This homemade spiced Tang hot tea recipe is an old favorite from way back. It’s made with simple ingredients you can find at any grocery store. It’s super easy to whip up a batch to have on hand or to give as the perfect gift for the holidays. It’s often called friendship tea, probably because it was trendy to give as homemade gifts back when it first became popular back in the 1960’s.
What is Tang Hot Tea?
I don’t know who came up with the original recipe for this Christmas time tea blend, but it’s been around for years. This recipe is often found in community, school or church cookbooks. Especially ones from the 1960s.
Mix up a batch, and then you’ve got the perfect hot spiced tea to enjoy on a cold day. Simply add 2-3 teaspoons of mix to a cup of hot water and stir. Voila! The perfect hot drink if you’re feeling under the weather with a cold or sore throat.
Does this drink have other names?
If you search in old cookbooks and on the internet you’ll find a similar recipe going by lots of other names.
- Friendship Tea Recipe
- Friendship Drink
- Spice Tea Mix
- Spiced Tea Mix
- Spiced Tea with Tang
- Tang Holiday Tea
- Tang Hot Tea
- Russian Tea Mix
- Russian Friendship Tea
- Instant Russian Tea Recipe
- Mormon Tea (Usually without the instant tea.)
- Christmas Tea Mix
- Christmas Tea with Red Hots
What are the ingredients for Friendship Tea?
While there are lots of variations out there, the basic recipes all use some combination of the following ingredients:
- Tang Drink Mix
- Unsweetened Instant Tea Mix (black tea works best)
- Instant Lemonade Mix (for the tart lemon juice kick)
- Ground Cinnamon
- Ground Cloves
- Pumpkin Pie Spice
- Ground Allspice
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What is Tang?
If you were a child of the 60’s or 70’s, you’ve probably had a glass of this bright orange drink mix. If you’re on the younger side, ask your parents or grandparents if they remember drinking this at breakfast.
Tang was marketed as a “natural tasting, instant breakfast drink”. Basically a replacement for orange juice, it did provide a day’s serving of vitamin C.
Tang became popular because some of the earliest manned space flights included Tang on the astronaut’s menu. Since Americans were fascinated with anything space related at the time, everyone just had to have Tang at home too. (Funny aside: I’ve read that the astronaut John Glenn hated Tang!)
How to Make Friendship Tea Mix The Easy Way
This is the easiest method to make a batch of this tang mix:
- Add all dry ingredients to a large bowl and blend well with a whisk.
- Spoon into a large jar with a lid or other airtight container and store in a cool dry place.
My Favorite Way to Make Russian Friendship Tea for Gifts
The first time I made a batch of this homemade tea mix, I used the easy method of just whisking all the ingredients together. It was definitely good, but the next time I made it I used this method. The best thing about this method is all of the ingredients get ground up into a fine powder and mixed in throughly.
It’s not necessary if you’re in a rush, but I did like the final product better and I didn’t feel like the heavier ingredients like the cloves settled as much. If I’m planning to gift this hot tea mix for the holidays, this is the method I follow:
- Add all ingredients to a food processor.
- Pulse until uniformly mixed.
- Spoon into cute airtight glass jars.
- Decorate as desired and add a tag with mixing instructions.
How to Give Tang Hot Tea Recipe Mix as Gifts
This is such a fun and welcome gift for the holidays. It’s great as a simple holiday gift to neighbors and coworkers. You can make this really cute and festive just by adding a holiday ribbon and a gift tag with instructions for making the finished tea.
This recipe makes enough for 4 gift size jars of tea mix. I like to use these half pint mason jars and add a circle of holiday fabric between the seal and the ring.
How to Use the Mix to Make Tang Tea
To a mug of hot water, add about a tablespoon tea mix. Stir well. If you’re feeling extra festive, stir with a cinnamon stick.
- 2 cups Tang Orange drink mix
- 1 cup unsweetened instant iced tea mix
- 1 cup sweetened instant lemonade powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
Make the Tea Mix
- Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Blend until the mix is uniform and ground into a fine powder. You can skip this step if you don't mind some separation of the ingredients.
- Store mix in an airtight container in a cool dry place.
- If gifting, divide into 4 lidded half pint jars.
To Make the Tea
- Add 1 tablespoon of mix to a mug of boiling water.
- Stir and enjoy your spiced tea!
This recipe makes 4 cups of dry tea mix.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 64 Serving Size: 1 TB Mix
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 72Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 2mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 0gSugar: 4gProtein: 0g
Nutrition figures are estimates. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information for any given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe.
Tips For Making the Best Tang Tea
- Make sure you buy instant unsweetened tea, or you’ll be in for a super sweet surprise. The sugar from the lemonade and tang is plenty of sweetener for this drink.
- If you want to cut back on sugar, you can replace the lemonade mix with a packet of lemonade flavor unsweetened Koolaid.
- If you have instant unsweetened tea with lemon on hand, you can skip the instant lemonade.
Variations for Tang Hot Tea Mix:
- For the holiday season, you can add a handful of red hot candies to the mix. It looks festive and adds a little more cinnamon kick. If you’re using a food processor for the mixed ingredients, make sure to add the red hots AFTER you’ve done the processing!
- Try adding a teaspoon of mix to a cup of hot apple cider.
- Feeling extra festive, try adding a shot of vodka, or fireball to your hot cup of tea.
The Takeaway: No Matter What You Call It Tang Hot Tea Mix is a Holiday Treat
If you’re looking for a fun, festive drink on a cold day, look no further than a cup of this spiced tea mix. Why not share the holiday spirit and make up a batch to share with friends? It’s called friendship tea after all. Looking for more homemade holiday gift ideas? Try this Chai Tea Latte Mix Recipe.