A Victorian Thanksgiving Dinner, Part 2: Autumn Tea Punch

Here’s how to give your family a Victorian-style taste of fall.


mr charles house

Photo by Mark Tanner.


Chef Heredia is known for utilizing natural, organically grown ingredients and thinking beyond the table. From creative ways to decorate using what you have to the importance of repurposing materials, her sensibility harkens back to a simpler time while indulging in the elegance of the Victorian table. Vivian recommends handling food respectfully and thoughtfully—not to be wasteful but to be creative.


For cool autumn evenings and into the holidays, if you make The McCharles House tea punch it will fill your home with the inviting aroma of orange, cinnamon and cloves. This spiced, fruited tea makes a special offering hot or iced. Vivian uses Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice tea blend, but gives guidelines to use what is in your pantry as well. She repurposes the tea leaves, too: After drying, you can toss them in your vacuum bag to impart their spicy scent. “Simple living and celebrating autumn with simple pleasures is such a gracious way to live,” Vivian says.


Victorian Thanksgiving Dinner Table

Styled by Audrey and Vivian Heredia; photo by Mark Tanner.


How to Make Autumn Tea Punch


Serves 10-12

Prep time: 10-15 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Note: Making this tea should become a holiday ritual, a natural way to scent your home and create instant ambience—while you just happen to be preparing a delicious beverage for your family or guests.


1 cup granulated sugar

2 cups cold water

1 cinnamon stick

Juice of 2 lemons (Meyer lemons are best)

Juice of 2 oranges

1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice or apple juice

6 cups boiling water

4 Tablespoons or 4 sachets Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice tea, Hot

Cinnamon Sunset tea or Cinnamon Tea mix (recipe follows)

Orange slices and whole cloves,

for garnish


Combine sugar, cold water and cinnamon stick and bring to a simmer, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.

Add the fruit juices to the sugar water and simmer for 7 minutes.

In a separate pot, pour 6 cups of boiling water over the tea and spices, and steep for three minutes.

Strain the tea leaves and set aside or discard. Combine the tea with the fruit juice mixture.

Serve hot with an orange slice or let cool and serve iced. To serve cold from a punch bowl, use some of the tea to make an ice ring. Garnish with orange slices studded with cloves.


Make Your Own Cinnamon Tea Mix:


4 Tablespoons loose black tea (Celon or English Breakfast tea works well)

6 whole cloves

1/8 teaspoon each ground nutmeg, allspice and ginger

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon




Written by Hillary Black

Recipe by Vivian Heredia



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