Russian Tea (All Natural)

"Remember Lara's little kitchen in the country town in Dr. Zhivago? I believe that this is how that kitchen must have smelled --spiced tea brewing in the warmth while the cold winds rage outside. Recipe from Whole Foods."
photo by Annacia photo by Annacia
photo by Annacia
Ready In:




  • Bring water, cinnamon stick and cloves to a boil in a medium saucepan; remove from heat and add tea.
  • Steep, covered, for 5 minutes. Strain and discard the tea leaves and whole spices.
  • In a small saucepan, heat orange juice, lemon juice, sugar and nutmeg. Warm until the sugar dissolves.
  • Add the juice mixture to the tea. Taste and add more sugar if desired.
  • Reheat (don't boil!) and serve.

Questions & Replies

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  1. I have been drinking what we called “Spiced Tea” every winter for as long as I can remember. My grandmother would prepare the mix (Tang, instant tea, instant lemonade, sugar, and spices) and liberally dole it out as a holiday gift. Looking for a natural, fresher, healthier alternative, I found this recipe. I doubled the amount of sugar, but there is still something lacking in this recipe to really have the bold, satisfying, full flavor of my grandmother’s mix. Next time, I may try adding in ground cinnamon and cloves to the orange juice mixture and skip steeping the whole spices. I think I will also follow another reviewer’s suggestion and cut the amount of water and replace it with orange juice. Will report back on my tweeks.
  2. I reccomend that you make this drink in advance and reheat it. I made it, took the pix and sampled. To be blunt the taste was a let down, even with the juices and spice I found it very flat ( I used Tetleys tea). After tasteing I left the cup on the counter and went off to do some things. I came back into the kitchen about an hour later and thought...well, I'm not going to toss it out. I rewarmed it in the micro and the drink had come alive while I was gone. The flavor had developed and the spice imparted it's goodness. I truly enjoyed the cup that was lackluster when first made.I well may have rushed it and not allowed the full steeping time.
  3. I've never had Russian Tea before, and now that I'm sipping on a cup of it, I think it's a very lovely tea. The only change I made was to use Lemon Zinger herbal tea bags and omitted the lemon juice. The kitchen still smells like spices.
  4. This brings back childhood memories of a similar recipe my Mom used to make during the winter. (Don't tell, but I think she used Tang instead of OJ). I used decaf tea because it is what I had on hand, and Splenda to cut back on calories, but other than that I followed the recipe to a "tea" :) What a great way to relive a time when life was simpler. Thanks for posting!
  5. Thanks for posting this! Some 20 or so years ago, I had this least it seems to be the same. Tried it tonight, and it's excellent. During the day, I'll be done with black tea, but at night, sorry, but decaf rules. Looking forward to this during some cold winter days that ain't far away!


<p>I have always loved to cook. When I was little, I cooked with my Grandmother who had endless patience and extraordinary skill as a baker. And I cooked with my Mother, who had a set repertoire, but taught me many basics. Then I spent a summer with a French cousin who opened up a whole new world of cooking. And I grew up in New York City, which meant that I was surrounded by all varieties of wonderful food, from great bagels and white fish to all the wonders of Chinatown and Little Italy, from German to Spanish to Mexican to Puerto Rican to Cuban, not to mention Cuban-Chinese. And my parents loved good food, so I grew up eating things like roasted peppers, anchovies, cheeses, charcuterie, as well as burgers and the like. In my own cooking I try to use organics as much as possible; I never use canned soup or cake mix and, other than a cheese steak if I'm in Philly or pizza by the slice in New York, I don't eat fast food. So, while I think I eat and cook just about everything, I do have friends who think I'm picky--just because the only thing I've ever had from McDonald's is a diet Coke (and maybe a frie or two). I have collected literally hundreds of recipes, clipped from the Times or magazines, copied down from friends, cajoled out of restaurant chefs. Little by little, I am pulling out the ones I've made and loved and posting them here. Maybe someday, every drawer in my apartment won't crammed with recipes. (Of course, I'll always have those shelves crammed with cookbooks.) I'm still amazed and delighted by the friendliness and the incredible knowledge of the people here. 'Zaar has been a wonderful discovery for me.</p>
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