Warming Christmas Tea

25 11 2009

You can buy many different Christmas Tea blends, but sometimes it’s just much nicer and more fun to make it yourself – and it’s also very easy! Christmas teas usually contain a lot of warming and aromatic spices, because these are the things that remind us of christmas most. However, there are no set rules of how much and what exact ingredients you should use – you are free to use your imagination and improvise.

Below you can find some suggestions on how to get started with your tea and some ideas for creating your own blend

Basic Ingredients

  • Black tea (ceylon and assam work great, you can use other tea types, however black is the classic version)
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Cardamon
  • Sugar

Optional Ingredients

  • Red wine or brandy
  • Cranberry Juice
  • Lemon Juice
  • Lemon or orange zest
  • Apple pieces

I don’t recommend adding all these ingredients listed above into your tea, you should try your way and see what works best, or what is most suiting for the current mood.

Usually you start with the basic ingredients – use a pan to bring water to a boil along with the ingredients, make sure the sugar dissolves completely. Change to medium heat and add remaining ingredients from the optional list. Cook for a while to bring out the aroma of the ingredients and then you’re ready to serve your home-made, hot Christmas Tea!


Moteato Time

8 08 2009

Most of us recognize or have tried the famous Cuban drink Mojito. The combination of rum, sugar, lime, sparkling water, ice and mint leaves gives this drink a refreshing quality that is perfect for summer. For many tea drinkers Southern Sweet Tea is the summertime drink of choice, but what if we want something… with a kick?

There is a new drink variation of Mojito – a Moteato which uses the popular Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka as a base. Except for the vodka this recipe uses conventional Mojito ingredients – lime juice, soda water, mint leaves and alternately white rum. Here is what you’ll need:


1.5 oz. Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka
1 oz. White Rum
7 Mint Leaves
1 tsp. of sugar
1 Lime
Soda water


1. Muddle mint leaves with sugar, lime juice and little bit of soda until the sugar dissolves and the mint aroma intensifies.
2. Add ice, Firefly Vodka and Rum and shake everything together.
3. Pour over ice into a highball glass and top with soda. Garnish with a mint spring and enjoy!

Basil Tea and Tulsi Chai

16 07 2009

Yes! Just like peppermint, you can use basil leaves to prepare a tea and it’s just as good! Surprisingly basil tea is smells very much like chai – it has that sweet, cleansing cinnamon aroma, a pale liquor and a refreshing taste. In India this tea is called Tulsi Chai and it’s not only very popular, but also part of a long tradition of tea drinking.

You can prepare it in various ways, but first you need 10-15 fresh basil leaves. You cut off the stems, pour boiling water over them and let steep for 5-10 minutes. Optionally you can boil the leaves along with water in a small pan. If you want something more exciting you can also make a camellia sinensis-basil tea. First bring the water and basil leaves to a rolling boil, lower the heat and let them steep for 3-4 minutes. Then put the heat back up and add some camellia sinensis leaves. If it’s a green tea you don’t have to boil it, but if it’s a black tea you want to steep it in a higher temperature. Now that the tea is done, you can add some sugar or lemon to taste. Adding milk for this tea is not recommended.

Generally, there is no set way of preparation and you can do whatever works best. There are many tea vendors that offer ready-made Tulsi Chai, that you just buy and infuse like regular tea. Some of the benefits of drinking basil tea is improved digestion and cardiovascular system, it contains vitamins K, A and C as well as calcium and iron. It is is perfect along with nay kind of meal, and it can be served to persons of any age.


Making your own Moroccan Mint

2 03 2009

Most of us are already familiar with Moroccan Mint in dry form, often also called Touareg. Touareg is however a special tea drink prepared in African and Arabian countries and has a great significance in the Moroccan culture. It is a sign of hospitality, friendship and tradition,served to guests in a ceremonial way.

In order to prepare Morrocoan Mint Tea Drink you will need Gunpowder (a Chinese green tea of smoky character, rolled into small pellets resembling gunpowder), fresh mint leaves and sugar. Additional flavorings can sometimes be added added, like lemon or ginger for instance. The amounts you use are a matter of individual preference, but as a good rule you should count one teaspoon of Gunpowder per glass. In traditional Moroccan Mint there is quite a lot of sugar added even 5 cubes, so don’t be shy with the sugar, as this drink is meant to be very sweet. Like with all drinks however, you should experiment with ingredients according to individual taste.

How it’s done

  1. Boil some water and pour some into the empty pot, swish the water around, so that the pot gets warm, then pour the water out 
  2. Put the tea, mint leaves and sugar (preferably plain white sugar) directly into the pot or infuser
  3. Let it steep for about 3 minutes
  4. Pour tea into one glass and then pour it back into the pot. You can repeat this several times in order to evenly distribute sugar and flavor
  5. Fill the cups, by pouring the tea from high up. this will create foam on top of the drink
  6. Garnish drink with some mint leaves or a optionally a lemon slice

Traditionally the tea is prepared by the host or hostess who sits in from of a tray with two pots and decorative glasses, as well as the ingredients for the tea. The pots are rinsed with hot water and then tea leaves are added to each pot. The leaves are also rinsed the same way and water is poured out. The host then adds mint and sugar and lets the tea steep for several minutes, after which he stirs the tea making sure that the flavor is evenly mixed.  He then pours the tea simultaneously from both pots from a height of 30 cm or more into the guests’ glasses and fills them halfway. The host adds some more ingredients for the next cups. The second serving is the most famous for its sweetness and intense flavors. The guests should drink at least 3 glasses of Moroccan Mint.



Ginger Tea

8 01 2009

If you like homemade remedies and herbal medicine ginger tea is perfect for fighting colds, flu and improving digestion. It also kills the bacteria in your mouth and throat, thus helps the sore throat. Ginger is a very aromatic and spicy root and the tea you make of it will also have those qualities, so if you don’t like spicy things, you should try to experiment which how much ginger you need for a milder taste. Ginger tea is available to buy in powder-form as a ginger drink, but it’s even easier to make it yourself with fresh ingredients. All you need is ginger root and boiling water, optionally honey and fruit juice.

How to prepare

1. Cut off a a 2 cm piece of ginger from the ginger root and cut it up into thin slices. The thiner the slices the better because it will be easier for the water to penetrate the ginger, as it is quite solid. 

2. Put the slices in a mug and pour over boiling water

3 Optionally you can add honey which makes the tea taste nicer and less harsh. If you’re making ginger tea to fight a cold you can also add fresh lemon juice or otherwise any juice you prefer to add some flavor.

London Fog

27 12 2008

London Fog is a tea drink or tea latte first invented in Vancouver, Canada. This beverage also known as Vanilla Tea Misto or just Earl Grey Tea Misto consists of Earl Grey tea, milk and vanilla syrup. Originally London Fog was made with Peppermint Tea in 2006. Other variations of London Fog are Manchester Fog (with soy milk instead of regular milk and sugar-free syrup) and Seattle Fog also known as No Wang’s Special (with soy, water, vanilla and hazelnut syrup). There are places that make London Fog (for example Starbucks) but it’s usually an off-menu item and you have to ask for it.

How to make London Fog?

To make one glass you will need one bag of Earl Grey or the equivalent of loose leaf tea, enough to make a fairly strong essence which will still have a rich flavor after mixing with milk. You also need about 450ml of heated milk, preferably steamed milk if you have access to a steamer and a shot of vanilla syrup.

1. First you have to make a small amount of tea to make an essence, you can add 125ml of boiling water to the tea bag, leaving it to steep for 3-4min

2. You add heated milk/steamed milk to the Earl Grey essence

3. Add vanilla syrup according to taste

Hong Kong-style Milk Tea

12 11 2008

The British rule over Hong Kong has certainly affected and influenced the way Chinese drink tea today as one of the most popular beverages there is the Hong Kong-style milk tea also known as Dai Pai Dong milk tea. This tea is very similar the the Afternoon Tea – it conststs of a bland of black teas, milk and sugar. The major difference is that Hong Knog-style tea uses evaporated milk instead of regular milk and is prepared with loose leaf tea instead of tea bags. The leaves are infused though a sock-shaped cloth which makes the tea smoother and gives in a more intense, full bodied flavor.

The Chinese refer to this tea simply as “Milk Tea” and less commonly as “Silk Stocking Milk Tea” or “Pantyhose Milk Tea” because of the filter’s resemblance to stockings.

In the video below you can see how the same water is being infused though the filter several time to create a a strong and flavorul Hong Kong-style Milk Tea.