I recently had dinner with my friends over at The Kitchen Passport. They were making a Russian themed meal in honor of the Olympics in Sochi. I helped by making the drinks. Find the recipe here. The drink was water boiled with honey, blackberry jam, and some spices (including nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon sticks).
The drink was quite good, but my friends were on the fence about it before testing. I brought up the similarity to mulled cider which encouraged faith in it. This ultimately got me thinking about the similarity between mulled drinks and tea – obviously there is a distinct absence of tea leaves (and thus caffeine), so we can limit the comparison to herbal tea. Mulling spices are often placed in a cheese cloth and steeped in boiling liquid. This is analogous to herbal tea, which contains no tea leaves, but instead includes herbs, dried fruit, spices, in sachet or tea infuser, steeped in boiling water. We wouldn’t refer to mulled cider as cider infused with herbal tea, but the concepts are quite similar.
Mulled drinks are not as common as tea, but could be a nice addition to your beverage collection, especially as a nightcap (think mulled wine or mulled cider as a mixer).
+ This drink was a variation on the Russian Sbiten. If you are interested in more great international recipes to use at home, please check out Jenna and Corey’s blog, The Kitchen Passport.