From Russia With Love: Mint Tea

In the Gardens outside the Topkapi Palace...

men smoke hookahs and sip hot mint tea served from brass samovars, even on the warmest days of summer. The trees provide their own breeze and natural air-conditioning. The tea is poured into small gold-accented glasses over small cubes of white sugar.

The tea was so wonderful, the sounds of the trees, the breeze, the smoke rising from the hookahs, that we decided to pass on the tourist-thing and take our day with the locals. On that particularly wonderful August afternoon in Istanbul, we made a conscious decision to experience a country through our senses, rather than the lens of a camera. To this day - decades later, I can close my eyes, and I'm there - a present-sense memory of a totally different culture more vivid than any photograph.

Traditional gold banded Turkish tea service can be purchased on-line and will give your dinner a real sense of being there in the Gardens of Topkapi.


  • 1 large bunch of fresh Mint (1 or 2 cups, cleaned)
  • 1/2 cubes of sugar


You can make fresh Mint Tea in a tea pot, but it is very pretty if you have a heat resistant glass pot that will let everyone see the teal as it steeps. Here I'm using the glass vessel of a French Press coffee maker.

Clean the mint, washing under cool water and trimming off any bad leaves.

Serve with cubes of sugar. Here we're also serving baklava as dessert.

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