holiday cheer party in your cup

No, this has nothing to do with my addiction to the gingerbread lattes at Fourbucks (did you know they have *salted* caramel hot chocolate?). It’s about another obsession: tea parties. I’m your basic addict, with a drip-feed of teas (particularly the Vanilla Bourbon Rooibos: a red bush herb flavored with bourbon vanilla essence. And no, it’s not my favorite just because its descriptor mentions red bush). So I nearly clotted my cream when my editor sent me a copy of Alice’s Tea Cup. That’s right, the book, from New York’s most whimsical tea spot. But tea parties are not simply for knocked up women and newly potty-trained kids, no. They’re for Christmas crack whores like myself. Example to follow.

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The book includes a section dear to my heart: MENU PAIRINGS. Suggestions for The Perfect Garden Party, Ladies Who Lunch, Autumn Leaves, Baby Showers, Midsummer Night’s Party, It’s His Birthday, and, how timely, a Holiday Cheer Party, laced with vanilla bean and peppermint stick scones, warm pear and endive salad, croque madame, Rooibos tomato soup, double chocolate cookies, carrot cake… it goes on. The point is, they get it right. An upmarket tomato soup and grilled cheese preserves the tradition of comfort, leaving guests feeling snuggly and warm. Not to fear, they also suggest alcohol… a marteani.

In particular, I’m desperate to try the chocolate chai cupcakes with chai spice buttercream (holy shit), and a Mocha Chocolate Chip Cake… “We’ve had it as our birthday cake and holiday cake for our entire lives, but it has also taken on a life of its own—several friends have even requested it as their wedding cake…” Hell, yes (the frosting calls for 4 heaping teaspoons Medaglia D’Oro instant espresso powder). Just what mama needs, caffeine and lots o’sugar.



  1. I just had my tea with coconut milk! Thank you for this post, Stephanie. I love your homey posts.

  2. Bought it. Twice. One for me, one for my mother. Like you, I’m a tea-time whore.

    1. Alison, good thinking!! I’m going to go onto Amazon right now and do the same thing ;)

  3. I am buying this for myself, so I’ll give it to my daughter with an American Girl doll and tea set. (I love themes, too.)

  4. I love tea and biscuits in the afternoon, especially loose tea with petals, where the shape is kept of the bloom. Your blog is a bit like a cozy cup of tea. I feel safe and warm and delighted here. Thank you for continuing to write, despite how busy you get.

    I’m buying this book to give to a college roommate with whom I haven’t been good about staying in touch. I will give it to her as a “theme,” a la Stephanie… complete with a few teas and one of those balls (your favorite) where the tea goes, and a teapot cozy… which is like a sweatshirt for your kettle. Thanks!

  5. Scones are one of the only baked goods that don’t freeze well… unless you freeze them as soon as they’re out of the oven. They’re odd because they aren’t as good as muffins, but we still eat them.

    1. That’s because you have to freeze them BEFORE you bake them. Prep them just like you would normally, but flash freeze instead of baking and then wrap them up tight. They bake up beautifully straight out of the freezer.

  6. The key with scones (also biscuits) is that fat needs to be cut into the flour to coat the grains and give it a flaky texture. Otherwise, they’re dry rock. Yay team fat!

  7. Random, but now I want chicken salad, on a toasted croissant. With a spot of tea.

  8. I LOVE Alice’s. My wedding cake was from there – the Queen’s Garden, with little personal cakes (not cupcakes) for each guest. Do they have the recipe for the banana butterscotch scones? Those things are like crack.

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