Filed under: Drinks
My punk ass brother came up with a cocktail for the restaurant menu, and his outsells mine 10 to 1! To be honest though, it’s a really good drink and I wouldn’t drink my namesake, the Sweet Natira, either. In celebration of the Kentucky Derby this weekend (my dad is so excited) I thought you might enjoy a new take on the classic cocktail.
Thani’s concoction uses Thai Basil instead of mint and St. Germaine instead of sugar. Over the years I’ve played with the proportions and the type of whiskey used. The classic calls for bourbon (distilled from corn), but I prefer rye because it is drier and more expressive than bourbons which tend to be sweeter. Since we’re adding a sweet and floral note with the St. Germaine I have found the rye to be a better pairing.
4-5 Thai Basil leaves
2 1/2 oz. rye whiskey
1/2 oz. St. Germaine elderflower liqueur
In a chilled cup, muddle the Thai Basil leaves, bruising them to release their fragrance. Fill the cup with crushed ice, add the whiskey and St. Germaine, then top with soda water. Garnish with a basil leaf.
(For the ice just place ice cubes in a bag or towel and smack it around on the sidewalk, no need to make a special trip.)
Sip and enjoy!
One of a few teas I drink everyday I rely on Tulsi for it’s stress relieving and antioxidant properties. It’s also referred to as Holy Basil, but the Tulsi herb has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries to promote balance and well-being. I usually have a pot after matcha or green tea, and before I head to work. I swear it helps make the commute easier and helps set the tone for the rest of my night at work. I also love it because it can take high heat, so the water doesn’t need to be tempered like with green teas. Just boil water, steep for 8-10 minutes and you’re set.
Organic India is, of course, organic and practices sustainable farming and harvesting methods and is GMO-free. (They even preserve seeds.) You can find it at most grocery stores but you can also find it online quite easily. If the hectic pace of life is starting to get to you try sipping some Tulsi. It will help you relax and make you happy.
Filed under: Drinks
Have you ever had one of these Fentiman’s sodas? I hadn’t bought a soda in years but decided to give these guys a go when we spotted their line of flavors. Using slightly updated traditional methods (less fermentation than was historically used, with the addition of mild carbonation) the sodas are flavored with brewed herbs and roots. It’s also great that the company is still family owned…that always makes me happy.
The Ginger Beer packs a big punch (and it’s awesome) and there’s just something special about drinking the Cherry Tree, a proper cola flavored with herbs. The Dandelion & Burdock soda has the most interesting earthy and slightly spicy flavor, and it’s great spiked with a shot of rye or whiskey! Since my soda sweetness tolerance has waned over the years I often like to add a bit of sparkling mineral water to take off a bit of the sweetness, but most people wouldn’t likely notice.
There are a few other drinks to try in their line, and I’m excited to give the rose lemonade a go. Check out the craft soda aisle at your grocery store. For fellow Seattleites I got these at Central Co-op (Madison Market) but I bet Whole Foods has them too.
Filed under: Drinks
Yes, it’s true. This is not a sparkling wine post. On a trip to Uwajimaya, on an innocent turn down the sake isle we decided to branch out and play with something new. But let me just say that drinking sake is nothing like drinking bubbly. Or maybe I should say that the pace in which one drinks bubbly should not be the pace that one drinks sake. I found this out the hard way and ended up going to bed at 8:30…on a Saturday. I was, however, able to salvage our night by getting up again at 10:30 and enjoying a lovely dinner with Andrew.
I blame the fact that like those first two glasses of bubbly, this Kurosawa sake was especially easy to drink and is the perfect intro to sake (and I am admittedly in the intro camp). It comes from the Nagano prefecture and means black river. It is brewed using the kimoto method which is considered rare even by Japanese standards as the hands-on method requires a meticulous eye and process.
The Kurosawa has a perfectly smooth texture and viscosity (not syrupy!), and a quality and taste like cocoa butter. In the most complimentary way possible it smells of tootsie rolls, and the finish tastes of toasted coconut, banana, and a hint of chrysanthemum. Surprisingly no fruit notes. Even with all of these tastes of sweet it is quite dry. I prefer my sake chilled, but many prefer this just reaching room temp.
Kurosawa Sake, $20 online here or at Uwajimaya in Seattle.
Filed under: Drinks
I swear there must be endorphins in bubbles because I can’t ever seem to get enough in any form, wine or mineral water (not that this is a surprise to many of you). So when conventional sodas became too sweet for me I started coming up with ways to get a soda fix without the sugar and other junk. This is the easiest way to make your own concoction, no measurements just quick-and-dirty pour to taste. (Do try not to go too heavy on the maple syrup though.)
Lemon Maple Soda
- 1/2 lemon, squeezed
- maple syrup, to taste
- naturally sparkling mineral water
I love the taste of the maple with the lemon, and sometimes I’ll even add a pinch of cayenne pepper. Kind of Master Cleanse-esque without the 10-day timeline. (So not good for you, by the way.) The great thing about this is that I can also drink it during detox to help curb my sweet and bubbly cravings.
Grab all of these ingredients at Trader Joe’s too. Their bags of organic lemons and their organic maple syrup are perfect.
I’ve never been an egg nog kind of gal but I’ve always felt a little lonely without it during the holidays. There’s something so wonderfully festive about a richly coated glass of boozy, milky goodness. Thankfully this season I happened upon this vintage concoction (but still a southern favorite) and was immediately giddy, I mean with a name like Milk Punch how could you not get excited?
In the most non-alcoholic way possible I must admit we’ve been enjoying this on our weekend mornings while still in our pajamas. There are many a variation out there, and of course heritage recipes are always being rediscovered and reinterpreted, but after playing with proportions I’ve included our favorite here, for two. It’s really easy to size up though, so if you’re thinking holiday get-together I’ve seen recipes where you’ll whisk instead of shake. (In this case you’d get to serve it in a fancy punch bowl too!)
I used organic raw whole milk and half & half, but there are recipes where cream is used. Ultimately you’ll want more than one, there’s no need to make it richer with cream…I’d say start here and go the cream route later if you wish.
Milk Punch for Two
- 3 oz. organic whole milk
- 3 0z. organic half & half
- 2 oz. bourbon or brandy
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. superfine sugar
- freshly grated nutmeg (to top only)
Add all of the ingredients (except the nutmeg) with ice in a shaker and shake vigorously until sugar is dissolved and a nice this foam is made. Strain into two small glasses. Grate fresh nutmeg on top of each. Sip and enjoy!
This isn’t just a holiday tea, in fact Douglas Fir tips are usually harvested in the spring when they’re young and tender, but there’s something so undeniably festive about enjoying this tea now. If you geek out over the smell of a freshly cut Christmas tree, then you’ll probably die from pure bliss when you get your hands on this stuff.
Don’t worry, it doesn’t taste like a tree; instead it’s very light and clean with aromatics that smell like the sweet notes of a forest. Simply put, it’s one of the most lovely and comforting teas I have ever sipped. And since the tips are harvested from Pacific Northwest tress, every Seattleite should be drinking it.
Tea for two:
3 to 4 cups boiling water (depending on how concentrated you’d like it), two tea bags. Steep for 10 minutes.
Get it from the makers at Juniper Ridge. 20 unbleached tea bags per tin, $12.
Please, please, please…if you do one thing this season be sure to steep yourself a cup of this amazing tea.
As much as I love a nice cold glass of bubbly, and as often as I sneak it into lunches/dinner/just because, I really should be sharing my favorites here more often. I’m not a connoisseur in any way, but I do have strong opinions about what I like and why. So here we go…
This is my other favorite bubbly, next to the Rose d’Orfeuilles that I posted before. This is the François Pinon Vouvray Brut Petillant Non-Dose, but we just call it Vouvray. Tart, but not sour, this chenin blanc grape wine has a lovely minerality but also hints of citrus rind and honey. And perhaps my favorite feature, the beading (bubbles, effervescence, etc.) is off the charts amazing and endorphin-inducing. It is pure elegance.
This is an organically grown and harvested wine, but another really cool feature is that new plantings are selected from the farm and not from a nursery, so the genetic make-up of the vines remains consistent from year to year. Also, the Non-Dose means that there is no sugar added during fermentations or during bottling.
One really important thing to note I realized just last night when we did a little experiment. This particular wine is best served in a flute and NOT A COUPE! As much as I love my coupes, only the flute is able to maintain the elegant beading of this wine. With the wide surface area of the coupe the effervescence is lost and the taste profile changes so quickly. Trust me and stick to the flute.
I’ve never quite understood the whole coaster thing; perhaps because I eat dinner at my coffee table where there are no rules as to what can be placed atop, or because I love my linen cocktail napkins. So really what it comes down to is that I have never had a need for a coaster set. But then I saw these referred to as trivets and that was something I could understand. And what perfect timing as my guy and I were just talking about looking for a trivet. This is probably not what he had in mind but perhaps I can sneak a couple into the kitchen anyway. They range between 5-6″ so as a single it’s perfect for my teapot or his Chemex coffee, or for larger pieces a few of them might be needed. From Leif $20 each.
Quick and easy berry soda
I’ve been going berry crazy at the farmer’s market the past few weekends, but with our extra warm weather they barely last the ride home. I needed a quick and dirty way to enjoy them after they were slightly past their prime– and by that I mean the very next day. You could boil them down, make a syrup, strain it, blah, blah, but I like the big bits of fresh berries and seeds. If you’re really not into the seeds you could strain them I suppose, but this really is a one jar kinda deal.
The touch of rose water adds a lightly fragrant note to the berries, but be careful not to add too much! Just a few drops is perfect. It’s worth having as a pantry staple, but if you don’t have it don’t worry, it’s not necessary.
1. All you’ll need: ice, berries, honey, rose water, soda water
2. Add the berries, spoonful of honey, and a few drops of rose water to a mason jar
3. Muddle, add the ice and soda water. Sip.