Todd's Russian Tea

"This recipe is based on my mother's Russian Tea recipe. I serve this at every Christmas party I host. I don't know why this beverage is called "Russian Tea." However, many people in rural North Carolina make a version of it around the winter holidays."
photo by Sweetiebarbara photo by Sweetiebarbara
photo by Sweetiebarbara
Ready In:
5 quarts


  • 1 12 teaspoons whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 12 - 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 (12 ounce) can frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1 (12 ounce) can frozen lemonade concentrate
  • 15 teaspoons loose tea (or 3 family-size teabags)
  • 5 quarts fresh preferably bottled water


  • Place 3 qts of water in a large pot, and add cloves and cinnamon sticks.
  • Bring water to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 25 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and place a mesh tea-infusion basket of tea (or 3 teabags) into the pot. Steep tea for only 5 minutes.
  • After removing the tea-infusion basket or teabags, add sugar to the pot and stir until it dissolves.
  • Add cans of concentrate, plus 2 qts of water.
  • Bring the whole mixture up to temperature and serve hot.
  • This tea refrigerates well for a few days with the cloves and cinnamon sticks removed. Always serve hot, though.

Questions & Replies

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  1. My family has been making this for 30+ years. We use much less sugar so you might want to play around with that to get it how you want it. It makes the house smell wonderful too. Be sure to take the spices out when you are putting away the leftovers, they will make it taste terrible the next day!
  2. I was wondering what to do with all this Russian Tea! We weren't having a party, and Thanksgiving and Christmas are a ways off. Then I realized that my next door neighbor could use it! We sold them the house next door (an old Victorian next to our Victorian). Today, after spending a year and a half fixing it up, they are having open house, to sell it. What a great event for this wonderful tea. Thanks again, Todd. Made for Fall 2006 PAC. I just had to add that I fell in love with this recipe the first time I made it, and have used it countless times ever since. The most recent time was Menu #23403. All the guests gave it rave reviews. There was none left. I wish I could give it another five stars!


I am a lecturer of U.S. history for a local university. Since my life is busy, my recipes tend to be quick, easy, and inexpensive.
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