By Anne Cain
Updated November 20, 2008

This week we have been photographing themed holiday gift baskets (which will be up soon in our holiday package). One of my favorites was the spice basket that included a jar of Spiced Cider Mix, also known as Russian tea or spiced tea. To me, a cup of this tangy orange spiced tea just says "holidays". I always make up a batch at the start of the season and find that nothing relaxes me more than sipping on a cup of this satisfying hot cider.

I do modify this recipe a bit and use Sugar-Free Tang, sugar-free lemonade mix, and Splenda, making it a completely sugar-free beverage with 0 grams of carbohydrate and 0 calories. It's nice to have a guilt-free indulgence during this time of the year. And if I start to get the first hint of a cold or sore throat, a few sips of spiced tea is an instant soother. For some other options, check out our holiday collection of warm winter ciders.

Even if you don't want to do a complete spice gift basket, a jar of this mix alone makes a lovely gift. Just package it in a fun jar, add a label with mixing instructions, and tie a festive ribbon around the top. There's no better way to spice up the holidays.