Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Tea cocktails with special guest Beca of The Shrubbery!

Summer is such a good excuse for shaking, stirring, and otherwise mixing up tasty cocktails to cool you down. While I'm generally an "Irish whiskey, neat" kinda gal, the sunshine tends to make me super feisty. During the hot months I find myself craving salsa (both the food and the music), grilling with friends, hanging outside with my kiddo, and DEFINITELY a parade of fun cocktails.

The lovely Beca, owner and creator behind The Shrubbery, was way into the idea of coming over for a cocktail tutorial afternoon. Mixed drinks are not my area of expertise, so I was really amped to get some education on the subject. I infused the booze, picked up some assorted citrus at the store and eagerly awaited the arrival of my dear friend.

Ok, at this point I'm going to hit pause on the story of a delightful afternoon for those of you who don't know how to infuse spirits with tea. It's seriously easy, instantly makes cocktail hour more interesting and will absolutely make you seem way fancier than you maybe actually are. All you need to do is take any spirit, find a tea or tea blend with a complementing palate and infuse away! I use one tablespoon of any given leaf in a pint of whatever spirit I've paired it with, let it sit for about 12 hours and then strain the leaves out. Now we can make some fancypants tea cocktails!



So Beca showed up to my place with this amazing weird fur suitcase that strongly reminded me of the Monster Book of Monsters in Harry Potter. It turned out to be a fun little portable bar setup with a jogger and shaker and strainer and some bitters and some of her fabulous shrub. As previously stated, I don't really know a lot about inventing fun cocktails. Fortunately, Beca is a friggin pro and whipped up some super tasty concoctions like it was NBD. 

Ready? Let's drink.



#1: The Pemberly (a sophisticated twist on a classic Gin and Tonic)


In a glass with ice, just go ahead and throw in 2 oz. of gin infused with Darcy's Delight.
Stir a touch, then top with 3-4 oz. tonic water and garnish with lemon.

#2: The Bowler Hat (Gin. Earl Grey. Cold.)


Shake 1.5 oz. Earl Grey-infused gin, 1/2-3/4 oz. Lemon Lavender shrub and 3-4 dashes of Orleans bitters until well chilled.
Strain into a glass with one ice cube, garnish with orange peel.

#3: Captain Hammered (the weird stuff)



Smash the bajeebus out of 1/2 cup pineapple tidbits, 1/2 lime, 2 oz. Moroccan Mint white rum, 3-6 dashes of Firewater bitters (depending on spice tolerance/enjoyment).
Strain over ice, top with 3-4 oz. club soda.
Garnish with lime slice and booze-soaked pineapple.

#4: L'Amour Fou (straight up sinful)


In a shaker with ice, combine 3/4 oz. Apricot Cardamom shrub, 2 oz. Infatuation Blend-infused white rum, 3-4 dashes of orange bitters.
Shake until hella chill, then strain into a glass.



So there you have it! Any ideas for other tea-based cocktails you'd like to see? Any you've made that you'd like to share? Any of these you're planning to try yourself? Let us know!


Much Love,

Friday

 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

How does it taste? (Love)

As you probably know, I perceive the world with my taste buds. My dominant form of synesthesia is Lexical-Gustatory. This means I literally taste words, ideas, feelings, personalities, etc. The overwhelming majority of my blends are direct translations to leaf of the flavors my brain-mouth is experiencing. Today, I wanted to share with you the way I experience one particular flavor profile: Love.

To be specific, I'm talking totally bonkers, swept-up, overwhelming, skin-tingling passion. The kind of Love you feel when you find yourself clicking over and over and over with someone. The kind of Love that makes all the garbage and difficulty of the dating world worth it. The love you feel for family, close friends and pets is a different (though still yummy) flavor.



I'm particularly fixated on this tasty, tingly sensation because I'm right in the middle of it these days. For the last two months, I've been in the midst of a crazy whirlwind romance. It's been so good, and it just gets more delicious every day. This person has brought out of me of a whole range of flavors that I hadn't remembered how to taste for a long time. I love this Love and the gift of all these accompanying taste-bursts. 

So let me share them with you.

The thrill of making eye contact with your Love mainly occurs on the sides of the tongue and is bright and gingery with peppery notes. It only lasts for a moment, but is sharp and shivery.

The butterflies in the stomach when your Love smiles and their eyes light up fills the whole mouth and lingers for a long time. It's malty and spicy and reminiscent of bourbon and chai.

The sound of your Love laughing brings a texture as well as a taste. It pops across the molars and tastes like sour candies. Or sometimes like toasted almonds. It depends on the particular laugh.

The feel of your Love's mouth on yours is a deep, dark chocolate. It's rich and silky and undeniably addiction-inspiring. You know the kind of chocolate that makes your bones twinge with pleasure? That is the taste of your Love's kisses.

A true Love inspires all these flavors and more. I've approximated the spicy, musky, dark and deep flavor of this kind of passionate Love as closely as I can in my Infatuation Blend. Black tea, coconut, chocolate and spices. Of course, spices.

 Taste the Love


This is really just a shadow of the complex collection of feelings this person inspires (and I hope you all have a Person or People who makes you feel like this). This is the frustration of the synnie reality. At least, that's been my experience. I experience everything so vividly. Everything. There is nothing I feel, see, hear or think that doesn't elicit an intense flavor/texture perception. I wish so deeply that I could accurately share that with you all. I promise I'll keep doing my best to let you in on my world via words and flavors.


All my love,

Friday

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Making time for tea

Let's talk stress.

I don't know how many times a day I think or say or just blind-panic over the seemingly inescapable reality that I don't have enough time to stay on top of my life. Especially as an adult, and ESPECIALLY in the city, where everything feels so pricey and so fast-paced. I often let myself think I need to keep moving to survive. This shark/hummingbird mentality prevents me from enjoying my life more than I would care to admit. I recognize the importance of slowing down and recharging my batteries. I am an intelligent, capable woman with a firm grasp on the concept of self-care. In theory, anyway. In actual practice, here is what happens:

"Oh look, my to-do list is approaching Epic. Let's prioritize and go item-by-item until it is finished and I feel accomplished and totally in control of my life."
"Ok, first task is taking longer than I anticipated. No big deal, it's still early."
"Crap, I only have (insert time countdown here) and I'm not even halfway through my list."
*Focus and motivation begin to fluster-frazzle-fizzle*
"Shit. Allyn will be home from school in (insert time countdown here) and I still have so much to do."
"Ok, refocus. What can be pushed off until tomorrow? Yoga? Going for a run? Weekly healthy food prep? Taking a break to play with the dog? Painting? EVERY KIND OF SELF-CARE?" 

Absolutely. These are low priority compared to Getting Work Done. Every time. So pushing off the necessary slowing down becomes a daily habit, and before I know it I haven't gone for a run in months. Yoga? Forget it. My paints? Where even are they right now? All these things take up time and focus that I "can't" spare, so I end up burning out and not getting anything done anyway.



Is this familiar? I can't be the only one who gets locked into the frazzled, busy, high-octane life trap. 

I have, over the years, managed to find one act of self-care that is always there for me. One that I can always make time for. One that grounds and centers and resets me. My most efficient method for taking care of myself and getting back on track. Any guesses? I'll give you exactly one.

Surprising no one, the answer always comes back to tea. The simple, profoundly important act of brewing and drinking a cup of tea is my no-fail solution to overwhelm. Cranky tween? Crazy puppy? Internet has been down for a GODDAMN WEEK and Centurylink tech support is once again being totally useless? Yeah. Pardon me for ten minutes while I shrink my entire universe down to the exquisitely mundane ritual of drinking tea. I'll deal with all you suckers in a few.

By the way, this post took me three months to actually sit down and write. THREE MONTHS. I gotta go have a cup of tea now. I suggest you do the same.

Much love,

Friday