Grownup Gingery Arnold Palmer (V)

As I’ve been waxing on about lately, I’m very into the post-work cocktails this summer. Whether I’m mixing them myself or hitting up my favorite Montclair bars, they make boring weekday nights infinitely more tolerable. I was recently gifted a bottle of sweet tea vodka and ooooh man it is yummy. Upon receiving said bottle, the first thing I did was sniff it: to my surprise it actually smelled like tea. This was exciting. When I see flavored liquor, it pretty immediately calls to mind those horrifying electric-hued bottles claiming to taste “just like pop-tarts/mint chocolate chip ice cream/marshmallow fluff.” I once had to endure a truly horrifying shot of birthday cake-flavored vodka, which, if you know anything about my penchant for desserts, was insulting on so very many levels. While I know this is not always the case with flavored liquors, I’m often wary. So imagine my joy upon taking that first sip and being greeted by a very real tea taste. Let’s also note the joy that comes with getting a present out of nowhere. Presents are f u n. Even more fun when they are alcohol-oriented. Because that means the gift-giver is immediately entitled to a cocktail.

The first drink I made with the vodka was a simple minty/tea (or should I get cute and say “min-tea”) Moscow mule –which I’ve just learned is also known as a Vodka buck (?????)– because I had ginger beer and lime and a plethora of fresh mint. And a mule mug (I’m hoping to build my collection of these and julep cups once I have a kitchen of my own.) I’m a pretty big fan of the Moscow mule. It’s spicy and tart and bubbly. It also calls to mind this gem, which just makes me giggle. So that was a good place to spend the first few ounces of the vodka. But I knew that the next time I used it I wanted to make up my own drink. Since few things feel more summery to me than a tall glass of lemonade or iced tea, I thought a thought I often think: let’s add alcohol to it. And I’m pretty sure I did alright. Thank you, alcohol. You be the judge, mmk?

But before you do, here’s some stuff that’s been occupying my time on the internet lately:

Alison Roman‘s drink diary on Punch Drink

I think I like tomatoes now that I’ve seen this salad on A Brown Table

Cherry pie and “women’s work” on Paste

The blood and sand cocktail (which tastes like neither blood nor sand) gets even better when blended on Serious Eats

Sprouted Kitchen is killing it as per usual with this roasted banana coconut ice cream helllllllo

French fry toppings of the world (and some pretty sweet graphics) on Lucky Peach

Saveur is taking me back to the retro origins of this blog and also reminding me that I could survive on dips for the rest of my life (also happy 21st birthday, Saveur!)

Porridge and a man bun in one glorious post on What Should I Eat For Breakfast Today yes yes all the yes

Let me eat all 13 of these beautiful vegetable things right this minute, thank you Grub Street for putting them in one handy post

OKAY now let’s have a cocktail!

Palmer (serves 1)

1/2-inch piece fresh ginger
1 shot sweet tea vodka
1 shot elderflower liqueur
1/2 shot fresh lemon juice
lemon peel

Muddle ginger in a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with a generous amount of ice. Add vodka, elderflower liqueur, and lemon juice. Shake well (20 seconds should do the trick!) Strain into a coupe/martini glass. Rub the lemon peel around the rim of the glass, then float it on top as garnish. Alternatively: muddle the ginger and add the liquids. Stir well and strain into an ice-filled rocks glass, doing the same with the lemon peel as mentioned earlier.



Dirty Ginger Chai Latté

That title sure is a mouthful, isn’t it? Well, I can assure you the adjectives are worth it. This is a loaded beverage. You’re getting spice from the Chai, a little kick from the ginger, and a strong wake up call from the espresso. This is a drink for the dreary Monday mornings where getting out of bed actually seems harder than running a 10k in stilettos (hey Massachusetts- feel like actually letting it be Spring already? It is almost April..) It’s also perfectly acceptable to make this drink and then get back into said bed. I don’t judge, I just cook.

Latté (serves 1)

– 1 cup Spiced Chai Tea (that recipe makes 3-4 servings, so just hang on to the extras for tomorrow!), but if you don’t feel like making your own, chai from concentrate works too

– 1/4-1/2 tsp. ground ginger (or 1/2 shot ginger syrup if you’re looking for something sweeter)

– 1 shot espresso

-1/2 cup steamed milk

Heat your tea on medium low and with a whisk dissolve the ginger. Pull your espresso shot and heat the milk. Pour the coffee into a mug, then add the tea and top with milk. Yum. If you’re not in the mood for a hot drink, this is also amazing poured over ice!



Earl Gray Madeleines

I love baking with tea, particularly that of the Earl Gray variety. Tea adds a level of complexity that just can’t be achieved with mere spices alone. As for madeleines, this was my first success with the cookie/little cake. I’d made them several times before with one recipe and had mediocre results: while they looked absolutely beautiful, they tasted only okay fresh from the oven, and once cooled they became tough and just plain weird. Such a bummer. Anyway, this time I used a different recipe (thanks Emily!) and they honestly came out incredibly. They did get very dark in the oven, but that didn’t affect the flavor or texture at all. Very exciting stuff, guys. Really. I did only make one batch though, so for all I know it was a fluke. Guess I’ll have to try it a few more times before I can confidently say I make good madelines. A few tips before trying this for yourself: get a good madeleine pan, make sure your eggs are ROOM TEMPERATURE (it’s the magic solution for baking. Trust me), and don’t over-beat the batter. You’ll want to. Resist the urge. Good luck!

Madeleines (from Baking: From my Home to Yours)

– 5 tbsp. unsalted butter at room temperature (plus extra for molds)

– 2 tbsp loose tea or tea from removed from 2 tea Earl Gray tea bags

– 3/4 cup all purpose flour

– 1/2 tsp. baking powder

-Pinch of salt

– 2 large eggs at room temperature

– 1/3 cup sugar

– 2 tbsp. honey

– 2 tsp. vanilla extract

– 1/2 tsp (packed) finely grated lemon peel

Line small sieve with 2 layers of damp cheesecloth and set sieve over a small bowl. Melt butter in saucepan over low heat, then mix in tea. Let stand 10 minutes, then pour into sieve. Twist cheesecloth around tea mixture, releasing tea-flavored butter into the bowl.

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl and set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar in large bowl until thick (about 4 minutes). Add honey, vanilla, and lemon peel; beat 1 minute longer. Gently fold in dry ingredients, then tea-flavored butter, being careful not to overmix. Press plastic wrap onto surface of batter; chill batter at least 3 hours and up to 1 day. Perfect time to catch up on Netflix homework!

Preheat oven to 400°F, positioning a rack in center. Brush madeleine molds with extra butter and dust with flour (tap out any excess). Place pan on top of a baking sheet. Drop 1 scant tablespoon of batter into each mold (don’t worry, it’ll spread while baking!) Bake madeleines until golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 10 minutes. Sharply rap pan on work surface to loosen madeleines, then turn out onto rack. Serve warm or at room temperature with a steaming cup of Earl Gray to feel the most fancy.

(Can you tell from the pictures my goal is to be a hand model on Unique Sweets? If you don’t know what I’m talking about look at :03, :17, :29, and 8:05 of this video. Srynotsry)

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ninety eight

Hot Tea Toddy

There have definitely been nights this winter where no matter how many pairs of socks/blankets/overcoats I put on, I just can’t get warm. Maybe it’s because I have poor circulation and am pretty much always cold, sometimes to the point where my lips and fingernails turn blue- cute, amiright? But I’m sure there are others out there who understand this problem. As with many seemingly unsolvable troubles, I have discovered the answer: alcohol. Alcohol fixes many things. And try as you may to warm yourself with clothing or heat, nothing beats a good drunk blanket. Thank you alcohol! This recipe is a take on the classic hot toddy, with the added benefit of tea (I used decaf though- for me, this is a sleepytime drink). Although I do think this would make a pretty rockin’ summer daytime drink if put on ice. Kinda like buzzed sweet tea. I’m a fan. I bet you will be too. As much as I love warm cocktails, I’m getting pretty sick of the cold weather here in New England. Hopefully by posting a very wintery drink I will jinx things and spring will actually begin?

Toddy (adapted from 200 Cocktails)

– 1 1/2 oz brandy, whiskey, or rum (I used whiskey)

– 1 tbsp honey

– 1 decaf English Breakfast tea bag

– 1/4 lemon, sliced

– 1 cup boiling water

Place the liquor, honey, and tea bag in a mug. Add the water and lemon (squeezing for juice). Let steep for about 5 minutes, then remove tea bag.


eighty five

Spiced Chai Tea

Happy New Year everyone! I don’t know what the weather’s like where you are today, but here in New Jersey it is 5°, with a real feel of -12°. So we’re all a little chilly right now. On a day where even penguins need a coat I figure there’s nothing better than a freshly brewed cup of spiced chai tea. Chai is easily my favorite non-coffee hot beverage. Spicy and just a little sweet, I love it in latte form or simply as a cup of tea. At school, I make a lot of instant chai lattes using this mixed with warm milk, but I’ve always wanted to try to make it from scratch. It was actually really simple (I guarantee you have most, if not all of the ingredients in your spice cabinet) and very very good, much less sweet than your average chai. Of course, there are millions of chai tea bags available at every grocery store, but I think there’s just something really freaking awesome about having one’s kitchen smell like fresh ginger and cinnamon. Try it for yourself, you’ll get it!

Tea, makes 3-4 servings (adapted from naturallyella.com)

– 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
– 10 whole cloves
– 2 tsp. ground cardamon
– 2 quarter sized pieces of fresh, peeled ginger (or 1 tsp. ground)
– 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (or 1 pinch ground)
– 3 cups water
– 2 black tea bags
– 1 tablespoon raw sugar
– 1 cup milk

In a saucepan, combine the first six ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover and and reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let steep for 15 minutes.

Once the spices have steeped, return pot to the stove and bring to a boil. Add in tea bags, cover, remove from heat, and let sit for 4-5 minutes. Pour through a sieve, discarding the spices and tea bags. Return the liquid to the stove top, adding in the milk and sugar. Bring back to a warm temperature and serve sitting next to a fire/outside in a snowstorm for added festiveness. If you’re feeling ambitious a splash of rum or brandy in here never hurt anyone..

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fifty six

Arnold Palmer Cake (aka Lemonade Layer Cake with Earl Gray Frosting)

Have you heard of an Arnold Palmer? Even if you haven’t heard the name (where have you been living, under a rock?) I’m sure you’ve experienced this beverage before: it’s just iced tea and lemonade. A truly awesome combination- you’ve got sweet, sour, and bitterness happening in one cup. Perfection. I’ve had the idea to use the drink as inspiration for a cake for a while, ever since I saw Momofuku‘s version, which is incredible. It involves making a bitter tea soak for a traditional lemon tea cake in addition to homemade tea jelly and lemon mascarpone for fillings. Honestly, I can’t get over how cool this recipe is. I have to try it out myself sometime. But I was in the mood to do a little creating of my own so I decided on this: Lemonade Layer Cake with an Earl Gray Buttercream Frosting. It was a very substantial cake- one slice was definitely enough for one sitting, but it WAS pretty yummy. I’ll keep working on this recipe and keep you posted if anything magical happens.

Cake (adapted from myrecipes.com)

– 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar

– 6 tbsp softened butter

– 2 tbsp lemon zest

– 4 tbsp lemonade

– 2 tsp vanilla extract

– 2 eggs

– 2 egg whites

– 2 cups flour

– 1 tsp baking powder

– 1/2 tsp salt

– 1/2 tsp baking soda

– 1 1/4 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease 2 (9-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray. Add the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed for about five minutes. Add eggs and whites, one at a time, beating well after each. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda and stir with a whisk. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating well after each addition. Pour batter into pans and tap pans once on counter to remove air bubbles. Bake for 20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the pans on a wire rack, then remove from pans and cool completely on wire rack.


– 1/2 cup strongly brewed Earl Gray tea

– 1 batch of Vanilla Buttercream 

Prepare the buttercream according to the directions, then blend in the tea. Add more powdered sugar to reach your desired consistency.

When the cake has cooled completely, frost it, then garnish with fresh fruit or lemon zest (I think blueberries compliment the lemon perfectly). Yum!

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thirty nine

(Semi) Sun-steeped Moroccan Mint Iced Tea

One of my favorite spots to eat in Northampton (the wonderful and strange place I spend eight months of the year in) is a little Moroccan restaurant on Main Street, Amanouz Café. I seriously can’t describe to you how delicious everything here is, it just is perfect. Plus, I’m 96% sure you can’t spend more than $11 on a meal. Which is AWESOME for those like myself who are -whether they actually attend school or not- living on the budget of a college student. As slammin’ as the food is, the thing that I love the most there is the Moroccan Tea, iced or hot. It’s an incredibly lovely combination of green tea, mint, sweetness, and magic. I don’t know how they make it. But I drink enough of it that I think I may have partially cracked the code. This batch came out a little milder in flavor than I was expecting because I was nervous about it being too strong so I went ahead and added the cold water pretty early on AND these were my last packets of green tea AND I didn’t want to change out of my pajamas (is anyone else sensing a pattern about how I make things w/r/t my laziness in leaving the house?) Next time I’d steep it for longer, perhaps ten minutes instead of six?

Also, a note on sun-steeped tea: for those who’ve never heard of it, sun-steeped tea is tea brewed by being left to steep in sunlight (be it on a sunny windowsill or directly outside). Pretty self-explanatory. I did a little research on this process before trying it, and apparently the internet (and the Center for Diseases Control) believes there to be certain risks to this practice in terms of bacteria developing in the hours it takes to brew tea by light. So, naturally, because I am the world’s biggest hypochondriac I decided against the full sun method and went for a little hybrid. However, this is not to say you shouldn’t go for the real thing, which I will explain in the recipe below. I fully think you’ll be fine. Just make sure you use a clean jar, filtered water, and refrigerate it immediately after brewing.


– 3 bags of green tea

– 1 bag of mint tea

– water

– 1/4-1/3 cup honey

– several springs of fresh mint

Boiling water method: Boil 2 cups of water. In a heat-safe pitcher combine the tea with the water and honey. Muddle mint leaves into the pitcher and steep for 6-10 minutes. Remove tea bags. Fill the jar with cold water and refrigerate. Serve over ice.

Refrigerator method: Fill a pitcher with a quart of cold water. Add tea bags, muddled mint, and honey. Refrigerate for at least six hours or overnight. Serve over ice.

Semi sun-steeped method: Boil 2 cups of water. In a heat-safe pitcher combine the tea with the water and honey. Muddle mint leaves into the pitcher and steep for 6-10 minutes. Fill the jar with cold water and place on a sunny windowsill for 15 minutes, then remove the tea bags. Leave on windowsill for another 15 minutes and then place in refrigerator. Serve over ice.

Fully sun-steeped method: Wash pitcher thoroughly. Follow the semi sun-steeped recipe using filtered water from the tap instead of boiling. Leave the tea in the sun for no more than three hours. Place in refrigerator. Serve over ice.

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