11 March 2014 - 13:12Tea Recipe: Irish Chai

St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner, which means it’s time for a new tea cocktail recipe!

My newest is inspired by the classic Irish Car Bomb, sans the bombing (always made things a bit messy, in my humble opinion) - and, of course, with the cheerful addition of tea!  I call it Irish Chai.

Sláinte!

Irish ChaiIRISH CHAI

Kama Chai Sutra, dry
Turbinado sugar (the “in the raw” stuff)
1.5 oz Baileys Original Irish Cream
1 oz Jameson Irish Whiskey
1 Cinnamon stick

Brew a pot of tea. Add 2 tsp of sugar for every cup (8 oz) and stir until dissolved. Add the Jameson, Baileys and 4 oz of the chai to a mug and stir with the cinnamon stick.

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7 February 2014 - 11:43Tea Recipe: Green Tea Basil Gimlet

Now that it is well into 2014, we’re long past due for another tea cocktail recipe.

Today’s recipe involves three of the biggest trends in cocktails right now: tea cocktails (as mentioned in a previous blog), the use of fresh herbs, and using gin as the spirit.

Enjoy!

green tea basil gimletGREEN TEA BASIL GIMLET

7 basil leaves
1/2 ounce lemongreen syrup (recipe follows)
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice (about one small / medium lime)
1 1/2 ounces gin, such as Bluecoat

Place 6 of the basil leaves in the palm of your hand and clap. Place the leaves in the base of a cocktail shaker and add the lemongreen syrup and lime juice. Muddle the basil leaves to release the oils.

Add the gin to the shaker along with ice. Put the top on the cocktail shaker and shake. Using a strainer, pour the mixture into a glass.

Place the remaining basil leaf in your hand and clap. Float the leaf on top of the cocktail to garnish and serve.

LEMONGREEN SYRUP

1 tablespoon Lemongreen, dry
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

lemongreenPlace sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Once the mixture boils, reduce the heat to low and simmer, swirling the pan occasionally, for 5 minutes.

Remove the pan from heat, allow to cool for 5 min, then add the tea leaves and steep for 5 minutes and strain.  Allow to cool to room temperature before using.

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8 January 2014 - 18:22NPR Says We’ll Be Eating Tea in 2014

But, as my loyal readers know, we’ve been eating well (and by that I mean with tea) for quite some time now!

Looking forward to a great year!

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6 December 2013 - 18:39Tea with Nelson Mandela

Yesterday, Nelson Mandela, who guided South Africa from the shackles of apartheid to a multi-racial democracy and became an icon of international peace and reconciliation, died at the age of 95.

Throughout his life, he was known as many things:  a revolutionary, a prisoner, a philosopher, a president, a Nobel prize winner, and many, many more titles.  The impact of his life has touched virtually every life, unknowing or knowing, in the past 20 years.

Rest in PeaceOut of all the obituaries and recollections of his life that have been circulating in the hours since the world learned of his passing, one that truly touched me and spoke bounds to the peacefulness and humility of Mandela’s character was the story of his meeting with an opposition leader over tea:

In 1993, South African general Constand Viljoen was plotting an Afrikaner guerrilla war against multiracial rule.

So Nelson Mandela invited him over for tea. When Viljoen and three other retired generals arrived at Mandela’s house in Johannesburg, they expected a maid to open the door. Instead a smiling Mandela greeted them, shaking their hands and expressing his delight at seeing them. Then he invited Viljoen to his lounge for a private chat.

“He asked me if I took tea,” Viljoen later told John Carlin, author of the new book Knowing Mandela. “I said yes and he poured me a cup. He asked me if I took milk. I said yes and he poured me milk. Then he asked me if I took sugar with my tea. I said I did and he poured the sugar. All I had to do was stir it!”

Speaking in Viljoen’s language, Afrikaans, Mandela persuaded him that a guerrilla war would lead nowhere. Instead, he urged him to stand for parliament in the multiracial elections. Viljoen left the house purged of warlike thoughts. “Mandela wins over all who meet him,” he told Carlin.

What a good lesson for all of us to learn.

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5 December 2013 - 13:31Tea is Trending Hot for 2014

According to the Nation’s Restaurant News, one of the leading trade publications in the industry, things are looking good for those who love tea: your are going to be seeing a lot more of it when you dine out next year.

tempting tea cocktailIn their year-end list of “Hot restaurant menu trends for 2014,”  NRN lists beer and beer cocktails as quickly becoming passé, with tea and tea cocktails as the new “it” drink on the horizon.

Now, this friendly neighborhood Tea Sommelier is not one to gloat or yell, “I told you so!” from atop the Empire State Building (that may actually get you arrested).  But I am happy to see that tea cocktails are finally getting the day in the sun that I have been working for for years (I printed my first tea cocktail recipe almost 10 years ago!).

So if you need me, I’ll be here sipping my Earl Grey MarTEAni with an ice cream-filled biscuit on the side and looking forward to the year to come!

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4 December 2013 - 14:13… And we’re back!

Mr. CullanYou have probably noticed that I’ve been away for a while, and so all your thirst for tea-related knowledge has gone unquenched. For that, I apologize.

For a while, we were having serious issues with the hosting of our blog, causing it to shut down whenever the urge took it (which was quite frequently). Technology, as they say, can be both amazing and a burden.

I have also had another distraction that has kept me away from my writings, one which is quite a bit happier and much cuter. Since my last blog post, I’m pleased to say a new tea lover (even if he doesn’t know it yet) has come into this world. My first child, Cullan Alan Cason, was born just a few months ago… and I could not be more proud of the little man.

As you can see, he’s already getting his taste buds ready to be a top Tea Sommelier!

… let’s give him a few years before that, though!

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14 March 2013 - 18:00Tea Video: Mastering Masala Chai

In case you ever want to do it the traditional way, here is a great tea video on how to make Masala Chai.

For the black tea they employ in the video, I’d recommend our Assam Finest.

Or, if you want to make the cheater version, skip all the spices and just use our Kama Chai Sutra!

Enjoy:


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7 March 2013 - 18:21Tea Video: The Fan

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7 February 2013 - 18:20Tea Video: Wash Away Your Worries (…With Tea)

Here’s a clever, if not slightly terrifying, tea commercial from Hungaria.

It’s supposed to be promoting a calming tea, but after seeing this I don’t think all the Serenity in the world will let me get a good night’s sleep!

What’s the scariest cup of tea you’ve ever had?

Let me know in the comments below!

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16 January 2013 - 17:27Battle the Flu with Tea

Flu season, and you’ve probably read, seems to be especially bad this year.

In fact, even your friendly neighborhood Tea Sommelier, whose tea-fueled, antioxidant-rich immune system is usually running strong and on all cylinders, caught the bug!

But having survived the ordeal, I have a few tea tips to help those still infected battle the bug:

Mr. InfluenzaAny Jewish mother will tell you that chicken soup is a practical cure-all, but studies have found that this is more than an old wives’ tale.  Hot chicken soup can improve the ability of cilia, the tiny hair-like parts of the nasal passages, to protect the body from bacteria and viruses.

And what, you may ask, to drink with your soup?

Tea, of course: not only it is chock-full of antioxidants, but breathing in the tea steam can help relieve congestion (not to mention the fact that you need to keep hydrated in general).

Tea is more beneficial than water in that it contains the aforementioned health benefits AND also because it is hot, which helps loosen secretions in the chest and sinuses, making them easier to expel and ultimately clearing up congestion.

Want a little extra relief?  Add a spoonful of honey to your tea to help soothe a sore throat. A squeeze of lemon to your tea can add an extra boost of vitamin C.  Or try peeling a piece of ginger root and adding to your favorite tea to help relieve stomach ache or nausea.

After your meal and drink, it is important to rest and let your body heal… please stay home, relax and catch up on your favorite tea blog!

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