My family is not terribly traditional or ceremonial when it comes to the holidays. While we indulge in spiked eggnog at Christmas, tea always makes an appearance at each holiday. Here are several ideas to create your own tea tradition.
Welcome Guests with a Cup of Tea
Before the big meal at Thanksgiving, make a pot of tea that you can share as guests begin arriving. Greeting friends and family with a cup of tea sets the pace for the evening ahead. I like to serve either a simple, chocolatey smooth Yunnan or an Oolong with lots of character.
Drinks with Desserts
Hot tea definitely makes the rounds with dessert. We usually use a collection of tea bags, knowing who likes what. My sister, for instance, loves Organic Earl Grey and how its citrus flavor pairs well with sweets.
Blend Your Own Tea
I started a tradition a few years ago of bringing tea to our gatherings to make for my family. Since my mom can’t have caffeine and my sister’s kids like to make tea with me, I start with a decaf black tea. Then I like to lay out ingredients like cinnamon sticks, dried mint leaves, or orange peels for the kids to make their own blend of tea. This practice became so popular this last year, I was about to leave their home when I heard my niece call out from the front room, “Auntie, you can’t leave yet; we haven’t had tea!”
Craft a Tea Cocktail
Recently, I was playing around with our tea pouches and thinking about which liqueurs would pair best. Winter Solstice or Vanilla Bean would make wonderful hot cocktails with brandy and little honey or sugar to sweeten it. Ginger Twist would be a great option to pair with vodka, tonic, and a splash of simple syrup for Thanksgiving with its warming flavor of ginger.
Make a Seasonal Mocktail
Thanksgiving is more of a fall holiday so stick with warming spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg. At Christmas time, peppermint and cinnamon pair well with rich flavors. New Year’s Eve can go in many directions. Wild Berry Hibiscus lends flavor profiles to the fall with its full, rich flavor. For a mocktail for adults and children, pair Wild Berry Hibiscus with sparkling apple juice to serve chilled.