An Extremely Cozy Cup of Tea

Hot drinks are winter classics for a reason, and perhaps nothing is quite as cozy as a warm cup of tea. Especially one like this, lightly sweet, brightly citrusy, and full of winter spices.

This very simple, and yet, kind of fancy, spiced tea recipe comes to us from the April 1948 issue of The Workbasket. This magazine focused on craft projects for fun and profit, but also encouraged its readers to form clubs. Each issue had a section of suggested club meeting programs, including recipes for refreshments.

The Workbasket, a small magazine, printed on newsprint. Features a woman and a knitting project on the cover, a line drawing.

I scaled this recipe down to a suitable size for a single family, instead of a club’s worth of ladies, and I must say I’m pleased with the results. Full disclosure: I am the only one around here who likes it. Cloves are a dealbreaker for the other member of my household. (“This tastes like medicine,” was his official, albeit, wrong, assessment of the final product.) Next time, I may cut it down further to two cups or so. That could put me into, “What do I do with this remaining half orange?” territory, though.

I think it’s really nice. It hits a lot of the same notes as hot cider for me (“That is inaccurate,” said Bob, who doesn’t know from spiced tea, I tell you), without the sugar bomb of drinking massive quantities of fruit juice.

Hot Spice Tea Recipe (Family-Sized)

A plate with cinnamon sticks, orange and lemon segments, a small pile of cloves, and tea bags.

Here’s the recipe:

  • juice of two oranges, one lemon
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I’d use even less next time)
  • 4 bags of black tea
  • 1 tsp. whole cloves
  • 1-inch cinnamon stick
  • 6 cups water

Add water, cloves and cinnamon to a pot, heat to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes and bring to a boil. Turn off heat, add tea bags, steep for 5 minutes. Heat fruit juices and sugar until sugar dissolves. Remove spices and tea bags, add fruit juice, ta-da!

Hot Tea for a Big Group

This is not the year where most of us will need a recipe to serve a crowd. However, someday, you may need tea for all the members of your housewives craft club, or alternately, your local political activism crew, in which case, the original quantities are:

  • juice of three oranges, 1 1/2 lemon
  • 1 cup sugar (I’d still cut it down a little)
  • 2 1/2 TB. black tea
  • 3 quarts water
  • 1 tsp. whole cloves, 1-inch cinnamon stick

Snuggle in with a Cup of Tea

This general procedure strikes me as quite adaptable. You could leave out the cloves (fine, Bob!), add a hunk of fresh ginger, or any other spice you like. You could experiment with different fruit juices and different teas. As long as it’s hot, spiced, and snuggly, it will do the trick.