Minty, citrusy, and slightly sweet, this Honey Citrus Mint Tea recipe is simple to make at home for a comforting and refreshing cup of tea on a cold winter's day.
Tea is one of the things that helps me get through winter. It might sound boring, but I find a warm mug of tea on a grey winter’s day a welcome comfort to the bitter cold. And the number of unique tea varieties available these days keeps it interesting. It also helps prevent me from drinking so much coffee. Not that I don't love coffee.
There are some unique tea blends to explore these days, with flavors that range from spicy and smoky to fruity and boozy. I just stocked up for the season from one of my favorite specialty tea shops. But I’ve noticed that even the tea section at the grocery store continues to expand with new options. If you only ever have black or maybe chamomile tea, this winter is an excellent time to experiment with new flavors.
Side note: if you're a chamomile tea fan, you may want to give my Chamomile Cookie recipe a try. Those cookies would go perfectly with a cup of this tea.
You don’t have to spend a fortune on expensive teas. A popular, though unofficial, Starbucks drink recipe called the Medicine Ball inspired the honey citrus mint tea recipe that I’m sharing this week. Except you can make this tea at home, with better ingredients, and save yourself some money.
This honey citrus mint tea recipe combines everything you would expect:
- honey (use local honey if you can)
- an orange
- a lemon
- dried mint or a mint tea blend
You start with either dried mint leaves or a mint tea blend. If you grow mint in your garden, it’s excellent for making tea. You can dry the leaves for a few hours in the oven or leave them out in a warm spot for a few days to make tea through the winter. Store the crumbled dried leaves in an airtight jar for up to six months for making tea or for use as a seasoning.
I don’t always have dried mint handy, mostly because I always forget to dry some of my own. (I’m putting a reminder in my calendar for next summer right now.) Luckily, dried mint or mint tea is easy to find and inexpensive.
Go for loose leaf tea if you see it. I like to buy loose leaf because it tends to be fresher and less wasteful. Plus, there tend to be better options, and it’s often cheaper in the long run. I like a Moroccan mint tea I get from the Rutland Co-op, which is a blend of green tea and mint.
As for the fresh citrus, use organic if possible, especially the orange, since we're going to be zesting it.
Start by zesting the orange. The orange zest will steep with the mint tea for added citrus flavor. Zest is one of the best ways to get maximum flavor from citrus, even more so than the juice. The oils in the zest tend to be more intense and aromatic. I use a microplane to remove the zest without the bitter pith.
Then slice up half of the lemon however you like. We'll add these to our cup of tea. Squeeze the juice from the remaining lemon half.
If using tea bags, follow the instructions on the package for how long to steep. If making loose leaf tea, put 2 teaspoons of dried mint or mint tea blend in an infuser.
To make a pot of tea, like I did here, use 2 teaspoons of tea in per cup. I like to make a pot of tea because I'm usually sharing it with my wife. Also, I'm lazy and it's easier to heat up a cup of tea later when I want another than make more.
I steep the tea in boiling water for 5 minutes for a solid mint flavor that won't get lost with the citrus. After 5 minutes, I remove the tea and pour into cups. I stir in some honey, the lemon juice and serve with lemon slices.
I find the punch of citrus, which is in season this time of year anyway, a much welcomed pick me up despite the lack of caffeine. Try some to help get you through that afternoon slump. Everything about this tea also makes it perfect for the cold season. Though sorry folks, it won't prevent COVID.
Seeing as this is a simple cup of tea, you should adapt it to your liking. I use a little more tea than generally suggested and steep it a little longer than usual because I don’t want the mint flavor to get lost under the orange and lemon.
Use more or less, depending on how strong a tea you like. Same with the honey, depending on how sweet you like things. The lemon juice makes it tart, so I wanted to balance that out a bit. But you do you. Here are a few other ideas:
Swap the citruses You can swap the orange zest for lemon and lemon juice for orange or use just one citrus flavor instead of two. On the other hand, grapefruit or lime juice could be interesting.
Experiment with the type of tea Try making this honey citrus mint tea recipe with a blend of green tea and mint, as I mentioned. You can make your own simple tea blend with equal parts of dried mint and green tea or find a blend in stores.
Hot Toddy Time This tea is ideal for making into a hot toddy. Just stir in a splash of whiskey before serving.