Today I'm going to share with you a recipe that's perfect for a gathering, and always makes me think of Christmas. It's one of those wonderful hot beverages that just makes the whole house smell wonderful and feel full of mirth - Russian Tea.
3 Quarts of Water
1/4 Cup of Tea (some manner of loose black tea, I recommend tying it up in a muslin bag)
2 Cups Sugar
1 Stick of Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Whole Cloves
1 Teaspoon Allspice, Whole
(And between you and me - a little rum never hurt anyone.)
First and foremost make your tea using one quart of the water. Steep it fairy strong, then add your sugar to the tea while still hot. Secondly, boil all of your fruits (sliced with the rinds still on) and spices in the remaining water. Mix everything and serve hot. At the holidays, I love to make double or triple batches of this, add a copious amount of spiced or gold rum, and toss it all in a crockpot on the warm setting. It stays nice and warm for all of the people wandering in and out of the house all day, and smells amazing.
At the very least, I hope you'll give it a try one cold rainy day, and maybe just maybe this tradition will become one of your own.