Real Food Festive Beverages: Russian Tea

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Welcome to the final course of our Whole Foods for the Holidays Progressive Dinner! Hopefully you’ve been able to find some delicious new recipes to sample this season. (I know I have!)

This week, we’re linking up our festive beverages! Whether it’s hot & comforting or chilled & sparkling, link up your favorite drink recipes for the holidays.

During this season of parties and drop-in visitors, it’s nice to have a warm beverage to offer your guests. A spiced “Russian Tea” seems to be a popular choice, but the ingredients are less than ideal (typically a combination of powdered drink mixes containing artificial colors/flavors, with an extra scoop of white sugar)!

Pineapple juice is also a common ingredient, but as a non-local grocery item for me, it’s quite expensive compared to seasonal, local fruits. So, that is not included in my version.

In my version, I’ve combined a fragrant loose-leaf tea, along with seasonal juices, and spices. (Other than the juices, there’s no additional sugar!) It’s nice to have a caffeine-free option for guests, but you could substitute a favorite black tea in this recipe instead, such as Orange Pekoe.

Good, strong-flavored spices, along with the flavorful tea, add a “sweet” flavor, without the need for additional sweetening.

I like to get fresh apple cider from local apple farms or our co-op, when it is seasonally available. I’m also able to get organic West Coast (my side of the country!) Valencia Oranges when they are seasonally available from our co-op as well.

It’s simple to make, and have simmering in a slow cooker or on a back burner for guests. (Or, mix up a batch ahead of time, and keep it in the refrigerator until the day of your holiday event.)

“Real Food” Russian Tea

4 Cups Hot Water
6-8 tsp. Fair Trade Loose-Leaf Red Rooibos Tea or 3-4 tea bags (naturally caffeine-free!)- I get mine from Mountain Rose Herbs.
1 Lemon Tea Bag (such as Celestial Seasonings) or a dash of Lemon Juice (up to a couple Tbl), if desired
2 Cups Unfiltered, Organic Apple Cider
1 1/2 Cups Orange Juice (Run a few oranges through a blender, or use prepared juice)
1 1/2 tsp. Ground Saigon Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Ground Cloves

Garnish with a couple Cinnamon Sticks and fresh Orange Slices, if desired.

Steep teas in the hot water to make a very strong tea (approximately 4-5 minutes); use a mesh tea strainer or bag if using loose leaf tea. Remove tea bags/strainer. Stir in juices and spices. Taste, and adjust flavors as necessary. Heat before serving.

Note: Depending on the sweetness of your fruits/juices, you may want to increase the apple juice up to 4 Cups and the orange juice up to 2 Cups.

Makes approx. 1/2 Gallon

What are you serving up this winter? Link up your favorite drink recipe!

This post is linked to Tasty Tuesday at Beauty & Bedlam.

Sorry- the linky disappeared for awhile! It’s back! :)

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