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.