With the winter weather still with us, many of us enjoy a hot drink on those cold, and sometimes damp, winter days. Hot cocoa is always a welcome treat, especially with the younger crowd. Not everyone drinks coffee (including me) and hot tea would be quite appropriate for those that don't. I enjoy herbal teas, as well as the British breakfast teas, such as the PG Tips brand.
Way back in the 1960's, a recipe for "Hot Russian Tea Mix" became extremely popular. This could well be declared as the first homemade "convenience mix", as it was extremely easy to mix together and it warmed you up on those cold days. For those of you not familiar with it, it uses the "Tang Instant Breakfast Drink" in powder form, combined with sugar, spices, instant tea and sometimes, instant lemonade mix. It's then mixed and kept in a jar, ready whenever you are. There are scores of variations of the proportions of the ingredients, but the recipe is pretty basic across the board. Some people even enjoy it cold over ice in the summertime.
I'm passing along three versions of this popular beverage. All three versions are very good and you can choose the one you would like to make according to your taste preferences. The first one is the basic version of the tea that's long been popular. The second version is a scratch, non-mix version of the tea called "Almost Instant Russian Tea". The third version is, in my opinion, the very best version there is. "Charlotte's Best Russian Tea Mix" uses flavored gelatins, along with the orange breakfast drink mix and the spices. It's very flavorful and a major flavor addition is instant apple cider mix, which can be found in the tea and coffee section of most stores.
Incidentally, the dry versions of these mixes make great Christmas gifts, so remember these recipes this coming holiday season. Pack it in a attractive jar with a ribbon tied to it would make a very nice treat for someone. A copy of the recipe would be an additional nice treat.
In the event that you would like some cold drink recipes, at Christmastime just over a year ago, I gave some punch recipes that would be equally as good outside the holidays. Here's the link to the article so you can get the recipes, if you already haven't:
If you're in need of a good warm up when you come in out of the cold, let one of these tea recipes do it for you!
INSTANT RUSSIAN TEA
- 1/2 cup instant tea
- 1-1/4 cups sugar
- 2 cups Tang instant breakfast drink powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 envelopes instant lemonade mix
Combine all ingredients and store in a tightly covered container. Stir three heaping teaspoons of the mix into a mug of hot water and stir.
ALMOST INSTANT RUSSIAN TEA
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 1 quart prepared tea (may use instant tea)
- 3/4 cup orange juice (either fresh or reconstituted frozen)
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
In a saucepan, place water, sugar and cinnamon stick. Boil until sugar dissolves. Combine this with the tea. Just before serving, add the fruit juices and heat until hot. Serve immediately.
CHARLOTTE'S BEST RUSSIAN TEA MIX
- 2 cups Tang or any other orange flavored powdered drink mix
- 1 cup powdered instant tea
- 1 cup apple cider mix
- 1 (6 oz.) pkg. each of lemon, orange and orange-pineapple gelatins
- 1-1/3 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons apple pie or pumpkin pie spice
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
Mix together and store in a tightly covered jar. Dissolve 3 heaping teaspoons of the mix in 1 cup boiling water, using more or less to suit personal taste and the size of your cup. Yield: about 50 cups of hot tea.