It's that time! Everything gets a little fancy at this time of year; people are more adventurous in their drink choices, and every host is trying to be different. Try these ideas and you just might find a new favourite.
1) Switch your sweetener
Catch the holiday spirit by swapping in maple syrup, brown sugar, or (very) light molasses instead of your normal sweetener. The rich flavours bring to mind molasses cookies and fruitcake, they add depth to the mix of flavours in your tea, and a bit of nostalgia never hurt anyone!
2) Add in other flavours
Jump on the gingerbread bandwagon and steep your regular tea with a cinnamon stick, a chunk of ginger, or red peppercorns. Or try adding in a few curls of orange peel, a couple of rosy cranberries, and a few almonds or walnuts. A Wassail drink without the hangover!
3) Make a cocktail
You could also embrace the hangover! Tea cocktails are a delicious taste alternative for a holiday get together, and they can adapt to any occasion. Add a bit of Vodka to a mint tea with black peppercorns, and you have a stimulating cold drink for a late evening. Adding a jot of a creamy nut liquer instead of milk creates a hot toddy that is just a little bit more decadent.
Use the season to experiment, and enjoy it even more with your fingers wrapped around your favourite mug!
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The first time I tried chai was in the kitchen of my parent’s house, and served by my younger sister. “You have to taste this—” she insisted, pushing a mug across the countertop to me. She refused to elaborate on its contents. The flavors, she said, would speak for themselves.
The quality of water affects the taste of your tea; this is beyond dispute. The relative quantities of mineral salts, oxygen and trace elements determine the relative "liveliness" or "flatness" of a particular cup. To that simple substance we add the basic flavor of the leaf itself or an herbal substitute.