Russian tea is a delightful orange drink that derives its name from its popularity in Russia. It was classically brewed using black tea leaves, lemon, and sugar and enjoyed by elite Russians during the turn of the 19th century. Russian tea became ingrained in culture and society in the same way sweet tea was in southern American society.
Modern-day takes on the drink include the addition of rum and tea mixes. The most common mixes include lemonade mix, Tang orange drink mix, and kool-aid instant tea powder. The tea is packed with vitamin C, which offers a sharp, refreshing flavor and extensive health benefits.
Here, we've created our own version of the popular Russian Tea recipe. We use our classic English Breakfast black tea and blend it with spices and citrus juice to create that deliciously tangy flavor.
Takes: 10 minutes
1. Bring the water to a near boil and steep the tea, cinnamon, and cloves in the hot water for 5 minutes.
2. Discard the tea and spices using a fine mesh strainer.
3. Add the honey to the boiling water and stir to combine well.
4. Finally, add in the orange and pineapple juice. Taste and add more honey if desired.
5. Chill and pour over ice with an orange wedge to serve.
Russian Tea can be consumed as a hot beverage or cold iced tea depending on your preferences. In Russia, the tea is popular in the middle of winter as a way to warm up cold bones. Do not use cold water to brew the tea leaves as cool water doesn't develop flavors well. Always brew using hot water and then chill for iced tea.
For a decaf version, simply use our Cup & Leaf Rooibos tea instead of black tea leaves.
The recipes can be altered to suit different taste preferences by simply swapping out the juice flavor. For a more tart note, use lemon juice instead of orange juice. If you're in a hurry, you can also substitute the juice ingredients with a pre-made Russian tea mix. If you want a vegan alternative, swap out the honey with one cup sugar.
Want to taste exquisite Russian flavor? Try brewing up this easy and delightful Russian Tea recipe. It's sure to please everyone from your mother-in-law to guests at your next dinner party or Christmas soiree. Serve it as a hot drink in the morning for a quick pick-me-up that has half the caffeine as a cup of coffee. Alternatively, you can use this recipe to cool off in the summer months by chilling the beverage.
Take the original recipe to the next level and pair it with tasty dishes such as Russian syrniki—cheese pancakes—or tea cakes with nuts and powdered sugar. You can also serve this drink recipe alongside slow cooker dinner recipes including Russian Plov—a hearty chicken and rice dish.