Cinco De Mayo Tea Cocktails

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I see that Cinco de Mayo is coming up, and Kat’s already researching some fun cocktails to toast the day. I’ve decided she needs to make a few tea-infused cocktails! I mean, let’s face it Dearies, I’m the one that makes the beverage decisions around here! I’ve been thinking about the traditional cocktails you may drink on Cinco de Mayo, and have hunted down some tea-infused versions.

Sangria is one of Kat’s favorite drinks. It brings back memories of relaxing in Barcelona on one of their warm, sunny evenings. This fruity drink gets upgraded with a dose of black tea. Kat likes to make this recipe, and add in one of her favorite flavored black teas- HEB Cranberry Blood Orange Black tea.The sweet and tangy blood orange and hibiscus flavors bring to mind a sunny afternoon dining by the beach in Ibiza. You can practically feel the warm ocean breezes with each sip. Kat sometimes pulls this tea out in the middle of winter, to melt away all the chilly thoughts.

Also, who doesn’t love a good margarita! I’ve been looking for a good tea infused margarita recipe and haven’t found one that’s just right. So Dearies, I made one using the same delicious HEB tea! Here’s what you’ll need:

Tippy’s Marga-TEA-rita

Makes 1 drink

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons (1 1/4 ounces) tequila
  • 1 lime wedge
  • 2 teaspoons sugar, plus more for coating rim of glass
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup water off the boil
  • 1 tablespoon Cointreau
  • 1/2 cup ice cubes
  • 1 bag HEB Cranberry Blood Orange Black tea

Rub the lime wedge along the rim of a glass, and dip in the extra sugar. Steep the tea and allow it to cool. Combine the tea, alcohol, sugar, juice and ice in a blender, and whirl until combined. Enjoy!

For a non-alcoholic drink, how about a chai-spiced horchata? Horchata is a cinnamon flavored, milky drink made from ground rice or nuts. It’s a cooling yet flavorful sip perfect for both children and adults! I think the spices make it quite festive!

Whatever you do this Cinco de Mayo, have fun! Enjoy beautiful weather, tasty drinks, and most importantly wonderful friends.

The Tea Trends of 2015

teatrends2015

Dearies as you know, I’m a technically savvy teacup. I may be a bit of an antique, but I know how to get around the internet! One of my favorite things to do is read about emerging trends. I like to keep up with this ever-changing world of tea! Since the new year has begun, I was curious to see what the tea trends were for 2015 and what’s still hot for the new year. Here’s what this old teacup discovered:

Interesting blends: It appears that interesting tea blends using more than just black tea have become quite popular. Natural fruit flavors and pure herbal teas have proven to be very popular. I’ve noticed turmeric making a frequent appearance, especially during cold and flu season. Turmeric is very earth on its own, and Kat has done some research on just the right recipe to balance the flavor with a bit of sweetness. Here’s how she’s currently making her turmeric tea:

1 cup milk (of any type) or water

2 tsps of dried turmeric

1 tsp of dried ginger

Lemon and honey to taste

Dash of black pepper (optional)

Simmer the spices with the water or milk until everything is incorporated. Kat also likes to add the honey in while the brew is very hot. Drink and enjoy!

Matcha is still a popular trend: It seems like the world has gone crazy for matcha this year! If you look at social media it appears that everyone is drinking, baking, and cooking with it. I’ve heard Kat’s friends talk about how they are perfecting their matcha whisking skills in order to have the perfectly frothy morning bowl of the energizing tea. Kat has been to ‘Matcha Meditation’ classes where they’ve discussed how to be mindful when preparing and drinking your tea. She’s had cups of matcha and matcha lattes in many different cafes. This is definitely a trend that I can get behind. Matcha is tasty, energizing, and so versatile!

Tea Cocktails: Cocktails infused with tea has been very popular this year as well, and the trend looks as if it will continue. I’ve read endless articles suggesting tea cocktail combinations. I’ve even posted a few of my own (remember this?)! There are now tea mixers on the market that you can purchase so you don’t even need to steep your tea yourself. You simply add the pre-made mixer to your spirit of choice. Kat has been to a few bars in the area that have created their own tea infused cocktail creations. She was delighted to see tea on the cocktail menu!

What other tea trends have you noticed popping up? It’s definitely going to be an exciting year for tea!

New Year’s Eve Tea Cocktails!

NYE cocktails

Dearies, what are your New Years Eve plans? Whether you have a quiet night at home or a big soiree with all of your friends, you can still create special celebratory moments that feel personal and meaningful. Kat’s going to have a small group of friends over, and she’s planning on serving a few select tea cocktails along with some decadent nibbles.

On New Years Eve, it’s important to bring out the bubbly! Use champagne, sparkling wine, or sparkling cider to add your bubbles. With a bit of sparkly fizz, you’ll create a classic convivial spirit to your evening.

For a bright, jasmine scented drink, add a bit of jasmine tea to your bubbly cocktail. A great way to add strong tea flavor to your drink is to infuse vodka with tea. Vodka is a very neutral flavor on its own, and works very well as a base for your tea.

To make jasmine tea infused vodka:

Use a clean bottle with a stopper at the top. A bottle that holds most of a 750ml bottle of vodka will work perfectly.

Add about 6 teabags to the bottle, shake gently and let it infuse for a few hours, or even overnight. Try not to let it sit more than 12 hours, the brew can get a bit bitter.

Once your jasmine vodka is ready, add about 2 tablespoons to a champagne flute or coupe, and top off with your bubbly of choice. A dash of elderflower liquor would make a lovely nuanced addition, but isn’t necessary.

If Jasmine tea isn’t to your liking, you can use any kind of tea you wish. The options are endless.

Adding a bit of Darjeeling, the ‘champagne of teas’ to your drink will create a cocktail fit for royalty. Kat is eager to try this Darjeeling gimlet for an old-fashioned twist to her New Year’s Eve. It’ll give a classic ‘Great Gatsby’ air to your soiree. It’s especially fun if you have a 1920s theme to your party.

Or for another classic cocktail with a tea twist, how about a matcha gimlet? Your matcha-loving friends are going to adore it!

Whatever your drink choice, I hope you all have a fun, festive New Year’s Eve! What drinks are you planning on serving?

Thanksgiving Tea Cocktails

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It’s almost time for large family gatherings and giving thanks for all that we have. Do you host Thanksgiving dinner? Kat is taking on the challenge this year, hosting quite a sizable group. She’s excited to cook with her favorite fall ingredients like squash and cranberries. I can already smell the stuffing and pumpkin pie!

I was hoping she’d let me be the table centerpiece for the big event. Wouldn’t I look lovely among the flowers and gourds? I’d sit in the middle of the table and watch over the action. Kat said she doesn’t want me to risk a chip, which I suppose I understand. Well, at least I convinced her to incorporate a bit of tea into the meal. She decided to feature tea in a pre-meal cocktail. I think it’s a delicious compromise.

After doing a bit of research Kat has narrowed it down to a few different cocktail choices. Wouldn’t a warm cocktail would be perfect to welcome everyone on Thanksgiving? It would bring everyone together and help the conversation start to flow. This Bourbon Chai looks absolutely delicious. A cozy way to start, with a kick of spice to get everyone’s palate ready for the big meal. Kat is worried that she may be a bit short on time with all the food she needs to prepare, so she’s planning on using Fresh & Easy Chai Black Tea bags instead of the separate tea and spices. As much as Kat loves to make Masala Chai from scratch, she looked in her local grocery store for a good bagged tea to keep in the house for when she’s craving a spicy tea, but doesn’t have time to put the ingredients together. The strong cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom in this brew create the masala chai flavors she’s looking for. It’s perfectly spicy and aromatic.

I’m also partial to this apple-infused cocktail. It’s a drink that sets the right Thanksgiving mood. The apple, cinnamon, and cloves compliment all of the flavors served in the main meal. I think the aroma will bring everyone straight to their most nostalgic Thanksgiving memories. When I first tried it, it reminded me of Char’s first attempt at baking an apple pie for Thanksgiving dinner. I think she managed to get flour in every corner of the kitchen that year! But the resulting pie was delicious, and worth the extra cleanup.

Cranberries are an essential part of the meal, and this Sparkling Cranberry Tea Cocktail is a wonderful idea. It’s a sweet and tart way to begin the evening. It will have her guests craving more Thanksgiving flavors. Also, who doesn’t love a bit of sparkle? The bubbly will lend a festive air to your Thanksgiving get-together. I think it also feels swanky!

For a non-alcoholic cocktail, Kat found this perfect recipe from Serious Eats. It combines sparkling apple cider, tea, and cinnamon. It has the right combination to tempt the palate before the Thanksgiving meal! She is thinking of serving this one for the little ones, and those that prefer not to have alcohol.

Which drink would you choose to serve your guests? This is such a special time of year. What are you thankful for? I feel fortunate to have had so many adventures over the years with two amazing women. I am looking forward to the adventures yet to come!

Iced Teani – Shaken, Not Stirred

“The name’s Bond. James Bond.”

Kat and I agree that few icons are better than 007. In fact, Kat and her friends have been having a James Bond view-a-thon over the past several weeks. Each week, one friend hosts a viewing party of a James Bond film complete with food and beverage. One thing we’ve all noticed is that over the decades, the martini gets a lot of press from the Bond series. After all, when one asks for a martini, who can resist saying, “Shaken, not stirred.”

As we prep to host this week’s Bond night, Kat and I have come up with a fun twist on the martini. We’ve developed a couple of Iced Teani recipes that are sure to be crowd pleasers!

Mint Tea-Ni

Boiling water – enough to fill large tea pot
3 mint tea bags (Kat used Private Selection Peppermint Herbal Tea)
3 black tea bags (Private Selection English Breakfast Tea)
16 mint leaves
1⁄4 cup water
1⁄2 cup sugar
3 shots vodka, very cold (We used Belvedere)

Mint Teani with Vodka

  1. Brew a 6-cup pot of tea, with boiling water and the tea bags. Allow to steep for 5 minutes, then pull out the tea bags. Allow to cool for several minutes and then refrigerate until very cold.
  2. Make the mint syrup by putting 16 mint leaves, lightly chopped, into a sauce pan with 1⁄4 cup water and 1⁄2 cup sugar. Heat on medium-high until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is translucent. Set aside to cool, and then strain.
  3. Add the cooled, strained mint syrup and the vodka to the chilled tea pot. Give it all a good stir and pour into martini glass, garnished with fresh mint leaves. If not quite cold enough, shake in martini shaker with ice until chilled.

Mint Teani Final

Very Berry-Tea-Ni

Boiling water – enough to fill large tea pot
5 berry blend tea bags (Kat loves the Private Selection Acai, Pomegranate & Blueberry Green Tea)
1/3 cup blueberries, plus handful for garnish
1⁄4 cup water
1⁄2 cup sugar
3 shots vodka, very cold

Very Berry Teani Vodka

  1. Brew a 6-cup pot of tea, with boiling water and the 5 tea bags. Allow to steep for 5 minutes, then remove tea bags. Allow to cool for several minutes and then refrigerate until very cold.
  2. Make the blueberry syrup by putting 1/3 cup blueberries into a sauce pot with 1⁄4 cup water and 1⁄2 cup sugar. Heat on medium-high, crush berries and stir until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is a deep purple Set aside to cool, and then strain.
  3. Add the cooled, strained syrup and the vodka to the chilled tea pot. Give it all a good stir and pour into martini glass, garnished with several blueberries skewered on a toothpick. If not quite cold enough, shake in martini shaker with ice until chilled.

Very Berry Teani

Just as each actor gives James Bond his own distinct flair, our twist on the martini will be sure to make our viewing party the most memorable!

DIY Tea Cocktails

With the warmer spring weather upon us, the idea of garden parties is so appealing. I remember spring evenings with Char in Fatima, Portugal as we visited one of her old friends. We would sit outside in the evenings, looking over the gentle hills where sheep still grazed, sipping sangria. Char experimented with sangria recipes when she returned home, favoring white wine over red. Her addition: white tea. Kat and I just discovered her notes on the subject and it brought me back to those peaceful evenings.

A search on Pinterest led to this modern recipe by KirbieCravings.com

Iced Tea Sangria

As found on KirbieCravings.com

Our twist on this favorite is to use Private Selection Citrus Green Tea as the iced tea base. The sunniness of the green tea highlights the fruit notes of the white wine.

While Kat’s female friends might like the light, white tea sangria, her gentlemen friends prefer a cold brew. That’s where tea-infused beers can be so interesting!  The everyman can of beer is suddenly elevated, enriched and refined by adding pouring it over an Earl Grey tea bag and allowing to steep for 15 minutes. Kat’s has found that Private Selection Earl Grey Black Tea works very well.

And for something a little more zippy, we found this lovely Chamomile Tequila Sour by SeariousEats.com. By making a chamomile simple syrup, the tequila takes on a whole new, smoother character. This will be a definite crowd pleaser!

Kat has noticed more tea-infused cocktails on menus lately, and I say, “It’s about time!” What are some of your favorite DIY Tea Cocktail Recipes? Share them in the comments here!