Raspberry Mojitos

So this nice little cocktail is something sweet and tasty you can enjoy this Valentines Day. Personally, I made mine virgin (I’ve got school in the morning, plus I didn’t have any rum laying around), but add what you want. I wouldn’t recommend too much though, because they taste so nice on their own.

All you need is:
Sugar
Water
Raspberries (fresh or frozen)
Mint leaves
Sparkling water

First you start by making a simple syrup, which is equal parts sugar and water. I only made two glasses, so I only used a 1/3 cup sugar and a 1/3 cup sugar. You can heat it over the stove, but in a microwaveable container works just fine.

I heated it for 30 seconds, stirred, and heated again for 20. Your times might vary depending on the weather and power of your microwave.

Next, blend or mash your raspberries (I used my handy dandy food processor). For two glasses, I blended 3/4 cups frozen raspberries. I chose frozen because I knew I wouldn’t use up all of them, plus they’re cheaper. And then put equal amounts into each glass.

Next add your mint leaves. I used about a sprig per cup. And bruise them with a spoon (basically just stir and make sure to mush them up some).

There are a couple different methods for dealing with the mint. What I did probably yielded the least flavor. Another thing you could do would be to rip the leaves apart into strips before adding them to the glass. And yet another would be to drop them in before the raspberries with a little sugar and stir them around dry–the coarseness of the sugar will help break up the leaves and give you more oil.

Next squeeze half a lime into each glass, add the simple syrup equally, then top it off with bubbly water and stir. (If you plan on adding the rum, put it in before the bubbly water.)

Hot Chocolate

This is something good for how cold it’s been lately, and you can get pretty creative with it. I made three different flavors using candy. I’m not sure which was my favorite between cinnamon imperials and peppermints, but the peanut butter was good too. It’s a little heavier but still tasty.

All three start with the same idea, get the candy into tiny bits. Cutting up the peanut butter cups does alright, and for the dry ones, a mortar and pestle set works well.

Next you need to melt it. I highly recommend a non stick pan for this job. Also, a little bit of milk helps. Not too much, you just want barely enough for the candy to dissolve in.

And once that’s ready, start adding chocolate. Only a little at first, though.

I guess you want about equal parts candy and chocolate to start with, but definitely add more before it’s over. The amount of chocolate you need will change based on how many people will be drinking it and by how strong you want it to taste. If you’re not afraid of having left overs, add extra.

For both of these melting processes, I just used a pan on the stove. But if you’re worried about burning it, set up a double boiler system. I did it when I made fondue a while back. But like I said, this time I didn’t bother. I kept the fire on a med-low heat and moved the pan around–when I was worried, I just took it off the stove. I also stirred constantly. The double boiler system is less demanding. But it’s harder to set up and there’s more clean up, so it’s a trade-off.

Once the chocolate is completely melted, add your milk. This should also be done a little at a time and you should constantly taste it to make sure it’s warm enough and has the right flavor.

I like mine to be served a little too hot to drink, that way it warms your hand and builds anticipation, but you don’t have to heat it quite that long if you don’t want.

And there’s tons of extras you can add at the end. Marshmallows or whipped cream on top are always favorites. Or you can put some of the whole candy in the bottom of the cup. It’ll slowly melt and strengthen the flavor. (By the way, peppermints make popping noises when you do this, it’s kind of neat.) One thing my mom used to do was make milk ice cubes before hand, that way if it was too hot, we could drop one of those in without messing up the flavor. It was a great idea and I think I’m going to experiment with those and frozen drinks once it warms up…

Mead. Yes, mead

I wasn’t able to get off today to go to the Renaissance Festival, so I ended up buying mead instead. I actually saw it a few weeks ago and have been waiting for an excuse to try it out. It was really interesting looking, and it’s made of honey!

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It’s sweeter than white wine, but it’s not juice sweet. And it’s a little thicker. Not like syrup, though. It’s almost as if your mind is tricking your brain into thinking it should be thick because it’s made of honey.

But overall I like it a lot. I do have a sweet tooth, but I don’t think that’s the only reason I liked it. It’s not as harsh as other alcohols either.

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If you want to learn more about mead, you can check out it’s Wiki page or go to Bea’s Sweet’s own site. If you can read German, it might be cool to check out their normal website.

Jasmine Milk Tea

I’ve never made milk tea and I don’t really know if it turned out right, I liked it, but if you have any suggestions, please let me know so it’ll be better next time.

Yesterday I had a really yummy milk tea slush from Tapioca House on Campus and that got me wondering what makes milk tea milk tea–is it normal tea brewed in milk? So that’s what I tried. I started out by getting all my stuff together.

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There weren’t very many ingredients, and I already had all of them. (I got milk the other day because it was super cold and I wanted to make hot chocolate.) So all I did was heat up the milk, like you would water, and dip in the tea bag. I let it sit for about 3 minutes as the tea bag recommends, but the flavor wasn’t very strong, so I moved it to the fridge and let it sit for about 30 minutes. I added a little condensed milk just because, but it would have been good without it. The color of the milk didn’t change as I was expecting it to. Normally when I see milk tea, it’s got a light caramel/mocha color, and this change was very subtle. I couldn’t even get it to show up on the camera. But it tasted good and that’s what matters.

I drank it cold because I have a thing about warm milk, but if you don’t, I’m sure you’d love it warm. It could also make a good slushie. I’ll be experimenting with that later on.

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Perry Cider

Speaking of cider…

This isn’t something I’ve made, just something I found at my grocery store that turned out to be really awesome. It’s a cider made of pears as opposed to apples.

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It’s made in California, and they have their own website: Acecider. They apparently have more than just pear cider, but that’s the only one I’ve found. This drink is really tasty, and even though I’ve been drinking it cold, it warms me up. It is alcoholic, so if you’re not 21, then you’ll have to wait, but it is definitely worth it.

Spiced wine

It’s been raining for the past 4 or 5 days here, which brought the temperature down and made me remember that in other parts of the world, it’s not 90 degrees all the time. (I live in Texas.)

So, being cold, stationed across from the beer and wine department at work, I came up with the idea to attempt a spiced wine. This was my very first try and I didn’t look at a recipe. It seemed like a good thing to warm up my insides.

I started with nutmeg, cinnamon, and a cheap bottle of wine. You don’t want an expensive one because you’re going to be cooking it down, so all the subtleties that make it so expensive will be lost.
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I poured about half the bottle in a normal sauce pan and turned the heat on high to reduce it. Then I added about 10 shakes of nutmeg and 1 of cinnamon. It’s going to smell a little bitter and strong as the alcohol cooks off, but don’t worry until you’ve tried it.
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After the color darkened and I could tell pretty obviously that it had reduced some, I went ahead and tried it and discovered that really needed some sugar. I added about 3 tablespoons, maybe (I’m going off of eyeballed measurements), a splash of apple juice and the tiniest pinch of cayenne. You don’t want to add too much cayenne, because it’s not supposed to be spicy–you just want to feel it a little bit when you swallow. It’s just to make the flavor more interesting and is totally optional. I’m telling you about how much I put in, but keep in mind that it’s totally up to you and feel free to taste test–just make sure to cool it off first.

Once it’s the desired consistency and taste, pour and enjoy! I added a little of the unreduced wine to lighten up the consistency a little, but this step is very optional. If you do add some, though, make sure you add only a very little and taste before you add more. For my cup, I added only about a 3/4 tablespoon.

It’s best warm, and ok cool. So just make sure to drink it quickly. I drank it in a sweater, sitting on a pillow and it was so nice. I hope you enjoy!