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How About a Little Punch, Coffee, Tea – Anyone?

Spiced tea for NYE

Nothing beats a nice spiced tea this time of year. With the uncommonly cold temperatures we’ve witnessed lately it is especially nice to sip a hot-brewed and flavorful tea.

Sometimes it’s way too easy to purchase a powdered blend of mulled spices and mix into a pot of hot apple cider. Sure, it tastes good. However, the most delightful concoctions are prepared with whole foods like freshly squeezed lemons and oranges. Our daughter Mollie and I made spiced tea this week. The recipe originated from my late mother-in-law, Minnie Ellen Maples, who gave it to me in 1989 when Mark and I married. We call it Grandmother’s Spiced Tea. None of us really know where she first got the recipe.

The spiced tea recipe is chockful of whole ingredients making it home-made indeed. You’ll find the recipe below. I’ve also included a few other beverage favorites that are scrumptious this time of year or any other special occasion. One is called Poinsettia Punch and includes a little champagne and liqueur if you like. If you’d rather leave out the bubbly and liqueur you can substitute sparkling cider for the champagne and the juice of a squeezed orange in lieu of the liqueur. Because of its red color, it makes a pretty punch for Christmas, New Year’s Day or Valentine’s Day. The other beverage recipe listed below is Iced Coffee Punch and is one of my absolute favorites. That’s because it not only contains coffee but also features ice cream! Iced Coffee Punch is perfect for any time of year and any occasion including bridal showers and ladies’ luncheons.

Cheers to a New Year!

Grandmother’s Spiced Tea


  • 3 qt. water
  • Juice of 6 lemons (1 cup)
  • 3 c. sugar
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 1 tsp. whole allspice
  • Juice of 4 oranges, strained (2 cups)
  • 2 c. pineapple juice
  • 6-8 small tea bags or 3 family size
  • 3 cinnamon sticks


Make tea with the 3 qt. of water. Turn down heat. Combine spices in a disposable cheese-cloth bag or a metal mesh spice bag with a chain. Add other ingredients. Simmer on warm. Serve hot. Can refrigerate and warm later.

Poinsettia Punch


  • 1 (750 milliliter) bottle champagne, chilled (about 3 cups)
  • 3 cups cranberry-apple juice, chilled
  • 1/4 cup thawed white grape juice concentrate
  • 1/4 cup orange liqueur
  • Fresh cranberries (optional)


  • Stir together first 4 ingredients in a 2 qt. pitcher. 
  • Serve in champagne flutes. Float fresh cranberries in each flute, it desired.
  • Yields 6 ½ cups; Prep time 5 minutes.

Note: Chill champagne and juices prior to assembling punch. To produce 2 gallons (for a punch bowl) make four times this recipe.

Iced Coffee Punch


  • ¼ c. sugar
  • 6 c. hot brewed coffee
  • ½ gallon vanilla ice cream
  • ½ gallon chocolate ice cream
  • ½ to ¾ c. coffee liqueur
  • Optional Toppings – whipped cream and chocolate shavings


  • Stir together sugar and hot coffee until sugar dissolves. Cover and chill mixture 45 minutes to an hour.
  • Spoon ice creams into a large punch bowl. Pour coffee mixture over ice cream; stir in coffee liqueur. Service with desired toppings.
  • Yields 23 cups; preparation time 15 minutes; chill time one hour or more.

Note: Coffee and sugar mixture can be made a few days in advance and refrigerated until ready to assemble the punch.


Written by Nancy Jo Maples

Nancy Jo Maples is an award-winning journalist who has written about Mississippi people and places for more than 30 years. A former daily staff news reporter for the Mississippi Press, she currently writes for various media and teaches communication at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. Reach her at [email protected].


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