A few months after moving to California, I met someone in the most unusual way. Somehow, Cynthia and I found each other on instagram. We live very close. Her photos had been popping up on my feed for some time, and one day I saw her at our local farmers market. How could I see someone online and not introduce myself? I tapped her on the shoulder and from then on we have been fast friends. She and her husband, Johnny are some of the best, most creative people we’ve met. They are always making us laugh, enjoy Indian food as much as we do, and are the kind of people who would drop everything to help someone.
They are also talented cooks and photographers. So…naturally, I had to see what kind of Christmas traditions they have. Cynthia kindly invited me over, and we made the most delicious Christmas tea.
If you grew up in Cynthia’s family, after the big Christmas Eve dinner, instead of dessert you would have this tea. A simple cinnamon tea latte made with cinnamon sticks, cloves and warm milk. Her large family would all sit around the tree sipping tea and waiting for midnight to come so they could open presents as soon as the clock hit 12.
Cynthia heated up the water, cinnamon sticks and cloves. She stirred and came up with other ideas for flavoring the tea including star anise or orange slices. But honestly, this tea doesn’t really need a thing. It made the house smell perfectly festive, and tasted even better. So give it a little try as the holidays wind down and you enjoy new memories made.
4 quarts water
3 cinnamon sticks (get good ones from a spice shop)
1/2 and 1/2 to taste
honey and brown sugar to taste
Warm everything except the half and half and sweetener (brown sugar or honey) until simmering. Let simmer for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat up the half and half until hot to touch. Pour mugs 3/4 full of the tea mixture and 1/4 half and half.
Sweeten with honey or brown sugar to taste