Saturday, December 17, 2011

Great Gift: Hot Spiced Tea Mix

At my office, there are about 21 of us in our division, and we work fairly closely together.  So, when the holidays come around, I like to make a little something that I can "gift" to everyone in the division.  Because the people in my division are both genders, range in age from early twenties to 50+, and run the gamut from sophisticated foodies to non-cooks, food gifts can sometimes be tricky.  But, pictured above is a wonderful treat that is very low-cost to mass produce, and it's something that everyone seems to appreciate and enjoy.

I've been making this Hot Spiced Tea Mix since 1999.  I know that because I had to develop my own recipe after not finding one that suited my tastes, so when I typed it up on the computer, I noted the date of "creation."  The funny thing is that, since 1999, I've had to change the recipe a bit.  When I first made this tea mix, it was easy to find unsweetened powdered iced tea mix with lemon -- most grocery stores carried several brands of it.  Now, plain iced tea powder is about all you can find.  I suppose the popularity these days of teas in general, plus the prevalence of "gourmet" teas and coffee, has led to the demise of various types of iced tea mix.  So my recipe now uses just the plain tea powder, which should be readily available in most grocery stores.  Remember to get the UNSWEETENED type, as you'll be adding sugar according to the recipe.

Barb's Hot Spiced Tea Mix

2 (4-oz.) jars unsweetened iced tea powder
21 oz. container Tang (powder to make 6 quarts)
3 cups white sugar
1 T. ground cinnamon
1 T. ground allspice
1 tsp. ground cloves
2 envelopes unsweetened lemonade flavor Kool-Aid

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  Spoon mixture into half-pint canning jars for gift-giving.  Recipe makes enough to fill about 12 half-pint jars.  Include the following directions with each jar:  To use mix, place 2-3 heaping teaspoons of tea mix in a cup or mug; fill with boiling water and stir well.

That's it!  That's all there is to it.  Super simple and super quick.  For the jars in the photo above, I made some simple gift tags with snowflake stamps and blue and purple inks, then printed the tags (with directions) on the computer.  I added a bit of ribbon and a brad to the corner of the tag to pretty up the jars, and adhered them to the jars with double stick tape.  They look adorable, don't you think?

One more note.  If you encounter a few "I don't drink tea" type comments when you hand out the jars, encourage people to just give the mix a try.  Because it's got a lot of sugar and spice and citrus flavors in it, it's not much like a plain cup of tea at all.  Even kids will love this tasty hot beverage (and the mix can be made with decaf iced tea powder if you'd prefer).

Happy gifting!!!


  1. this is such a neat idea. Love food related gifts. Your presentation of these is lovely :)

  2. What an awesome idea. When I worked it was so hard to give gifts to so many. This is so unique and different. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Oh, I love hot spice tea. My mom used to make this. Now, I really want some! Great gift idea.

  4. Delicious sounding recipe. I miss the Christmas spiced tea from when I lived in America. Is there a substitute for Tang, though? We can't get it here in England.

  5. JaneH, if there is another brand of orange-flavored drink mix, I'm sure that would work fine. If not, here is another thing you can do. Buy a container of lemonade mix, the kind that makes 6 or 8 quarts, and then buy an envelope of unsweetened orange Kool-Aid. You're just sort of switching around the two ingredients, but I've done it, and it works fine! If you want more orange flavor, just add another envelope of the unsweetened Kool-Aid.