Category: Beverages

Old-Fashioned Homemade Lemonade

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We’ve had some hot, sweltering days this summer – high temps accompanied with high humidity. A tall, ice-cold glass of Old-Fashioned Homemade Lemonade is always a welcome treat, especially on days like these.

This recipe is based on my memory of how Mom made lemonade when I was a kid. I remember her using both freshly-squeezed lemon and orange juice. While I like my lemonade tart with just a hint of sweetness, the small addition of orange juice calms the absolute tartness of the lemons just enough to make this summer refresher delicious and thirst quenching.

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Use simple syrup to make the lemonade – no worries about sugar residue on the bottom of the glass. Make up batches and keep in the refrigerator to have on hand to sweeten all your summer drinks – iced tea, iced coffee, and lemonade.

Watch the video here.

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Old-Fashioned Homemade Lemonade

Quick and easy to make, old-fashioned homemade lemonade is a refreshing pick-me-up on those tropical summer days.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 1/2 gallon
  • Category: Beverages

Ingredients

2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
¾ cup simple syrup
Cold water and ice

Garnish

Lemon and/or orange slices, seeded

 

 

 

Instructions

Combine the juices and simple syrup.

Add ice and cold water, stir to blend.

Serve over ice in a tall glass.

Keywords: iced beverage, lemonade, iced drinks

Simple Syrup

simple syrup

Simple syrup is equal parts sugar and water melted over high heat. Make a batch and keep on hand to sweeten iced tea, lemonade, iced coffee or any specialty cocktail. It’s also a key component to making a sorbet or granita.

Simple syrups have a decent shelf life. Keep refrigerated in a sealed container for a several weeks. If mold forms on an older syrup, just like jams and jellies; discard immediately.

simple syrup

A rich simple syrup is double the amount of sugar to water (a ratio of 2:1). The increased amount of sugar increases the preservation and this syrup lasts up to six months refrigerated in a sealed container.

Use a small syrup container, similar to what you see in a diner, and keep it on a small plate to prevent any drips from forming on your table or refrigerator. Here’s a nice selection from Amazon.

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Simple Syrup

Simple syrup is quick and easy to make and has multiple uses, like iced drinks, cocktails, sorbets and granitas.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients

Syrup

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup cold water

Rich Simple Syrup

2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup cold water

Instructions

Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Once the sugar is dissolved, set aside to cool. Pour into a covered container and refrigerate.

Syrup lasts several weeks and rich simple syrup up to 6 months.

Notes

Discard if any mold appears on the surface of the simple syrup.

Keywords: simple syrup

Mocha Espresso – Hot and Iced

glass chocolate milk and a pull of espresso

I’m not a big flavored coffee drink lover. But, I have to admit that anything “mocha” is very appealing as chocolate and coffee are such delicious companions. When we were making the video for Mocha Espresso, it seemed logical to also make an iced version, too.

chopped chocolate

Mocha espresso is simply, chocolate milk and espresso! What makes it super delicious, however, is melting very good, dark chocolate in hot milk until very smooth and then combining it with espresso. Hot or cold it’s a decadent treat!

glass of iced mocha espresso with whipped cream and a straw

Want to make an adult version? Add a shot of coffee liqueur!

Enjoy either hot or cold with a slice of Pumpkin Chocolate Coffee Cake!

Watch the Mocha Espresso video here and the iced version here.

Iced Tea Concentrate

Iced Tea Concentrate

This Iced Tea Concentrate whips up a 1/2 gallon of iced tea in minutes. Make a few batches and refrigerate the concentrate in a Mason jar or other lidded container and use by the cupful to make a ½ gallon batch at a time.

This method is great for unexpected company or large parties. The iced tea concentrate doesn’t take much room in the refrigerator and making additional pitchers takes seconds.

How to Make the Concentrate

Place 1/4 cup loose tea or 4 tea bags in a one-cup measuring jar and pour boiling water to cover. Steep for 4 minutes. Fill a pitcher 1/3 full of ice, pour the tea concentrate over the ice, and fill with cold water. Optional garnish: lemon slices.

Iced Tea Concentrate

There are so many teas to choose from, you’ll never run out of different flavors to experiment with. Also, you can use decaffeinated regular and herbal tea varieties.

Serve simple syrup on the side to allow guests to sweeten, or not, to their taste. Lemon slices or muddled mint can be added for additional flavor.

Iced Tea Concentrate

Be sure to check our our informative tea tasting blogs – green tea and black tea.

Watch the Iced Tea Concentrate video here.
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Iced Tea Concentrate

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 1/2 gallon
  • Category: Beverages

Ingredients

¼ cup loose tea
1 cup boiling water

Garnish

Lemon slices, seeded
Muddled mint leaves

 

Instructions

Place the tea or tea bags in a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Pour 1 cup boiling water over and let steep 4 minutes.

Strain in a ½ gallon pitcher filled with ice. Press down with the back of a tablespoon to extract all the tea.

Add cold water to fill.

 

Notes

Serve with simple syrup to allow each guest sweeten, or not, to their taste. Simply place a cup or two of sugar in a small sauce with 1/2 cup cold water. Bring to a boil and cook until the sugar is completely dissolved. Cool and store in a covered container in the refrigerator. Last several weeks.

Green Tea Primer

Goldsmith Teas

 

Will Wertheim, the son of my dear friends Carol and Les, took an unexpected path when he branched out into the study of tea after finishing college majoring in environmental science. Will began studying with tea master Michael Wong of China Town in 2010. He went on to work at Chelsea Market & Tea, helped open the Harney & Son’s New York store, and was a wholesale rep for Ito En, a Japanese tea company. Will decided to go into the tea business and created an online site to sell fine teas  Therein the founding of, Goldsmith Teas, named after his maternal grandparents. Will now lives in Brooklyn and travels the world in search of excellent teas.

How to Brew Hot Tea

Here’s a primer on properly brewing tea. Temperature is important to a well-brewed cup of tea. Bring the water to a boil, pour a cupful and let the water cool slightly to 208ºF for black teas, slightly more, 195ºF, for oolong teas and 175ºF for green teas, before infusing. Will suggests using an unbleached tea filter for brewing, such as these sold by arborteas.com. Measure the tea, fill the tea filter and steep, also known as the “agony of the leaf,” for 30 to 60 seconds for most green teas; a longer brew adds caffeine, not flavor. Steep black teas for three to five minutes; longer brewing only increases unpleasant tannins.

Will recommends reinfusing the same tea filter two or three times. Though the tea may not be as strong,  good flavor remains.

Two Methods to Brew Iced Tea

Hot Brewed Iced Tea

Brew the teas as instructed above doubling the amount of tea to two ounces for every eight ounces of water and then pour over ice.

Cold Brewed Iced Tea

Use one heaping teaspoon for every eight ounces of cold water and let sit eight hours.

Green Tea Tasting

Tea #1 Jade Oolong

Oolong teas originated in China and are also grown in Taiwan. Will purchased this batch of tea leaves while on tour directly from the Taiwanese farmer!

Once the tea is harvested it’s left one day to wither, but not dry. The leaves must retain moisture as each leaf is raveled and unraveled up to 30 times. Notice how finely the leaves are raveled and rolled into these small balls. Each infusion, continues to unfurl the leaves.

Goldsmith Teas

Will used a Yixing Pottery teapot to brew the Jade Oolong, which contributes flavor to the tea.

Goldsmith Teas

He placed the tea leaves in the pot, poured hot water into the pitcher and let it sit for to cool slightly before adding to the pot and let it brew for 30 seconds.

Goldsmith Teas

The first thing I noticed was an aroma I didn’t immediately recognize. After a couple of sips and a few more sniffs, I finally identified a clove-like flavor with a slight tongue numbing effect. The tea is grown at the top of mountains with lots of cloud coverage and lack of sunshine and the struggle for sunshine produces more chlorophyll and polyphenols resulting in the numbing sensation.

This is the tealeaf after the first steeping; the leaf is unrolled, but still raveled.

Goldsmith Teas

Will opened the leaf for viewing (those are Mom Carol’s scrumptious orange butter cookies in the corner).

Goldsmith Teas

The Jade Oolong was brewed four separate times, the clove aroma faded quickly, but the numbing quality was still apparent.

Goldsmith Teas

(On the bottom is the tealeaf before brewing, right above, the first brew and
above that the second brew – notice how the leaf has expanded.)

The fourth and final brew was tannic, something that doesn’t appeal to me, but look at how the tealeaves have completely opened.

Goldsmith Teas

Jade Oolong speeds up your metabolism and creates a “tea drunk” affecting both the mind and the body. Drink enough and you reach a meditative state of awareness and tranquility. Too much, however, can upset the stomach. A little nosh with the Jade Oolong is recommended. Those cookies did the trick!

Tea #2 Amber Oolong

This green tea is briefly fired, which “singes” the edges of the leaf but doesn’t completely dry the tea. The firing creates the Maillard Reaction, a reaction caused by the heating process and the reaction of the sugar and amino acids in the leaves. The easiest way to describe this reaction is to think of the color and flavor created when you toast bread.

Goldsmith Teas

(Bottom leaf is Jade Oolong. Top leaf is Amber Oolong –
notice the slightly browned edges.)

The firing process gives the tea an earthier taste than the Jade Oolong (same tea leaves, just a different treatment). This tea also creates a numbness of the tongue due to the same growing conditions. Will uses a Gaiwan pot to make the Amber Oolong.

Goldsmith Teas

After a couple of infusions, there was an interesting caramel flavor, brought on by the Maillard Reaction, and slightly floral aroma in the bottom of the empty cup.

Tea #3 Jasmine Pearl

This tea is from China and is rolled into pretty little orbs of green and white. The stems and buds, the white portion of the tea plant, are included. The harvested tea leaves are placed on a shirt lined with jasmine petals and rolled to infuse the jasmine perfume into the leaves. The jasmine petals are then removed; the remaining pollen contributes added flavor.

Goldsmith Teas

Brew for three minutes. The first infusion is very fragrant and the jasmine taste is strong. With multiple infusions, the color of the water gets lighter but the jasmine flavor is still apparent.

Goldsmith Teas

We had a lovely and informative two-hour tasting party. It was a pleasure to talk with Will about tea. He’s very passionate and knowledgeable about the topic.

Contact Will at: http://goldsmithteas.com/contact/

Goldsmith Teas

The Celery Martini

Celery Martini

I started out drinking rye because that’s what my Dad taught me. On my 18th birthday (yes, this goes way back to when 18 was the legal drinking age) he poured me a Philadelphia on the rocks. Over the
years I graduated to VO, VVO and then Crown Royal. If Crown Royal wasn’t available I’d settle for Jack Daniels. I never acquired a taste for scotch, though Jack Daniels is pretty close to that flavor profile, in my opinion. Several years ago I was introduced to Maker’s Mark by a friend and that was added to my thin repertoire of whiskeys.

My daughter introduced me to the Dirty Vodka Martini. Unlike drinking whiskey neat or on the rocks, having a mixed cocktail can vary from bartender to bartender. I’ve learned to make my own: two ounces vodka, one and one-half ounces olive juice, shaken with ice and then poured neat into a glass with three olives. I always request three olives.

There is nothing quite like a soused olive. I don’t care for gin, but if a friend has a martini made with gin and doesn’t eat the olives, I’ll take them. MMMM, soused olives!

The Celery Martini seemed like a great idea – celery and olives are delicious together. A juicer is the easiest way to get the celery juice. If you don’t have one, use a food processor and puree the celery to smithereens and then dump it into cheesecloth over a bowl, wrap it up tight and squeeze until dry. These four stalks made six ounces celery juice (in the juicer0; enough for three martinis.

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The vibrant green color is a bit startling, but the flavor is distinctly celery without any bitterness. Very clean and refreshing. I was tempted to add a little olive juice to the mix, but then realized that the speared olives would add a pleasing saltiness as needed. And isn’t that Nick and Nora martini glass just adorable!!

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Cheers!

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Celery Martini

martini

A refreshing and pretty cocktail. Add the olives, plain or stuffed, for a bit of saltiness.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Total Time: 5 mins
  • Yield: 1 four-ounce drink
  • Category: Beverage

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 2 ounces celery juice
  • 3 pitted olives, stuffed or plain

Instructions

  1. Place four ice cubes in a martini shaker, add the vodka and celery juice. Shake and pour over the speared olives.

 

Gingersnap Bellini

There is no better way to celebrate the incoming New Year than with a bubbly glass of sparkling wine. Well, there’s no better way to celebrate anything than with a flute of bubbly!

This year we’ll be ringing in 2015 (WOW) with a little adaptation of mine on the traditional Bellini, a Gingersnap Bellini. I found this wonderful ginger liqueur Domaine de Canton, which also contains VSOP cognac. Mix the liqueur with a brut Prosecco and a paper-thin slice of fresh ginger.

Champagne flutes come in a range of sizes. I have two different flutes, a four ounce and an eight ounce. This recipe works best with the eight-ounce flute, just divide by two for the smaller glass, or make in a measuring cup and pour into two glasses and garnish each with the fresh ginger.

Celebrating with a large group? No problem. A 750 ml bottle of Prosecco contains 25 fluid ounces. Use four bottles and 18 ounces ginger liqueur. Pour into a punch bowl, toss in a bunch of sliced ginger. Keep extra ginger slices on the side for guests to put in their drink.

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Select a firm, heavy ginger root, give it a good, but gentle scrub under cold water, and dry.

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Slice off an end and any knobby portions on the sides.

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Use a food slicer on the thinnest setting or use a very sharp knife to cut paper-thin slices.

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Pour the liqueur into the bottom of a champagne flute, add the Prosecco and garnish with a fresh slice of ginger.

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Cheers!

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Gingersnap Bellini

Champagne flutes come in a range of sizes. I have two different flutes, a four ounce and an eight ounce. The recipe below is for the eight-ounce flute, just divide by two for the smaller glass, or make in a measuring cup and pour into two glasses and garnish each with the fresh ginger.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 10 mins
  • Yield: 1 eight-ounce flute
  • Category: Cocktail

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce ginger liqueur, such as Domaine de Canton
  • 6 ounces Prosecco, brut
  • 1 paper-thin slice fresh ginger

Instructions

  1. Pour the liqueur into the bottom of a champagne flute, add the Prosecco and garnish with a fresh slice of ginger.

 

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Gingersnap Bellini Punch

Celebrating with a large group? No problem. A 750 ml bottle of Prosecco contains 25 fluid ounces. Use four bottles and 18 ounces ginger liqueur. Pour into a punch bowl, toss in a bunch of sliced ginger. Keep extra ginger slices on the side for guests to put in their drink.

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 10 mins
  • Yield: 30 four-ounce servings

Ingredients

  • 4 750 ml bottles Prosecco, brut
  • 18 ounces ginger liqueur, such as Domaine de Canton
  • 20 paper-thin slices fresh ginger
  • Garnish: extra fresh ginger slices

Instructions

  1. Slowly pour the Prosecco and ginger into a punch bowl, stir gently and top with the ginger slices.
  2. Cheers!

 

Strawberry-Limeade Vodka Martini

Strawberry Lime Vodka Martini Recipe

This delicious and refreshing Strawberry-Limeade Vodka Martini is quick and easy to make. It starts with a batch of strawberry limeade, which can be served as a non-alcoholic drink.

Great in the summer when strawberries are in season. Make up a large batch and set out to let people make there own – with vodka or not.

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Strawberry-Lime Vodka Martini or Mocktail

A couple of tips for using carbonated water: pour the carbonated water into the pitcher first to minimize the amount of foam created when adding the juice and only combine the juice and carbonated water just before serving to keep it sparkling.

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1/2 quarts
  • Category: Beverage

Ingredients

  • 1 cup hulled and quartered strawberries
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • freshly grated peel of one lime
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 4 cups ice water or sparkling water
  • Garnish: thin slices of lime or a small strawberry

Instructions

  1. Puree the strawberries in a blender with the water, sugar and lime juice. Let this sit for an hour to optimize flavor. Pour water or sparkling water into the pitcher and add the juice. Stir gently to combine.
  2. For the martini, use 2 ounces strawberry-lime juice, 1 1/2 ounces Vodka (I used Kettle One) and 3 ounces seltzer. Garnish the martini glass with a slice of lime and/or a small strawberry.

 

Blood Orange and Pink Grapefruit Juice

My new go to drink in the morning is Blood Orange and Pink Grapefruit Juice.

A friend’s son was selling grapefruit and oranges to raise money for a school project. I bought 20 lbs.  Then Mom brought grapefruit with her when she came for Christmas. I’ve enjoyed a freshly squeezed
glass of juice every morning for weeks now. Ran out of oranges and picked up some blood oranges – so pretty and delicious.

Quick and Easy to Make

Blood Orange and Pink Grapefruit Juice
Makes 8 ounces

1 small pink grapefruit
2 blood oranges

Cut each in half and juice.

Make sure when squeezing the juice that you get the pulp.