cranberry tea

Cranberry tea

29 November 2012

There was something familiar about the ruby, warming cranberry tea my little brother made for Thanksgiving. As I sipped it, I could picture it being made – fresh cranberries simmering in water with cinnamon sticks, cloves, orange and lemon juice. For an instant I imagined I’d developed magical culinary insight. My brother looked at me blankly and said “I got the recipe from you – you made it for Thanksgiving a few years ago.” Right. Welcome to the aging brain.

Add to the long list of reasons why I love my little brother, who like many little brothers is triumphantly the biggest in the family: his memory is 10 years fresher than mine. Add to the long list of reasons why I love this blog: it gives me a place to store useful knowledge before my overloaded mommy brain shoves it out to oblivion.

Sweet, fruity and spicy, cranberry tea was popular with both adults and kids at Thanksgiving. I’m giving it an official place in my holiday lineup. It’s a novel way to make use of extra cranberries, and its spices and ruby color make it a festive drink for winter parties. I love a hot drink in cold months, and this fruit tea gives warmth without caffeine (and now I really sound like an old lady).

Super simple to make: cranberries and water, cinnamon sticks and whole cloves.

Simmer for a half hour. The cinnamon and cloves make a delectable steam.

Isn’t this a cheerful color?

Orange and lemon juices add more flavor and depth to the drink. Add sugar to taste.

I like it hot, like real Chinese grandmas, but it’s also refreshing cold.

Cranberry Tea
This rosy spiced drink, made from fresh cranberries, makes a cheerful and warming holiday beverage. Caffeine-free too. Adapted from


  • 3 1/2 quarts water (14 cups)
  • 1 12-ounce package cranberries (3 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 oranges, juiced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 lemons, juiced (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 cup sugar (or sweeten to taste, see note below)
  • Additional cinnamon sticks for garnish (optional)


  1. Wash cranberries and put in a large pot with water, cloves and cinnamon sticks. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes.
  2. Add orange juice and lemon juice. Sweeten to taste. Strain out cranberries if you like. Serve hot or cold.


  • One cup of sugar makes a drink sweet enough for my kids. The original recipe calls for two cups, which is syrupy. This recipe results in about 18 grams of sugar per cup (8 ounce) serving, about a tablespoon per serving. For comparison, commercial sodas have about 24 grams of sugar per cup, and cranberry juice cocktail has 30 grams per cup.
  • Commercial orange and/or lemon juice will work if you don’t have fresh.
  • Double the spices if you like a stronger spice taste.

Here the link to a printable version.

This work, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: