In keeping with the Fourth of July holiday and its beginnings, I think a good look at "Liberty Tea" is in order.
Throw aside your Bohea and your Green Hyson Tea,
And all things with a new fashioned duty;
Procure a good store of choice Labradore,
For there'll soon be enough here to suit ye;
then do without fear, and to all you'll appear
Fair, charming, true, lovely and clever;
Though the times remain darkish, young men may be sparkish,
And love you much stronger than ever.
--Broadside Ballad encouraging the drinking of native tes.
China Bayles' Book of Days (July 4), Susan Wittig Albert
As we all know the reason for celebrating July 4 began with the Boston Tea Party. The colonist were boycotting teas from England thus the reason to throw away their Bohea and Green Hyson teas and to drink native teas or as we know today, herbal teas. It has also been said that this was the beginning of calling all tisanes, tea.
During this time in history China tea would not have been on the menu instead you would have been encouraged to use local herbs as the leaf of choice for steeping.
At the time every household had their own recipe for Labrado tea. Most recipes included rose hips, mint, and wild ginger leaves and depending on availability dried citrus peels, cinnamon, and cloves were added.
A politically correct tea enjoyed at this time in history was Sassafras (the original taste of root beer) as it was a natively grown plant and easily available to the colonists.
In keeping with the theme of the holiday why not try a pitcher of your very own Liberty Tea . . .
- Pour 10 cups boiling water over these slightly bruised fresh herbs
- 5 sprigs spearmint,
- 3 sprigs applemint,
- 2 sprigs red bee-balm flowers,
- 2 sprigs lemon balm.
- 1 sprig peppermint
- If you do not have the above herbs make the tea using the herbs you like best. I will sometimes add basil and sage to my teas
- Steep 15 minutes
- Served iced
And as China Bayles commented, "Our brave revolutionary foremothers would applaud your experiment!"
By the way, I highly recommend China Bayles' Book of Days for a daily lesson on herbs, their use and history.
Just think how proud our Revolutionary Foremothers must be with today's Tea Renaissance,
Enjoy your Liberty Tea,
the Tea and Hat Lady