The Recipe for Former Soviet Union Tea Mix So That Sus’s Life Can Be Swell* Again

*Swell?! Who am I? Beav Cleaver?

Last month while Sus and the boys were here for a visit, I made a batch of spiced tea mix. Over the years I’ve collected three or four different recipes for spiced tea. They all have the same main ingredients in common but the proportions are different. The tea mix my mom made when I was little contained ground-up Red Hot candies. I love the kick the Red Hots add but the sound made when Red Hots are ground in a coffee grinder makes my teeth hurt. Only one little nerve survived 2009 and it’s a frail, needy anemic one, so I’m not grinding Red Hots so as to not threaten its survival. I’m hoping it will grow strong and less nerdy so as to attract many more stronger nerves this year. But we’re not talking about my nerves today. No, we’re talking about spiced tea mix. Where we we? Yes, well, since I lean towards excess on a daily basis and am prone to indecision (my parents’ decision to branch out in ministry to those in recovery  and the ones who love them is becoming clearer to you every post, isn’t it?), I make my tea mix by laying all my tea recipes side-by-side on the kitchen counter and then I choose the greatest quantity of each ingredient from each recipe for my mix. Then to complicate things further, I taste the dry mix and add more of certain ingredients to fit my taste. I do this any time I have more than recipe for a dish and I can’t decide between them. This may be the reason many of my meals never taste the same way twice.

So anyway, Sus and I worked on the spiced tea mix together and tweaked it until we both agreed it had just the right clovey-ness and Tang-iness. We consumed multiple mugs of tea while she was here and I sent a little container of mix home with her. Well, some time last week while I was in Kentucky, she ran out of tea mix. I know this because I received the following Tweet:

@whimzie I just ran out of spiced tea and you are nowhere near your recipe. This constitutes an emergency.

I giggled. I thought she was just being cute and quite honestly, forgot all about it…until two days ago. When the abuse started. First there was this Tweet:

@whimzie I am in DESPERATE need of your Russian tea recipe. BREAK THE GLASS desperate. I’m totally out and it’s 18 degrees. And I’m sick.

Just a word of explanation: She calls it “Russian tea.” I think I remember it being called that back in the day. I’m not completely sure of why it’s called Russian because I haven’t Googled it, but I have my own theory. I think it’s because one of the ingredients in the mix is Tang. NASA used to use Tang on its Gemini flights in the ’60s and subsequently many began associating this orange drink mix with the space program. The 60s was also the time of the big “space race” between the United States and who?  Yes, Russia. Therefore, some call this Russian tea. I will now write a Wikipedia article declaring this to be so and it will become fact because that’s how the world works these days.

Back to the story, Gretchen Tweeted Susan wanting to know what Russian tea was (she hadn’t heard my theory read my Wikipedia article yet.)  In answer to her question, @carpoolqueen “sweetly” Tweeted (like a little canary, I tell you):

Well, if @whimzie would get her act together and SEND IT TO ME, you’d know.

Our friend Rebecca must have also asked her what Russian tea was because Susan sent this message to her in response:

It’s a hot tea drink. It’s fabulous and heart warming. Unless your friend @whimzie forgets to send you the recipe and you’re out.

In the meantime, Susan incited other Twiter friends to join the melee. Suddenly Heather and Kellie were demanding tea recipes, too. Let the record state that during this time I was nowhere near Twitter. I was busy providing nourishment and comfort to my precious children in my ever-demanding but so rewarding duty as their mother (i.e., I was cooking supper.). When I finished my household duties and sat down to see what goodwill and encouragement I could spread to my friends who live in my computer, I saw all of the vicious Twitter demand and attacks and found this comment on my post about new recipes I’ve tried:

Where’s the little blue linky thing to the spiced tea recipe????? Sigh. What’s a girl gotta’ do to get it?

(Just so we’re clear, this tea mix contains no pharmaceuticals, legal or otherwise.)

So, without further ado, because for crying out loud, we’ve certainly had enough ado, this is my attempt to replicate the tea mix recipe we made last month. I’m also filing this recipe on SnoodleSnacks so it will be preserved for posterity and to prevent another crisis of epic proportions aka “a tea emergency.” You’re welcome and in the words of the great CPQ, aka Susan,

Have a nice day.

Whimzie’s Spiced Tea Mix (from Russia)

1  20 oz. container of Tang (I buy two containers because I like to add a little more Tang to mine.)

1 cup of dry lemonade mix

1 cup instant tea mix (sweetened; I like to use the one that has lemon)

A little less than 3 cups granulated sugar

3 tsp. cinnamon

3 teaspoons cloves

Mix together. I use three heaping teaspoons per large mug of hot water. You can adjust ingredient proportions or serving size to your taste. If it doesn’t make your teeth hurt, feel free to add a handful of ground Red Hots OR just throw a few Red Hots into your hot water and let them melt….if you’re patient.

*Oh look! I actually have this recipe labeled “Russian Tea.”  That’s nice.

P.S. For continued hot beverage enjoyment, may I suggest my homemade hot chocolate mix? It’s delicious! I’ve heard that it pairs fabulously with Kellie’s homemade marshmallows and I hope to find out for myself later this week!!



Filed under Food

24 responses to “The Recipe for Former Soviet Union Tea Mix So That Sus’s Life Can Be Swell* Again

  1. carpoolqueen

    I’m off to the store to break my resolution to not buy anything in January. 467,892 things in my pantry, and nary a one of them Tang, instant tea, or lemonade mix.

    You’re swell.

  2. Holy hot sugar drink! Sounds good down to the last crushed up Red Hot.

    Also, admittedly, I got caught up in the melee that was the Russian-Twitterville Tea Coup (RTTC). Which is very unlike me, but CPQ was so funny as she typed in a night-time Nyquil narcosis, that I couldn’t help but egg her on in the spirit of seeing what crazy thing she might type next….uh, I mean, in the spirit of “encouragement.”

    Well, that and I like to read a good recipe.

  3. Haha I laughed so hard at your nerves being shot by the grinding. There are so many sounds like that which make me cringe. My dog, in fact, has perfected the one that gets me every time – when his nails scratch the glass door because he needs to go out/in. He immediately gets what he wants because I fear my ears will start bleeding from all the scratching.

    ps – cant wait to try this mix. seriously it sounds delicious! 🙂

  4. tanya

    I finished off my spiced tea over Christmas…instead of the hassle of going to the store and getting all the ingredients, can I just bring you my empty snowman container and you just fill it back up for me?

    • whimzie

      Well, of course you can! Living outside the computer does have its perks! Consider your container bottomless for the rest of the winter.

  5. Tee hee…I love this. Isn’t Twitter fun?? I love me some Russian Tea. We have Mr. Neal’s mom’s recipe here…similar to yours, but with a central Georgia (the state below Sakerlina, that is) accent to it.
    But—her recipe uses the OLD formulation of Tang…before they made the more concentrate version. So we’ve been trying to figure out the correct tang/lemonade/tea ratio.
    Oh, and by the way. We can’t find Tang in the stores here. What’s going on? Is this a conspiracy against Twitterers who just want to make Russian Tea? Because, why else would you drink Tang?

    • whimzie

      Well, obviously if you’re going into space you have to drink Tang. Guess there just aren’t as many astronauts as there used to be.

      I ran into the same problem finding Tang before Christmas. I think maybe lots of people were making spiced tea for the holidays? I’ll formulate a Wikipedia theory and get back to you.

  6. Good morning, Mrs. Snoodle. My, you’re looking lovely today. Is that a new fragrance/outfit/hairstyle you’re wearing today?

    This post made me smile, for I remember making this with my Mum and Grum in 8th grade and giving it to my teachers. As my whole family has follow thru issues, we never made it again. But now I can!

  7. Hmmmm … after all the ado (I sat in the midst of the twitter storm fully neglecting my families need for sustenance), I’m not sure I would like it. I’ve had an aversion to Tang since high school. (I’ll spare the details.)

  8. I don’t drink tea.

    But I do like TANG. At least I think I like TANG. I haven’t had it since forever and only then did I used to eat it by the dry spoonful out of the container.

    Huh. Weird. What is wrong with me that I don’t drink tea and only eat/drink TANG dry?

    But the Twitter War was particularly funny.

  9. So…not to confuse things any further but I also know this tea as “Friendship Tea”. Which seems appropriate in this case, since it seems you would have to be quite a friend to fight tooth and nail to get the recipe squared away for a certain addict we might all know who was in DESPERATE “need” of it.;)

    But thanks to her I now have the Russian…er…Spiced Tea…er Tang…er Friendship Tea recipe…so she must be quite the friend too.:)

  10. Y’all sure have a lot of fun! I’m with amber (again today!) in not drinking tea, but I love recipes and especially recipes that can be given as gifts. I’ll try this out on the elementary school ASAP, but now I want to pick your brain. Please read my post for today and tell me what you think. A Wikipedia article of this subject would be a lifesaver!

  11. I miss out on a lot since I don’t use Twitter.

    I grew up drinking Spiced Tea, and when I heard it called Russian Tea I thought that was weird. Makes better sense now, but it will always be Spiced Tea to me. And I use the same recipe-yum!

  12. That sounds so scrummy!! I haven’t had Tang in absolutely ages.

  13. So is it totally horribly if I’ve never had spiced and or Russian tea made with Tang? And do I need to stat?

    Because this makes me think this is a necessity, and I feel a little stupid not knowing what it is!

  14. I don’t drink blended/mixed/whatever tea…just good ‘ol sweet tea but this was so worth reading for this description:

    Only one little nerve survived 2009 and it’s a frail, needy anemic one, so I’m not grinding Red Hots so as to not threaten its survival. I’m hoping it will grow strong and less nerdy so as to attract many more stronger nerves this year.

    I think your nerve should come meet my crazy/hormonal, peri-menopausal nerve and they could be BFF.

  15. Pingback: A little bit of this, a little bit of that… « Carpoolqueen’s Blog

  16. Kay

    Love it! The post, the banter, the Wikipedia idea, the Tea! The red hots, not so much. After all it is such an adult kind of tea as long as you don’t add candy to it 🙂

  17. Bonnie Cox

    Just to complicate things, you might want to try this recipe. From October through March, I start a new batch as soon as I use the last drop.

    Hot Spiced Tea Mix
    Add 1 stick cinnamon and 1 tsp whole cloves to 1 1/2 cups water. Simmer at least 20 minutes. There seems to be a requirement to let the sauce pan almost boil dry–just add more water. In a jar, add about 2 Tbsp. instant tea and about 1/4 cup sugar. Then pour spiced water in the jar trying to keep the cloves in the saucepan. Nice trick if you can accomplish it. Stir. Then add 6 oz. frozen orange juice concentrate. Stir. Keep in the refrigerator. Add desired amount to water. Heat and enjoy!

  18. Pingback: Another Post in Which I Discuss Nothing « Snoodlings

  19. carpoolqueen

    Hello, it’s me again. Coming back almost a year later to say that I’m heading out in the RAIN to buy more mix ingredients.

    Thinking of you.


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