1 teaspoon white or black whole peppercorns, optional
4 to 8 tea bags of chai, rooibos, or white tea (or a favorite tea; or use loose leaf tea if you have teaballs)
honey, stevia, sugar, or sweetener to taste, optional
Citron, wine, champagne, Gran Marnier, optional
Note – all spices should be added to taste, using more of the flavors you prefer and reducing or omitting those you don’t. Using whole spices are easier to remove and strain. Ground spices will not fully dissolve and there will be some spice-sediment in the bottom of your mug. Recipe can be made in two ways; both using the stovetop and without (see last paragraph)
In a large kettle, add all the ingredients other than tea and optional honey/sweetener. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and add the tea. Allow mixture to simmer over low heat for at least 10 minutes, up to 90 minutes, stirring intermittently so fruit doesn’t stick. If simmering for a longer duration, remove the tea bags after an appropriate steeping time and so the bags don’t disintegrate. The longer mixture simmers, the more the flavors will develop and enhance, creating a more robust drink with flavors that have married.
Prior to serving, strain or remove whole spices, tea bags, and serve warm. Optionally, sweeten to taste. Or, refrigerate tea and allow it to chill, and serve chilled. Store tea in the refrigerator in jarred container for up to 1 week, reheating gently in the microwave prior to serving if desired.
Alternate timesaver method – If you’re in a rush, combine all ingredients in a large pitcher, stir, and allow to stand for at least 10 minutes before serving. Flavors will not develop as much using this method because the heat brings out and unlocks their full potential, but if you’re in a hurry, this is an option.