Drinks

Mulled Tea

 The calendar says it is already December. Can’t believe. I was planning to post the recipe of one tasty pumpkin cake when realized that autumn is over and winter is here. Even though it’s not freezing cold right now in Dubai and you can’t find the real snow but there are lots of Christmas markets, festive decorations and lights, gingerbread houses, cookies and smell of cinnamon and oranges around – it all makes this season a very special time. Moreover, the weather is absolutely amazing and you can visit tree lighting ceremonies, enjoy mince pies and even mulled wine in some places, or maybe go ice-skating or skiing, and you are in the right festive mood.
 For whatever reason but not everyone can enjoy mulled wine, and that not a big deal if you prepare this hot tea. Star anise and cinnamon in this warming tea makes it very aromatic, plus fresh ginger adds a little spicy note. Moreover, not only adults can enjoy a cup of this mulled tea. It requires almost no effort and festive drink is served, pour hot tea in beautiful glasses and garnish with apple slice or mandarin peel, and sip, sip, sip…
Ginger-Apple MulledTea

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Winter Spiced Drink

I guess some of you never heard about these beautiful berries, and even not tasted them. Not sure about the correct name in English, but google says “sea buckthorn or hippophae”. These bright orange berries have a sour and slightly bitter taste, and they are well-known in my home country. I remember  late September and myself a little girl picking these berries from trees in parents’ garden. It was not easy at all, because of dense berry arrangement on each branch plus lots of thorns among the berries! It was possible to cut the whole branches but in that case the future harvest could be low. But hard works pay and it was such a pleasure to sip freshly brewed tea with bright berries in it or just eat them as is.
 Sea buckthorn has lost of benefits for the health, and contains great amount of vitamins E and C. It can be frozen, or used in making jams, pies or preparing liquors.
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I make this simple hot drink with frozen berries, they are of course less bitter but still tastes great! Addition of cinnamon sticks and star anise adds a nice spicy note to the drink, that always associated with cold winter days. I haven’t used any tea this time, but you can add a cup of freshly brewed black tea (plain, not flavored) to the drink and simmer all together.
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I truly hope that you could get and enjoy these beauties one day! Highly recommend to serve it in a glasses (or transparent tea pot) so you can enjoy not only the taste but also to watch how berries and spices ‘dancing’ in your glass!
winter-spice-drink

Winter Spiced Drink with sea buckthorns

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: very easy
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You can add a freshly brewed black tea (plain, not flavored) instead of water or make 50/50 and simmer all together. 
Ingredients 
150g frozen sea buckthorns
600-700ml water
1 cinnamon stick
1-2 star anise
1tbsp brown sugar or honey to taste, optional
Method 
  • Cover frozen berries with water, add spices.
  • If using sugar add it along with spices. You can leave the drink unsweetened and serve it with honey, which is better to not to boil and preferably add to the ready drink thus it can keep all its healthy benefits.
  • Bring the drink to boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Switch off the heat and leave to infuse for few minutes more.
  • Serve warm.
Enjoy!

Kisel – Russian sweet drink

 Kisel – is a well-known and popular sweet drink in Russia. This healthy drink contains berries or fruits, also sugar and water, and thickened with a potato starch. Kisel can be served cold or hot, sometimes it’s poured over ‘cottage cheese bake’ or ‘syrniki’. The kisel thickness can vary depending on how much potato starch is used; the thickest version does look like a mousse or jelly and can be eaten with a spoon, however the thin kisel is the most common version in Russia and usually consumed as a drink.Kisel-Russian sweet drink

  Kisel is generally made with fresh berries or fruits (red currants, cherries, cranberries, apples – are most common flavors which are widely available in Russia), but during the winter sweet jams or frozen berries are used to make it. The very first Russian kisels were thick and made with oat, wheat, rye or pea flours, and it dates back over one thousand years.
 Nowadays there are lots of instant kisel mixes, which you can find at Russian stores, but I do assure you that to make you own kisel is very easy and definitely better and tastier. I made mine with fresh red currants; you can use any fresh or frozen berries. Enjoy!Russian red currant kisel (drink)

Kisel - Russian sweet drink

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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To make thick kisel add more starch.
Ingredients
200-300g fresh red currants, rinsed
5-7 tbsp sugar (or more, depends on your taste)
2l water
3 tbsp potato starch (or cornstarch)
Method
  • Keep aside some red currats. Strain the rest through a sieve into a saucepan. Add water, sugar and bring to boil. Reduce the heat, taste and adjust the sweetness.
  • In a small cup, mix starch with few tablespoons of cold water. Add it to the saucepan along with red currants that you’ve kept. Give it a good stir and turn off the heat.
  • Pour in a glasses or cups. Serve warm or cold. Enjoy!

Refreshing Sangria

 If you have such a hot summer as I do here (around 45C), you need a good refreshing cocktail to cool you off on a weekend.
 What about Sangria? It is a type of punch from Spain and Portugal, which is served during summer and in some parts of the countries year-round. 😀 Sangria is made from wine, fresh chopped fruit and sweetener, with an occasional addition of brandy (or vodka, rum, soda may be added). Sangria is named after the word ‘bleeding’ for its bold red color. Now it’s very popular party drink around the world.
 I’m bringing this pitcher, full of nicely spiced Sangria to Angie@Thenovicegardener party! The recipe is easy to multiply for crowds. Yahoo! A little party never killed nobody! 😀
Sangria-6

Refreshing Sangria

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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A classic sangria of red wine and fresh fruits that’s easy to make ahead of time for outdoor gatherings.
Ingredients:
1-750ml bottle red wine, Rioja/Cabernet Sauvignon/Burgundy
200ml brandy
400-500ml  freshly squeezed orange juice
120ml/1/2 cup water
90g/1/2 cup sugar
1 large cinnamon stick
1 star anise
1 large orange
1 lemon
2 large apples
150g/1 1/2 cups seedless dark grapes
Ice cubes, for serving
Lemon or orange wheels, for garnish
500-700ml orange juice or sparkling water, for serving, optionally
Instructions:
  • In a small saucepan,  mix water, sugar and spices. Bring to boil and simmer the syrup over medium heat for 5 minutes or until the sugar is dissolved. Cool completely. Such syrup is called simple syrup.
  • Cut orange, lemon and apples into wedges; cut some grapes into halves.
  • In a large pitcher, combine the wine, brandy, juice and simple syrup. Add all of the fruit and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate until chilled and all the flavours are melded, about 2-3 hours, or better overnight.
  • When sangria is ready, add some ice into the pitcher and stir to combine.
  • Serve over ice in a cocktail or wine glass; garnish with some of the soaked fruit and orange wheels. You can top with the desired amount of orange juice or sparkling water, if using.

ENJOY! ❤