mint and cocktail beginnings

I woke up rather late this morning.  And, by “rather late,” I mean 11:30AM.  Yes, that’s right.  There is a justifiable reason to waking up that late, and a contributing factor does include poking around on Pinterest until well after 3:00AM.  I kept company with a bottle of Frog’s Leap Chardonnay, and we settled down after delightfully agreeing upon the construct of the perfect spring lavender cocktail.  I think that I even made a few new friends along the way!

Orange mint-lemon sweet tea.

Waking up late can be a decadent treat, but most times, it renders me crestfallen.  I feel that my day has been robbed from me, and I feel a sting of guilt that I have squandered its most beautiful hours.  It is a careful balance, when you attain the satiety of enjoying the correct amount of sleep-hours and the bonus points of waking up early.  I did not meet that balance today.  Not anywhere close.  As I meandered to the kitchen and reached for a familiar pitcher, I realized that I must have consumed the last of my homemade sweet tea the night before.  Too tired to brew some, and too foggy to remember exactly how it dwindled so quickly, I waited until “someone else” made it for me.  It is always interesting to see how someone makes sweet tea happen.  Too lemony…too herbaceous…too sweet…  Everyone seems to have a “perfect recipe” for themselves.  My recipe tends to evolve around what I have available in my kitchen or garden at the time.

Orange mint unabashedly growing on my back porch.

Lately, I have perfected a recipe that utilizes the abundance of orange mint in my garden right now.  Orange mint, like most mint varieties, proliferates profusely in most environments.  Its leaves have a very fragrant, citrus aroma, and are high in vitamins A and C.  This herb is also wonderful in mint sauces, jelly, vinegar, salads, and desserts.

Orange Mint-Lemon Sweet Tea:

  • 3 bunches orange mint
  • 5 packets of organic black tea
  • 1/2 lemon, quartered
  • 1 1/2 cups raw sugar

Boil about three cups of water on the stove.  Once the water reaches a roiling boil, add five packets of organic black tea.  Remove from the stove.  Allow to steep according to producer’s directions (about 4-7 minutes).  While tea solution is hot, add sugar (to taste) and stir until incorporated.  Toss in lemon and mint.  Add water until volume increases to 1 Liter.  You can always add more water to dilute, if it is too strong.  This is where your creativity and personal taste comes to play!  I let the mint and lemon steep for about an hour, and then I remove the lemon.  Lemon tends to overwhelm the other components; I feel fine leaving the orange mint.  (By the way, you can substitute any type of mint in this “recipe.”)

As soon as I got my “tea fix,” I was ready to make some infused vodkas for an upcoming brunch service.  Here’s the infusion line-up…more on how this became the amazing base for a delicious Bloody Mary cocktail…tomorrow…

Ball pickling jars, filled with vodka, bacon, and yard jalapeno peppers.

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