The last thing I wanted to do was hurt her feelings. After all, she was trying to share something "midwest" that has gotten her and her family through many cold winter nights. In a way it was like welcoming me to the Midwest. I smiled, took another sip and lied.
Then she began to recite the ingredients. “You mix cloves, cinnamon, sugar, tang….. Tang? Did she say "TANG?!" That was my first clue that this was NOT an heirloom recipe. Turns out she got the recipe from f the food section of the local newspaper.
Tang? Who drinks Tang?
2 cups Tang
1/2 cup instant tea (Lipton is good)
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 pkg lemonade mix
2 t cinnamon
1 t cloves
Mix. Store in dry jars. Combine a tablespoon of mix with one cup of hot water. Enjoy!