Oh, the weather outside is frightful! And, a fire would be so delightful – if there was one. Since my fireplace remains in the same pristine state it was in when we built it fifteen years ago, (Don’t ask!), I’ve been looking for other ways to stay warm and toasty during this cold, damp and blustery wave of winter weather. Of course, hot chocolate and coffee are obvious choices. But, when I am chilled right down to my very bones, there is only one drink that truly warms me from the inside out, and that is Russian tea.
The first time I ever tasted Russian tea was shortly after I’d pledged a sorority during my freshman year in college. The president of our chapter was a senior named Charlotte, and I adored her. She embodied the essence of everything that a well-bred young lady from the South should be. Charlotte was cultured, understated, well-mannered and always impeccably groomed. Even though she was only three years older than I was, she exuded grace and maturity. Charlotte was also a direct descendent of one of the actual founders of our sorority more than one hundred and twenty years ago. And, she wore pearls… with jeans. You just can’t get any cooler than that!
As a brand new college coed who had never been away from home before, I was always coming up against situations that I didn’t know how to deal with. Whether my crisis of the day was about boys, a prickly professor or ruining my favorite sweater in the wash, Charlotte’s door was always open to me. And as we sorted things out, we’d sip from steaming hot mugs filled with Charlotte’s fruity, spicy and infinitely comforting Russian tea.