Russian Tea Takes on a New Twist

Editor’s Note: This is part of our ongoing series on Laughter is Often the Best Medicine.

My Unintended and Very Tart Version of Russian Tea

Contributed by Empish Thomas

Last year in December I attended a holiday jazz concert sponsored by my local talking book library. After the concert was over we all gathered for refreshments and conversation. I was served a mug of Russian Tea and immediately enjoyed its warmth, spice and sweet flavor. After getting another cup full I asked the server for the recipe, which she gladly gave to me. I read the recipe carefully and went to the grocery store to purchase the ingredients. I came home and made a large pitcher full. The tea came out wonderfully. I was excited that I was able to replicate it so well. Feeling energized and confident about my tea-making skills, I decided to make another pitcher about a week later. I surveyed my ingredients and noticed that I was out of orange juice, pineapple juice and sugar. So after going to the grocery store I assembled all my ingredients and began to make another pitcher.

vinegar and lemon bottles, tea bag, orange

Reaching into the door of my refrigerator I picked up what I thought was the leftover lemon juice. The recipe had called for frozen lemon juice but since I couldn’t find it I used bottled instead. After measuring it, I generously poured it into the pot, stirring vigorously. I stopped to sample my tea to check the taste. I noticed it was a bit tart; but I just naturally assumed that I had poured a bit too much lemon juice and wasn’t too worried about it. After all, I had made this tea before and felt very confident about what I was doing, right? Later that evening, I drank a couple of mugs and notice that my stomach was aching. Again not to worry. But in the middle of the night I woke to major stomach cramps and wondered what the problem was. I went to my kitchen to get a glass of water thinking that would soothe me. But as I reached into the refrigerator I noticed that leftover bottle of lemon juice there. I was confused. I thought I had used it to make the tea. If this bottle is still here what did I pour in the tea? Hum. I thought some more and discovered that I had a bottle of vinegar sitting next to the lemon juice. Both bottles were the same shape and height. I realized that instead of lemon juice I poured vinegar into my Russian tea! Yikes! No wonder I had a stomach ache! LOL!

Well, no major physical damage done, just my ego. But a word to the wise don’t get too confident in the kitchen. Follow safe cooking techniques, check your ingredients carefully and label your lemon juice and vinegar bottles! LOL!

I hope that you will enjoy the holiday season. By the way, the VisionAware peer advisors have provided some great recipes to help you in your celebrations. You will find my Russian tea recipe at the top of the list and hope you will make this tea to share with friends and family.Just remember the lemon juice!