Midwinter Herbal Tea Blend from Westport Hotel
Along the northernmost reaches of Highway 1, Westport Hotel is a remote outpost overlooking the windswept cliffs and frothy waves of the spectacular Mendocino coast. It’s the perfect setting for a warm cup of tea. In fact, the hotel’s own Old Abalone Pub presents a seasonal Saturday afternoon tea, complete with scones, tea sandwiches, fruit, chocolate, and a baked sweet of the day. The pub is closed for its annual winter break until early February, but the owners have happily shared a simple recipe for an herbal tea blend that can be made at home.
This tea blend makes a delightful holiday gift when packaged in a glass canister or cellophane bag and tied with a festive ribbon. It’s also perfect for serving holiday guests. Its ingredients showcase the bright colors and aromas of the winter holidays.
Dried hibiscus flowers bring a tartness reminiscent of cranberry or pomegranate to the steeped tea, while also turning it a festive red. Fresh Grand Fir needles—available by mail-order, sourced from a Christmas tree lot or garden store, or foraged locally on the West Coast—add piney, citrusy notes that fade gently into the background. Shattered cinnamon sticks bring in a spicy, woody flavor, while grated orange peel imparts a distinctive citrusy fragrance. The result is a healthy, caffeine-free hot beverage that will simultaneously awaken memories of a pine forest after a light rain and sweet pastries fresh from the oven.
Midwinter Herbal Tea Blend
Courtesy of Westport Hotel
Makes about 20 Servings
- 1 ½ ounces (by weight) dried hibiscus flowers
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh Grand Fir needles
- 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped cinnamon stick
- Peel of 1 orange, shredded
Place the hibiscus and cinnamon in a bag and pound them with a hammer to “chop” them.
Put all ingredients into a paper lunch bag. Leave the top open and shake a few times a day for several days, so the tea is almost dry when put into a jar for storage.
The recipe can be multiplied, but larger quantities should be dried in several bags or spread out on parchment paper out of the sun.