Tag Archives: drinks

Honey-Lemon Tea

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I had always heard that children were little germ factories and when they are in school they bring home every bug that is going around. I was slightly skeptical until my son joined the school masses and three days into his new school brought home a cold which he immediately passed along to me. Now I hate being sick. It makes me want to curl up and hibernate in a quarantined room. But since that just isn’t an option, I’ve learned to power through with a combination of medicines and staying hydrated.

And when I have a cold my favorite way to stay hydrated and warm, while soothing a scratchy throat, is by sipping mugs of hot honey and lemon tea. There actually isn’t any tea involved; rather hot water, fresh lemon juice, and honey combine to form a soothing drink that warms the body and the soul.

This recipe is more of a method rather than an exact recipe. All lemons are not created equal; some are larger and / or tarter than others. I like my tea to be on the tart side but remember, you can always add more honey as needed to reach your desired level of sweetness. I often start with a little less honey than the recipe calls for then gradually add more, one teaspoon at a time, until it tastes right to me. So the next time you’re feeling a bit under the weather, make yourself a cup of this tea, curl up with a blanket, and get better soon.

HONEY-LEMON TEA

8 ounces water

Juice of 1 lemon

1/4 cup honey, or more to taste

  • Combine the water, lemon juice, and honey is a large mug.
  • Heat in the microwave for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes or until hot. Stir well and adjust sweetener if necessary.

Yields:1 serving

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Eggnog

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Egg nog, like the ubiquitous fruitcake, is so closely associated with Christmas that it is hard to imagine one without the other.  Like the famous cake, people seem to either love or hate egg nog.  Personally I was never a fan but then again I had only drank the thick and cloying sweet stuff that comes out of the carton.  Then I had my first taste of the real stuff and I was a convert.

Egg nog is easy to make and chances are you already have all of the ingredients on hand.  This recipe is adapted from the Yankee Kitchen Ninja blog.  The Ninj’s version used skim milk but since I was feeling decadent, and I had some hard to find heavy cream on hand, I splurged and used a combination of milk and cream.  My results were rich and thick but you can use all milk of any fat content if you prefer.  The rum is also optional but I think it adds a nice kick to the drink.  If you are serving the egg nog to a mixed crowd you can add a shot of rum to each glass instead of mixing it into the pitcher.  However you drink it, egg nog means Christmas so Joy Noel!

EGGNOG

4 eggs

2/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 cups milk

2 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup dark rum (optional)

  • Whisk together the eggs and sugar in a large saucepan until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Whisk in the vanilla cinnamon, nutmeg, milk, and cream until blended.
  • Set the pan over medium heat and heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches 160 degrees then let it simmer for 1 minute.
  • Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
  • Pour into a pitcher and refrigerate until cold.
  • Before serving mix in the rum if using and top with a dollop of whipped cream.

Serves 4

Limey Mojito Spritzer

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Here’s a twist on good old fashioned lemonade.  Just add a lime instead!  While I find limes considerably more difficult to juice than lemons, the results are so worth it so be sure to use fresh limes.  The combination of lime juice, mint, and sparkling water is reminiscent of mojitos, which are my favorite adult summer beverage.  Sometimes I’ll add the rum and other times I’ll leave it other.  Whichever version you choose, pour yourself a tall drink, sit back, relax, and enjoy these hot lazy summer days.

LIMEY MOJITO SPRITZER

1 cup water

1 cup superfine sugar

1 1/2 liters Pellagrino or other sparkling water

1 cup fresh lime juice

1/2 cup fresh mint leaves

1/2 cup light rum (optional)

  • In a small saucepan, bring the water and superfine sugar to a boil.  Boil 3 minutes then remove from the heat.  Allow to cool.
  • Using a wooden spoon, muddle the mint leaves in the bottom of a glass pitcher.  Add the simple syrup and lime juice and stir to combine.
  • Pour in the sparkling water and rum, if using.
  • Serve in chilled glasses over ice.

Minted Lemonade

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When you add fresh mint to this classic summertime drink you have a refreshing thirst quencher that the whole family will love.  Most people probably use a powdered mix or a frozen concentrate to whip up their batches of lemonade but it is so easy to make that is a shame not to make the real thing.  With just a few key ingredients you can be drinking this in no time which is just the way it should be during these long and hot summer days.  Enjoy!

MINTED LEMONADE

3/4 cup superfine sugar

3/4 cup boiling water

1 cup fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnishing

1 cup fresh lemon juice

8 cups cold water

1 lemon, sliced

ice cubes, as needed

For the simply syrup, combine the sugar and boiling water in a small bowl.  Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.  Set aside to cool.

Place the mint leaves and the simple syrup in a large pitcher.  Muddle or crush the leaves with a wooden spoon.

Add the lemon juice and water and stir thoroughly until combined.

Add the sliced lemons and enough ice cubes to fill the pitcher.

Refrigerate until cold and serve over additional ice cubes.

Garnish with mint leaves if desired.

Yields:  12 cups

Boozy Hot Chocolate (Three Ways)

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This very adult hot cocoa doesn’t even resemble the watery version made with powder and adorned with dehydrated marshmallows that I drank as a child.  This is rich and creamy with a little kick of your choice.  A little goes a long way;  especially if you make it with whole milk.  So sit back, relax, and enjoy your cup on a cold winter afternoon.

You can add whichever liqueur strikes your fancy.  I experimented with Grand Marnier, Frangelico, and a Lilly coffee liqueur.  Each was different but all three were good and we couldn’t decided which one we preferred.

 


BOOZY HOT CHOCOLATE (THREE WAYS)

Serves 2

2 cups 2 percent milk (or whole if your feeling indulgent)

3 1/2 ounces good quality dark chocolate

4 teaspoons dark brown sugar

3 tablespoons liqueur of your choice

Whipped cream

Garnishes as desired (orange zest, whole coffee beans, cocoa powder, etc)

1)  Chop the chocolate into small pieces.  Add to a medium sized saucepan with the brown sugar and

      milk.

2)  Stirring frequently, warm over medium low heat.

3)  Place 1 1/2 tablespoons of the liqueur of your choice in the bottom of each mug.  Ladle in the cocoa

     and stir to combine.

4)  Top with a dollop of whipped cream and garnish, if desired.  I used orange zest for the Grand

      Marnier version, a coffee bean for the coffee version, and a dusting of Dutch processed cocoa for

      the Frangelico version.

Drink and enjoy!

Gluhwein (Mulled Wine)

Nothing says Christmas to me more than mulled red wine.  Called by its German name of gluhwein, this warm spicy red wine is a staple of the holiday season throughout Europe.  Regardless of where you are the base of the drink is the same; red wine is simmered with a variety of spices producing a warm and intoxicating drink that is sipped from small cups purchased from street vendors.  Each country seems to have their own take on this traditional drink; in the Czech Republic slices of lemon float on top of the drink while orange is the citrus of choice in Slovenia and Croatia.  Germany and Austria seem to forgo the the fruit but “class” up their presentation by serving the hot beverage from commemorative mugs instead of paper cups.  (This makes consumption so much more enjoyable).  Look around a town square during the holiday season and groups of people will be standing around sipping their drinks and enjoying the holiday season.

I’ve been making my own version of gluhwein for many years.  Whether it was served at our Christmas parties in Norfolk, VA or Tirana, Albania, every drop of the spicy warm goodness is inevitably gone by the end of the night.  You can easily double or triple the following recipe if you are serving a crowd (or want a lot for yourself).  For larger groups I like to make the gluhwein in a crock pot which makes it easy to serve and keeps it warm until the last drop has been drunk.

GLUHWEIN
 
 
2 .75 liters dry red wine
1/2 cup brandy
1/4 cup white sugar-or more to taste
10 whole peppercorns
10 whole allspice
20 whole cloves
6 whole cinnamon sticks
zest of two oranges
1)  Toast spices in a small saucepan until fragrant being careful not to scorch them.
2)  Place smaller spices (peppercorns, allspice, and cloves) in a tea ball or cheesecloth bag.  Place all of
     the spices into a large saucepan or crackpot.
3)  Add the wine, brandy, sugar, and orange zest to the pot.
4)  Bring to a simmer over medium heat being careful not to boil the liquid.  Stir occasionally to make
sure sugar is dissolved.
5)  Reduce heat and let steep a minimum of 1 hour or longer.
When using a crock pot, I will use the “warm” setting and allow the flavors to intensify for the duration of serving while keeping the gluhwein warm.
Enjoying gluhwein in Garmisch, Germany
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