the name intrigues me. i'm obsessed with hot beverages anyway. this leads to research.
wikipedia, illustrious source that it is, claims:
"Tang is a featured ingredient in Instant Russian Tea (a variation of Wassail), a hot drink mix popular in the Southern US made with Tang, instant tea, ground cinnamon and cloves, and sometimes instant lemonade. Instant Russian Tea is often given as a holiday hostess gift."
shannon, who grew up in illinois, knew it. i, born and raised in tennessee (albeit by non-southern parents), didn't. i don't think it tastes that different from what my parents used to call "percolator punch" --warm and fruity and spicy-- but it's been ages since i've had any of that, and there was certainly no tang involved!
the question i still can't figure out, though, is: why russian? tang wasn't around until the late 50s, so it's hardly an old, traditional recipe. i find all sorts of links around the interwebs from articles talking about samovars to recipes for this stuff... but no one's explicitly saying how or why you get from A to B. i did find at least one reference to tea in russia frequently being served with lots of lemon and sugar, but that's about as close as i got in a casual web search...