Most of us think of having a drink as some form of therapy, no? In prepping to write this post, I googled "drinking therapy quotes". I got about 944,000 results in 0.27 seconds. Some of them definitely made me smile, like the one the left. It's so true though, isn't it? There is simply something about a glass of wine (or other libation) and a good friend that makes life feel not so difficult, if only for an hour or so.
Now, I'm not a big drinker, nor do I advocate a bottle over real therapy, but I do enjoy a good drink. And if we can make it therapeutic, well, why the hell not?
One of the essentially simply syrups I made was a lovely blend of Rosemary and Wild Orange. This screamed tequila to me. And, oddly enough, tequila actually has some health benefits. Here are just a few:
1. Stimulate the appetite
2. Aid digestion
2. Break down dietary fat, which can help lower LDL levels, the bad cholesterol
3. Fructans, which tequila is derived from, actually supply probiotics
4. Prebiotic attributes of tequila help make the intestines a more friendly environment for healthy bacteria to thrive (source)
Rosemary and Wild Orange also have their own beneficial, therapeutic properties.
Rosemary has a really high antioxidant value. So what? Well, antioxidants are nutrients that minimize the disruptive power of free radicals. The word “antioxidant” itself means “against oxidation,” and oxidation is the phenomenon that begins the whole problem of free radicals. What's a free radical? They are reactive molecules within our body. The molecule becomes “free” and “radical” when, due to all kinds of potential stressors such as excessive exercise, sunlight, alcohol, radiation, smoking and other toxins, it gets an extra electron. Due to that extra electron, the molecule reacts with the molecules around it, producing other free radicals, which in turn produce even more free radicals.
This surge of free radicals can damage cell bodies, fats, proteins, and other molecular processes. The greater accumulation of free radicals and the fewer antioxidants in your body, the greater your risk may be of developing certain diseases like all types of cancer, diabetes, strokes, arthritis, atherosclerosis, macular degeneration, heart disease, MS, fibromyalgia, and more. Antioxidants combat this by unloading their extra electron molecule to the free radical molecule, preventing its toxicity. The chemical in rosemary primarily responsible for this is carnosol. In addition to being a rich antioxidant, carnosol is also known for its ability to reduce inflammation. Rosemary has also been known to improve memory, soothe digestion and relieve muscle aches and pains. (source) (source)
Wild Orange is most commonly used for digestive and immune support, mood management, as well as skin health. Because it is high in monoterpenes, it is a powerful cleanser and purifying agent, and supports the elimination toxins from the body, while stimulating the lymphatic system. Wild orange’s main constituent, limonene, has powerful anti-cancer activity, suggesting that this oil might be effective as an anti-cancer agent. It is also high in antioxidants, like Rosemary, and is incredibly uplifting to the mind and the body. (source)
I mean really, can we get a better cocktail than this? I think not!
Here's what you need to make a fantastic, therapeutic, Rosemary Wild Orange Margarita.
Try this at home and let me know what you think! I'd also love to hear your ideas for other uses for Rosemary Wild Orange simple syrup.
Anyone else out there a tea drinker? I bet everyone on my English side of the family has their hands up, or rather, their mugs. In England, when you order a cup of tea (or your eggs for that matter) you rarely get asked "what kind?" or "how do you like them?". You just get a cuppa. A steaming mug of English black tea, most likely with some milk on the side.
In the US, on the other hand, when you order eggs, you generally get asked how you like them. You also get asked, "white, wheat, rye, sourdough?" "whole milk, skim, or 2%?" and any other possible option you can image. And if you order tea, you often get to pick from a smorgasbord of choices, flavors, and caffeine levels!
Both methods are good, really. It's nice to have many options and select exactly what you're feeling like at the moment or like the best, but sometimes, it's overwhelming. I kinda like the simplicity of ordering in England and knowing exactly what I'm getting after making one decision. However, if you look at my kitchen, and my tea selection, you'll see I'm more prone to lots of choices ;)
And who knew that tea could make a great cocktail?
Now, before we get into how to make this tea-based cocktail, we need to take a look at Earl Grey tea. Earl Grey has been around for a long time. Since the 1820s, tea flavored with bergamot has been known in England. The initial goal was to imitate the more expensive types of Chinese tea. The Earl Grey blend, or "Earl Grey's Mixture", is assumed to be named after Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey and British Prime Minister in the 1830s. Earl Grey, as applied to tea, is not a registered trademark. Numerous tea companies produce their own versions of Earl Grey tea, using a wide variety of tea leaves and additives. You might have tried or be familiar with Lady Grey, London Fog, or French Earl Grey, which are made with a traditional black tea blend. But now, as more varieties of tea such as green or rooibos are becoming more popular, Earl Grey blends are being made with these are well. (source)
I have always tended to purchase it, and love this blend by Numi. You know what Ioved about it though? The citrus hint. That amazing oil of bergamot. And as I was looking at my essential oils, my eyes fell upon my bottle of bergamot and I thought, can I make my own Earl Grey with any black tea? The answer to that is yes, but that's not the point of this post.
The point of this post is cocktail hour...
or tea time...
I mentioned in a previous post how I was experimenting with making essentially simple syrups, and this cocktail was the perfect one to pull out my Lavender Lemon simple syrup. These two oils meld so well with the herbal-citrus Earl Grey. So tonight, I brewed myself a cup, pulled out the Tanqueray and my shaker, and got to work! This is a perfect cocktail for a smooth, easy-drinking summer evening. Think of it as adult ice tea, but above and beyond anything from long island!
In a shaker, combine ice cubes, tea, gin simple syrup and one drop bergamot essential oil. Shake to integrate and chill. Pour over fresh ice. Garnish with lemon rind. Sit outside somewhere with good friend and great music and enjoy!
Have you tried a tea-based cocktail? I'd love to hear your recipe! Share a comment!
Do you ever one of those experiences that just makes you melt? Like something so yummy you close your eyes and savor it on your tongue? Or maybe a sunset so spectacular your heart feels like you can't fit any more in it? Or when your child out of the blue says something so sweet and endearing you think, could I be anymore blessed?
Did I get a little syrupy sweet on you there?
That's okay, because this post is all about simple syrup and some DELICIOUSNESS you cannot pass up.
A few weeks ago, when our house was filled with grandparents and they outnumbered our children, they were ever so kind. They offered to take care of our little bird and our stinker belle while we could...
go away for a few days!
If you have littles and you haven't had yet this opportunity, then you understand the preciousness of it. It's like a rare gem, especially if you don't live close to your family, as in our case. Now, our youngest is closing in on 22 months and, in all that time, I had been away for a full day, at best. Needless to say, this was a long time in coming and we weren't going to say no. It was more like HELL YEAH!
We're very fortunate to have some great friends here who invited us to check out Crested Butte. For those of you who've been there, I bet a big smile just came over your face. If you haven't been, please, please visit, google it, get there vicariously, or just get there. It's gorgeous. Breathtaking in fact. The drive there ain't so bad either. We left about 5:30 am and, after driving over an icy, precarious Monrach Pass so slowly we probably pissed off other drivers, and stopping for brunch in Gunnison on the main drag, which is ridiculously adorable, we made it Crested Butte around 11-11:30. Long drive, brilliant sunrise, bitter cold, icy roads, so worth it.
If that doesn't make you itchy to visit, check out the quaint downtown.
Yes, people really do ride their bikes around in the snow. Just like Minneapolis/St. Paul. They pop on fat snow tires (sometimes) and just go on their merry way. And really, everybody is pretty merry. Whether it's the beauty that surrounds them, a day of skiing or snowboarding on the mountains that invigorates them, or the myriad gastronomic choices available to them in this small town, everyone is in a good mood. Can't beat that.
We hadn't been snowboarding since before our little bird was born, so we were a wee bit hesitant of going all day and then waking up unable to move the next. Been there before! Instead, we snowboarded one day, then took a "break" by getting in some cross-country skiing and exploring the downtown. There we were led by our good friend to this little gem.
Montanya Rum is a distillery that also offers free rum tastings, distillery tours, artisan cocktails, appetizers and small plates, bottles of rum, and more. They are small and cozy, which I love, and even have a kids nook upstairs, and a kid specialty called the Snowball, essentially a glass full of whipped cream!
They also have amazing mixed drinks.
Now, normally I'm not a big rum drinker. I prefer whiskey over rum any day. But this drink had me at namaste. It's called a Maharaja and yes, it is fit for a king, or queen in this instance. It's complex, with both a brightness and depth I couldn't believe, but kept rolling over my tongue with closed eyes, basking in all its yumminess. As we enjoyed our drinks and well-earned tapas after a good effort alpine skiing, I kept thinking in my head how I could make this luciousness at home.
I think I figured it out.
And so I bring to you the Maharani, the female equivalent. Ready to feel royal?
Recipe adapted from montanyarum.com
To make the syrup
Dry roast your peppercorns in a small pot until they start to release their aroma. Then add water and sugar to peppercorns. Stir on medium-high heat until sugar is completely dissolved. Transfer to a small bowl or back to your glass measuring cup and let it steep to release the full, smoky flavor of the peppercorns, about 30 minutes. Then, using a strainer, pour your syrup through the catch the peppercorns. It should have a nice golden color.
Once the peppery syrup is cool you can add in your drops of essential oils and a small pinch (less than 1/4 tsp) of fine salt. To get less than a drop of essential oil from the bottle, insert a toothpick into the dropper and swirl the toothpick into your syrup. Stir, transfer to glass container, store in the fridge.
To make your Maharani:
Want to get super fancy? Mix together turbinado sugar, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice or other favorite spice, wet the rim of your glass and swirl. Isn't she pretty? And oh my gosh, she is so freaking tasty it'll knock your socks off.
So, now you've got this amazing essential simple syrup. What else can you do with it? Here are five more ideas for you!
**I also found that you can substitute Stevia for sugar if you are on the sugar-free road. To make sugar-free Maharani syrup boil 2 cups water, add 1/4 cup (20-25 packets), simmer until dissovled and let cool before adding your oils.
I'm going to be launching a line of Essentially Simple Syrups (in sugar-free options, too!) in the next few weeks. As I perfect the syrups, sample drinks, compile recipes, and create labels, I'll add them to my shopping cart above. You'll be able to purchase and have them shipped, along with a recipe card. I'm super excited about this new endeavor and hope you'll enjoy them all!