The name cranberry tea doesn’t properly explain how wonderful this drink is. The first time J had it, he described it as nectar. It’s sweet and tart with just a hint of spice. To me, it’s completely synonymous with the holiday season.
My family had cranberry tea for the first time one night when we had dinner at a neighbors’ house. Susanna and Alan lived next door to us in the new neighborhood we had just moved to. Susanna is an amazing cook, and had actually published a collection of her recipes. She grew up Pennsylvania Dutch, and her cookbook includes an incredible array of recipes, from Pumpkin Chiffon Pie to Mom’s Great Tomato Pudding.
There are more than 200 pages of recipes and of family and cultural heritage between the pages. Every time I make this cranberry tea, I think fondly of Susanna and Alan. I think that’s the best part of recipes, how they tie us to people. My mom’s rolls, my grandfather’s macaroni and cheese, my grandmother’s stuffing, and my dad’s trovies (which are thin egg omelets fried in a heart stopping amount of butter), are all tied up in my memories of them. I look forward to my mom’s rolls at every single holiday, and I can’t imagine a holiday without them. Something critical would be missing. (no pressure, Mom!)
Something would be missing at a Thanksgiving or Christmas without this cranberry tea, too. When we make it for a crowd, we double the recipe below. When I make it for just J and I, I divide the recipe in 3.
A warm mug of this perfect on a cold winter day. A refreshing change from hot cocoa or apple cider, and guaranteed to add to your holiday celebration!
- 12 oz cranberries
- 12 cups water
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 3 cups orange juice
- 3/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 cup sugar
- Add the water, cranberries and cinnamon sticks to a large pot and bring to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes or until all the cranberry skins pop.
- Meanwhile, juice the orange and lemons if you’re using fresh fruit. (If you’re going to buy the orange and lemon juice, try to buy fresh squeezed)
- After 15 minutes, strain the cranberry mixture to remove the cinnamon sticks and and cranberry seeds and skins. (Just put your colander inside of a large bowl and strain the cranberry mixture into the bowl, then transfer the liquid back into the pot)
- Stir the orange juice, lemon juice and sugar into the cranberry mixture.
- Adjust the sugar to your taste. The original recipe called for 2 cups of sugar, but lately I’ve found that to be too sweet for my taste.
Do you have a recipe that you associate with a family member or loved one?