Friendship Tea Mix
If you’ve never heard of Friendship Tea, also known as Spiced Tea with Tang or Russian Tea Mix, it’s a bit of a blast-from-the-past. As a matter of fact, cookbooks from the 70s often contain a Friendship Tea recipe.
And by cookbooks I mean those spiral-bound cookbooks put together with recipe contributions from community groups and organizations.
Basically, Spiced Tea Mix blends together iced tea, Tang orange drink, lemonade mix and spices like cinnamon and cloves.
As you can imagine, a cup of Friendship Tea is wonderfully sweet and spicy.
Of course, it goes without saying, sipping a warm mug of this tea is really delicious, especially during the cool fall and winter seasons.
Spiced Tea Recipe from the 70s
My first memory of Friendship Tea is, as a child during the 1970s, seeing it given as a gift amongst my mother’s friends.
While the spiced tea mix, made with Tang of all things, was always the same, the gift of friendship and tea was packaged using all sorts of jars, ribbons, fabric, tags, and recipe cards. Often, the gift included a friendship poem, as well.
You have to remember, the ingredients that make up this spiced tea mix were quite novel at the time.
For instance, Lipton iced tea powder mix was introduced to the United States in 1964. And it didn’t make its way to Europe until 1978.
As far as Tang goes, this “Breakfast Drink” was actually available on store shelves as early as 1959. However, it was Tang’s trip to space, literally, that launched its popularity into American households.
By 1968 Tang sponsored Apollo 8’s coverage on ABC television and NASA Made Tang Cool.
While I’m guessing here, perhaps Tang’s new found popularity led to the creation of Friendship Tea.
No matter the recipe’s origin, it’s easy to see why people often refer to this mix as Spiced Tea with Tang.
Friendship Tea and Its Many Names
Like all recipes, there are variations of spiced tea mix. However, the core ingredients almost always include Lipton instant iced tea, Tang orange drink, Country Time lemonade mix, cinnamon and cloves.
Some recipes variations even call for additional sugar. Yikes!
That being said, this tea mix has quite a few names. Here are the ones I’ve heard over the years:
- Friendship Tea
- Friendship Drink
- Spiced Tea Mix
- Spiced Tea with Tang
- Russian Tea Mix
- Russian Friendship Tea
- Mormon Tea
- Christmas Tea Mix
- Christmas Tea with Red Hots
Personally, I like the idea of adding red hot candies to the mix, especially when giving Friendship Tea as a Christmas gift.
The red hots and mix dissolve in a mug of boiling water, adding even more spicy cinnamon flavor to the tea.
How to Make Spiced Tea with Tang
Making spiced tea mix is as easy as combining all the dry ingredients together.
Friendship Tea Ingredients
- Instant Iced Tea
- Tang Orange Drink
- Powdered Lemonade Mix
- Ground Cinnamon
- Ground Cloves
- Red Hots (optional)
And actually, the most time consuming part of making this tea, is going to the store to purchase the ingredients.
What’s great about this recipe is that you can make several batches at once and give a couple jars as gifts to friends. Just be sure and keep one for yourself.
I will say, I find it’s easiest to make the spice tea mix in either a zipper plastic bag or a container with a spout.
Next, you have a choice. Pour the mix into a jar and you’re done.
Or, powder the mix further using either a food processor or blender.
Personally, I prefer to powder the mix for two reasons.
First, the ingredients are well-blended and won’t separate. Second, the tea mix dissolves easily when making a cup of hot spiced tea.
As you can see, many of the photos in this article show jars of Friendship tea that aren’t blended.
However, I like to blend it, especially for gift-giving.
For instance, take a look at my pictures below for the jars of Christmas spiced tea with red hots. Notice how the mix is a powder.
Giving the Gift of Spiced Tea
Finally, it’s time to get creative decorating the Friendship tea jars for gifts.
Autumn is my favorite season, so I like to give friends jars of spiced tea decorated with orange ribbon around Thanksgiving.
Just be sure and include directions for how to make a hot cup of spiced tea.
A jar of homemade mulling spices for apple cider, wine or tea also makes a delicious Autumn gift.
And for the Christmas holiday, why not spice up the spiced tea a little more with some red hot candies?
Not only does the Friendship Tea look more festive, but the prepared tea has even more yummy cinnamon flavor.
Making a Cup of Hot Spiced Tea
All-in-all, this classic spiced tea mix recipe couldn’t be easier to make.
Of course, it’s super simple to make a cup of hot spiced tea, too.
Simply add 2-3 teaspoons of the mix to a mug. Then, pour in a cup of hot water and stir until dissolved.
Be sure and include these serving instructions when giving a jar of Friendship Tea as a gift.
Finally, sip and enjoy your spiced tea. Better yet, share a cup with a friend!
Friendship Tea Recipe
- 1/2 cup unsweetened instant iced tea
- 1 cup Tang orange drink mix
- 1/2 cup sweetened lemonade powder (like Country Time)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
Friendship Tea Mixture
- Combine instant tea, Tang mix, lemonade powder and spices in a bowl, plastic bag or other container.
- Pour the spiced tea mix into a blender or food processor and blend until the tea mix becomes a fine powder. This step is optional, however, it's recommended.
- Store the spiced tea mix in a 16 ounce mason jar or other sealed container. Double the recipe to fill a 32 ounce mason jar.
Hot Spiced Tea Serving Instructions
- Mix 2-3 teaspoons of the spiced tea mix into 8 ounces of boiling water. Adjust the amount of mix according to taste.
- Stir well and enjoy.
To make "Mormon Tea" leave out the instant iced tea. You can also mix in red hots for an even spicier cinnamon flavor.
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