21 September, 2012

Memory Tea

...A B C D/ Can I bring my friend to tea? /E F G H I J/ I love you....

Hey, Mom.
"Hey, what?"
‘Member that iced tea stuff you used to make in summertime? It had Tang and maybe cinnamon?
"Yes, probably."
Probably you remember, or probably cinnamon?
"Probably cinnamon. Remembering? You know better."
So, what else was in it?
"Lemonade mix, I seem to recall."
Right, and instant iced tea. This Lipton instant, is that it?
She shrugs. I pick up the jar. It’s glass, and I can see through the bottom.
Yes. This looks familiar.
She laughs.
"I don’t know how you can look at that when you’re thinking of something I made a hundred years ago and say that it looks familiar."
The tea, it looks powdery. Little fluffy round crystals. That’s what looks familiar.
I show her. She agrees.
"Let me know how it turns out."

It’s not likely that she remembers the proportions, if she ever had any. She may have just taken all the containers, dumped them together and stirred in as much cinnamon as she felt like using, then portioned the whole mess back into the empty containers. That was her style.

I didn't believe that I’d find the recipe online, but doubting the web isn’t a bright thing for me to do. I found several recipes, all very similar.  However, all of them refer to this beverage as a hot drink. I remember my mother mixing it up in pitchers and serving it over ice. I think it was her crunchy granola hippie compromise for soda.

I bought the ingredients, but haven’t mixed them yet. I’m a little afraid that no matter what I do, I won’t capture in my mouth the memory in my mind.
Resee Witherspoon’s version sounds like my mother.
"My grandmother had this spiced tea recipe — it's very southern. You take instant powdered tea, a can of Tang, a can of powdered lemonade, and you mix them all together with some nutmeg and cinnamon. I'm telling you, southern people will know this recipe. And you shake it all up, then you put it in a Mason jar, and put a piece of fabric on top and a piece of ribbon around it. Then, whenever you want, just put two scoops in hot water. It's the most delicious thing in the world."

Read more:
 Reese Witherspoon's Recipe for Spiced Tea - Good Housekeeping 

This one sounded right, and referenced Girl Scout days. 

Spice Tea with Tang
1 cup instant iced tea (plain, lemon, sweetened, unsweetened)
2 cups Tang instant breakfast drink
1 tablespoon of allspice or pumpkin pie spice

Mix well and use as is, or add some Jello (lemon, orange, lime,?) instant lemonade mix, or powdered apple cider mix. For a mug: Add one heaping tablespoon of the mix to a mug of boiling water. Stir to dissolve. Drink when it’s cool enough to stand it.


My mother might have learnt it through Girl Scouts, except she was a scout troupe leader in the late ‘70s, and I remember drinking this stuff when we lived in Indiana, in the early '70s. She couldn’t have learned it when she was a Girl Scout, because Tang hadn’t been invented yet.

Yes, whippersnappers, I remember when Tang was invented. Shaddap. Also, it used to come in grape.

This one came up on the Cooks.com recipe search. It has enthusiastic reviews!! Note the enthusiasm!!!


1 c. instant tea
14 oz. Tang
1 tsp. ground cloves
2 tbsp. cinnamon
1 pkg. lemon flavored Kool Aid
Mix all dry ingredients well. Add 1 cup of sugar to mix or sweeten to taste. Use 2 Tbsp. for 1 cup of hot water.

"I had a severe case of bronchitis and lost my voice. My mother-in-law made this for me but substituted allspice for the cloves. Within 2 days I felt so much better and I had my voice back!! I don't know if it's all the vitamin C from the Tang or what but if you're sick this stuff is a definite necessity AND it tastes great!!!"

"This is awesome stuff for sore throat, sickness, and a yummy evening or morning beverage. This has been passed down two generations in my family."

This last one sounds most like what I think I remember, and has suggestions for packaging it as an inexpensive gift for a child’s teacher.

Spiced Tea Mix Recipe

2 cups orange-flavored drink mix (Tang)
1 cup lemon flavored instant tea powder (has sugar mixed in)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
TO MAKE A CUP:  Mix 3 teaspoons of mix to a mug of hot water.  Mmm, enjoy!

Okay, and I lied. I did mix it all up, and taste-tested it both hot and iced. The moment the cinnamon hit the Tang/tea mixture, my nose said, "Ahh! THAT's the stuff!" So. But because I had an array of bakin spices, I fiddled around. The cinnamon's the important bit... to me. The other spices are just gilding.

Here it is:
Memory Spiced Tea Mix
(regular batch)
In large bowl, mix together:
2 Cups Orange Tang
1 Cup Lipton Instant Iced Tea Powder
1 Cup Lemonade Mix
2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp Ground Allspice
1 tsp Ground Ginger
1 tsp Ground Cloves
1/4 tsp Ground Mace
(This is because I had Mace, which I usually don't and is completely unnecessary and just a bit too posh for this homey little recipe. If you don't have Mace but want the posh version, try 1/2- 1tsp ground nutmeg)
(large batch)
In large bowl, mix together:
3 Cups Orange Tang (one whole container)
1 1/2 Cups Lipton Instant Iced Tea Powder
1 1/2 Cups Lemonade Mix
3 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp Ground Allspice
1 1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
1 1/2 tsp Ground Cloves
1/4 tsp Ground Mace
(this will fit nicely into 2 large Mason jars)
(gigantic no-leftovers batch)
4 22 oz. Mason Jars, with lids, empty and clean (or mix it together then put it in all the empties)
In large bowl, mix together:
2 Containers Orange Tang Powder
1 Jar Lipton Instant Iced Tea Powder
1 Container Lemonade Mix
6 tsp Ground Cinnamon
3 tsp Ground Allspice
3 tsp Ground Ginger
3 tsp Ground Cloves
1/2 tsp Ground Mace

Use 1 -2 heaping Tbsp per glass or mug. Share and enjoy!

If you try any version, let me know how it turns out.

( The Beatles; All Together Now)