As the days shorten and turn grey, brightly coloured food becomes a rarity rather than a standard, especially because late autumn and winter foods are so often beige or darker tones. This cranberry tea is special in its vivid red, almost pink, shade.
I’ve been making this for years – clearly, since the recipe was first shared in 2014 – and it’s an antioxidant rich treat at this time of year. Make a batch in the morning and drink it throughout the day, or refrigerate and heat it up as needed over the course of a few days. It’s just as good cold.
Ginger and orange pair perfectly with cranberries, and I like using honey to sweeten for its soothing properties in the season of cold and flu, but you can sub maple syrup for a vegan option. The original recipe calls for rose hips but I’ve made it optional in this updated version because they can be a bit tricky to find.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Cranberries: fresh are best, but see more on this below.
- Honey: use a fairly light tasting honey, not forest honey, which will overwhelm the other flavours. As mentioned above, maple syrup can be used to sweeten if necessary.
- Ginger: this is not the time to use powdered ginger, and it must be fresh.
- Add-ins: you could add a cinnamon stick, or a couple of cloves, or star anise, to make more of a spice tea (see Winter Spice Tea, page 203 of my cookbook).
The ginger is quite strong and it ends up being a vibrant, spicy tea, but you can alter the quantities to suit your taste. I used to use lemons but find orange a bit sweeter and more pleasant with the cranberries.
If you just have orange juice on hand and no oranges, no worries, just add the juice. It’ll still taste good without the peel and – bonus – then you don’t have to juice the oranges.
How to Store
Storage: we keep the heat very low in winter, so I don’t have an issue keeping this at room temperature for one night, but would generally recommend refrigerating to store for 2-3 days. Reheat gently before serving.
Freezing: while this could hypothetically be frozen and taste no different when thawed, it seems like a silly thing to freeze. If you have a superfluous amount of freezer space, it could be frozen for up to three months.
Fresh, Frozen, or Dried
I usually use fresh cranberries, and so only make it a few months of the year. That’s mostly because my freezer these days is the size of a postage stamp. Frozen cranberries work just as well.
Dried are okay, though not as good, and you’ll end up with more of an orange ginger tea than a cranberry tea. It’ll still taste good but won’t be as strong of a cranberry flavour. Dried cranberries are almost always sweetened so you should taste before adding the honey to see how much you need.
It seems like everyone ends up with an extra pack of cranberries lurking in the fridge at this time of year at some point, and you can only make so much cranberry sauce, so put them to use in tea!
- Double the batch: this is very good cold, and can be reheated easily. If you have lots of oranges in the house, make a double batch and save some for later.
- Don’t peel the ginger: it’s going to be strained out in any case, and there’s no point in making unnecessary work for yourself.
- Use organic oranges: the peel is cooked with the tea, so an organic, unwaxed orange is the best choice for this recipe. Wash well in warm water before adding.
More Winter Drinks
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Cranberry Ginger Tea
- 1 litre water
- 100 grams fresh or frozen cranberries
- 60 ml orange juice from 2-3 oranges
- Orange peels from juicing oranges
- 2 thumbs fresh ginger cut into 1 cm pieces
- 20 grams dried rose hips (optional)
- 60 ml honey or maple syrup to taste
- In a large pot, combine the water, cranberries, orange juice, orange peels, ginger, and rose hips (if using).1 litre water, 100 grams fresh or frozen cranberries, 60 ml orange juice, Orange peels, 2 thumbs fresh ginger, 20 grams dried rose hips
- Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Stir in the honey or maple syrup, then turn the heat off and let it steep for a further 10 minutes. Strain and serve hot or cold.60 ml honey or maple syrup
* For American cup measurements, please click the pink link text above the ingredient list that says ‘American’.
Nutrition is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. If this information is important to you, please have it verified independently.
This post was originally published in December 2014. It has been updated with new photos and changes to the recipe and content as of October 2019.