This ‘Russian Tea Recipe’ is the name of an American citrus spiced tea , which is popular around the holidays, as are most spiced drinks, but you don’t need to wait for the holidays to have this tea.
There are many variations of this recipe, most of them using a dried powdered mixture of instant tea, Tang orange drink, and spices. Whilst a mixture like that is convenient, I’m going to make a real steeped tea with real fruit and spices.
This Russian Tea recipe is actually not Russian at all, but an American invention. Russians love their tea and are amongst the worlds largest consumers of black tea, which is surprising to some people. You can combine the per capita tea consumption of Canada, Australia and the USA to equal what Russian consume annually.
The way that we prepare our tea is different from most cultures as well. Loose leaf tea is brewed in a small teapot, to make a concentrated tea, which we call zavarka (заварка). The zavarka is poured into individual cups, then topped up with boiling water to the top. That way you can then control the strength of your tea. A Russian samovar, which literally means self boiler, was traditionally used to boil the water. So this is what I think of when I hear people say Russian Tea.
However, the American spiced version of Russian Tea is a winter favourite for me. This Russian tea recipe has tea, lemons, oranges, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, which creates a fantastic flavoured tea, without Tang, and definitely not Russian. But maybe just don’t tell anyone and enjoy. Bon Appetit! Приятного аппетита!
Real Citrus Spiced Russian Tea
- 8 cups water
- 4 black tea bags
- 3 oranges sliced
- 2 lemons sliced
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 8 whole cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 cup sugar to taste
In a pot, combine the water, oranges, lemons, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and sugar and bring to a boil. Boil for about 5 minutes and remove from heat.
Add the tea bags into the mixture and allow to steep covered for about 5 minutes. Remove the fruit, spices and tea bags (without squeezing out the bitter tannins out of the bag).
Taste and adjust sugar to taste. Serve immediately, reheat if necessary.