Cranberry Tea

With cooler temperatures settling in for good, and the long hours of sunlight trading places with the long hours of darkness, hot teas and steaming bowls of soup fill our culinary desires. A bit of a misnomer, the title suggests that tea, or rather black or green tea will be part of this recipe, but alas, or happily, such is not the case. This tea is a combination of pineapple juice and cranberry juice, sweetened with brown sugar and spiced with whole cinnamon, cloves and allspice berries.

Percolated and served piping hot, it’s perfect with desserts or as a hot drink during fall parties. More sophisticated than hot chocolate, but with a greater appeal than coffee, this spiced tea may become one of your most requested drinks during the cold winter months.

For those over 21, this drink can be aged up with the addition of Southern Comfort or other sweet liquor. Spiced rum will compete with the flavors of the tea and is probably not appropriate to add. But of course, personal preferences trump all, so if you like the flavor, add whatever libations you enjoy.

This tea is, in fact, percolated in a traditional coffee urn. With it’s bright and spiced flavors it will immediately flavor any urn it’s made in. With that in mind, consider buying an urn specifically for percolating this tea. A 30-cup double walled urn is the perfect size for this tea. But a word of caution; the brown sugar can easily clog the percolating tube if it’s not dissolved in the liquid first. You can either mix the brown sugar with the liquid in a separate container, or make sure the percolating tube is in its well before adding the brown sugar to the urn. Simply stir the liquids with a long wooden spoon or rubber spatula to dissolve the sugar.

Whole allspice berries and cloves along with a few sticks of cinnamon take their place in the filter basket. The hot tea percolates over them and flavors the entire drink. But the added benefit here is that after brewing, the spices aren’t sitting in the hot liquid, over-permeating the tea and turning bitter. It also makes cleanup much easier.

And lastly, the urn provides a needed “undrinkable” layer that allows the pineapple juices’s copious sediment to settle to the bottom where it’s only accessible if the urn is tipped to drain the last of the dregs. And this is precisely what the bottom layer of this tea will become: a pulpy, fibery sludge of fruit juice solids. Not palatable by any standards.

If Sol is spending less time in the sky than Luna, it might just be time to brew a batch of this tasty tea.

Hot Cranberry Tea

  •  64 ounces cranberry juice (cocktail is ok, but you may need less brown sugar)
  • 46 ounces pinapple juice
  • 40 ounces clear, filtered water
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar, ¼ cup less if using juice cocktail
  • 3-4 whole sticks of cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon whole allspice berries 

Pour the liquids into the coffee urn. Place the percolator tube in it’s well and add the brown sugar, stirring with a long wooden spoon or spatula to dissolve the sugar. Place the filter basket in place and add the spices to the filter basket. Set the urn to brew. Allow the tea to rest for a few minutes after the brewing cycle is complete to allow the sediments to settle to the bottom. Serve hot. Refrigerate any leftovers.