Sunday, November 27, 2011

Pink Christmas : American Tea Room

This generous sample from American Tea Room arrived just in time to steep for an evening in after cutting the family Christmas tree at the local farm. Gloves and hats put away, tree trunk trimmed and setting in water, turkey decorations being exchanged for fresh greens and reds - it was time for something warm and different. Pink Christmas seemed to be just the ticket.

Pink isn't the first color that springs to mind when you think of the holidays, or an herbal tisane for that matter. Christmas usually conjures up memories of lips puckered at heavy spice and mugs of heavy brown cider or teas flavored with cinnamon and chai-like ingredients . But upon opening the package, it became clear this one was different. Berries, star anise, citrus, bits of what appeared to be green mint (or dried peony?), and something that gives a strong scent of vanilla (the linden petals described on the package, perhaps?). They appeared to be more like the ingredients for a pomander than a beverage - almost too pretty to put in water and boil it down.

Since it didn't involve any tea leaves, there wasn't the worry of whether it would oversteep. The directions called for 200F at five minutes, and I think I probably could have let it go even further to get an even more robust flavor, but I wanted to be true to instructions.

Just letting it steep gave the room a nice refreshing vanilla-berry twist, but would that translate in the cup?

As you can see, the final result is a deep pink liqueur worthy of your clear drinkware. Garnished with a skewer of lime or cherries perhaps? The sky's the limit for how you could dress it up. (I'll include some ideas at the end of the post).

The sip?

A very subdued red berry/tart pomegranate and citrus beginning that finishes with the smoothness of apple and vanilla. There isn't a heavy spice to it at all, which is exactly why I enjoyed it. There's just 'enough' for it to be noticed, but it doesn't linger and take over the cup. Warm, tart red berry and vanilla. Sweet enough, but not overdone. Lovely.

As I continued working on my initial two cups, it occured to me that this would be a great steep to add into a few holiday recipes or to steep in double-strength and add a bit of seltzer to serve as a cocktail when company arrives.

Ideas I will be trying (posts and pics planned if I pencil in the time as the holidays get closer):

- Using a super-strong tablespoon or two of steeped Pink Christmas to stir into milk or cream when making a custard or a flan; the berry and citrus kick would make it twice as unique and festive

- Using several cups in lieu of regular water for a bread dough, the berry/savory contrast could be interesting

- Pink Christmas punch - a double-strength pot or a single-serving brewed 'gaiwan-style' and added to regular seltzer water or Ginger Ale with a skewer of cloved orange or lime

All in all - a quality blend, not your typical holiday spicey-spice drink. Worth trying if you like berry, citrus, and vanilla flavors or looking for a change from the norm!



  1. Lovely review. It is nice to be and live abundantly.

  2. Thanks for the comment seule771! We live in fortunate times that wonderful teas like this are available to us!