Craft delightful drinks from tea to a Bloody Mary

July 28, 2015

Whether you're serving tea with a yummy pastry or a cocktail at an upscale dinner party, it's important to prepare the beverage properly. Here we'll show you some winning recipes and techniques to make the perfect drink every time.

Craft delightful drinks from tea to a Bloody Mary

Create the perfect cup of tea

Top-quality tea — loose-leaf or bagged — and a simple routine are essential to the ideal cuppa. Only buy bulk tea if you can keep it in an airtight container and in a cool place. Then it should be good for up to two years.

  1. Always use fresh water from the cold tap. Previously boiled water can contain extra minerals that adversely affect the tea's flavour.
  2. Boil the water and swirl a little of it into the pot to warm it.
  3.  Add one teabag or one rounded teaspoon of loose tea to your pot for each cup you're brewing.
  4. Pour the boiling water onto the tea in the pot.
  5. Give tea time to brew. Start at about two minutes and increase gradually to reach the strength you want. For weak tea, an extra 30 seconds might be enough.
  6. It's up to your own taste whether you add milk to the cup before or after pouring the tea. If you want to avoid a caramel-like taste, pour in the milk before the tea.

Brew tea for the right amount of time

Use this list of ideal brewing times to ensure that you always have a well-balanced cup.

  • Assam: 3 to 4 minutes
  • Ceylon Dimbula: 3 to 4 minutes
  • Ceylon Uva: 3 minutes
  • Darjeeling: 2 to 3 minutes
  • Genmaicha: 3 to 4 minutes
  • Gunpowder: 3 to 4 minutes
  • Jasmine: 2 to 3 minutes
  • Kenya: 2 to 3 minutes
  • Lapsang souchong: 4 to 5 minutes
  • Oolong: 5 to 7 minutes
  • Sencha: 2 to 2 1/2 minutes

Mix a Bloody Mary

A Bloody Mary is an exceptionally popular and delicious cocktail. This is what you'll need to make one:

  • 25 ml (1 oz) vodka
  • 100 ml (4 oz) tomato juice
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) lemon juice
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 to 3 drops Tabasco sauce
  • Black pepper
  • Celery stick
  • Twist of lemon or lime

Here's how to make the tastyness happen:

  • Fill a shaker with ice cubes and add the vodka, juices, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco.
  • Shake, then strain into a highball glass filled with more ice cubes.
  • Garnish with a little black pepper, the stick of celery, and a twist of lemon or lime.
  • Enjoy!

Mix a tasty and therapeutic Hot Toddy

A roaring fire and a hot drink are just the thing on a cold winter's night. Those looking for a bit of kick in their drink or who want some honey to soothe a sore throat will love a Hot Toddy. Prepare one like this:

  • Pour 50 millilitres (two shots) of whisky, rum or brandy into a heatproof, microwave-safe glass or pottery mug.
  • Add one teaspoon of soft, dark-brown sugar, one teaspoon of runny honey, one cinnamon stick, and half an orange or lemon's worth of juice.
  • Microwave until the drink is piping hot. This usually takes about a minute. Alternatively, you can add some boiling water to the mixture if you'd like to dilute it. 1/4 of a cup should be good to start.
  • Garnish with a slice of lemon and some rinds.
  • Sip slowly and let the vapours do their thing! You'll be feeling great in no time.
  • A toddy may not be a cure for a cold or flu, but it can certainly make you feel better. Sip slowly and let the vapours do their stuff.

Make virgin alternatives to your favourite drinks

Some classic cocktails can be made alcohol-free, such as the Virgin Mary variation of a Bloody Mary. Experiment with your own combinations of fruit juices, bitters, grenadine, cream, milk, and coconut milk and nobody will miss the alcohol.

Keep the fizz in your champaign

It isn't called "Bubbly" for nothing: champagne is all about its sparkle. Though you can drink flat champaign, it goes against the essence of the drink. Here's how to preserve the fizz:

  •  Serve champagne in tall flutes to enhance the bubbles; they dissipate rapidly in a shallow coupe.
  • It's a myth that a teaspoon dropped into the neck of the bottle preserves the fizz.
  • Use a champagne saver (like a cork, but with a clamping mechanism to seal the bottle).
  • Buy a half-bottle of champagne if you're worried about it going flat.

From tea time to New Year's Eve, these tips will have you expertly preparing the perfect beverage. Bottoms up!


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