Warm Up With A Cup Of Glogg

Friday, January 15th, 2016 by

Glogg

Our first snow here in New Jersey may have been a light dusting that melted quickly, but we’re taking the opportunity to celebrate winter with this warm, spicy, and boozy Scandinavian drink. Glogg literally means “to glow,” which is exactly what you can expect from your face after a cup or two. It packs a punch. Unlike German mulled wine, vodka and port are added after wine is simmered with spices to ensure no loss of alcoholic potency. Flavored with orange peel, ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon, the aroma is a wonderful greeting after shoveling or brushing off a flake or two as the case may be.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 1 bottle inexpensive red wine, dry
  • 1/2 cup port
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 10 cardamom pods
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 cloves, whole
  • 2 star anise (optional)
  • 1/2 orange (zest only)
  • 2 generous slices fresh ginger
  • For serving: 1 cup sliced almonds and 1 cup raisins

Directions

Add the orange peel, spices, ginger, and wine to a large saucepan. Heat on low to just below a simmer. Stir in the sugar and cover. Leave the mixture on low heat for 30 minutes, then add the port and vodka and heat until warm. Strain into a heat safe bowl or pitcher. Glogg is traditionally ladled over nuts and raisins (which you can soak in vodka while the wine simmers) in a small cup. You can skip this if you prefer not to eat things at the bottom of your glass. You can easily prepare the wine ahead of time, reheating gently before adding the vodka and port to serve.

A word about the ingredients: there are many variations on this recipe, and it may take some experimentation to create the sweetness and spice level you prefer. The port and sugar make for a sweet drink, so stick with a less sweet wine and adjust the sugar level to your preference. Star anise tends to dominate flavor wise, and may be added at the end (rather than simmered) as a garnish only for a more subtle flavor.

For a nonalcoholic version, check out this recipe for cranberry glogg.

Thousand-Flavor Syrup Recipe

Friday, July 31st, 2015 by

Thousand Flavor

Hibiscus is a beautiful thing, but a little hard to drink straight up as a tea. Steep the dried flowers and the you get a purply-red infusion that is almost painfully tart. On the lookout for new ways to tame the flavor, we were excited to discover this recipe from Bon Appetit for a sweet, spicy, hibiscus-rose syrup. Try it in cocktails (thousand-flavor gin and tonic anyone?) and over fruit or ice cream.

What you’ll need

1/4 cup sugar

2 cups water

Seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

1 vanilla pod

3 wide strips lemon zest

3 lightly crushed green cardamom pods

1 star anise pod

5 juniper berries

1/4 cup dried rose petals

2 tablespoons dried hibiscus

1 teaspoon pink peppercorns

1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns

For the full instructions, check out the recipe for Fruit Salad with Thousand-Flavor Syrup.

 

Thousand 2

Delicious New Chai Flavors: Because winter is miserable.

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014 by

NewChais

The holidays are over and the polar vortex is back. This time of year can be a total drag, which is why we all need Chai. A sweet, spicy cup of spiced chai is a delight. It soothes sore throats, warms frozen hands, and relieves seasonal affective blues.

Lots of people know chai as a super-sweet and creamy latte-style beverage, often made from a powdered mix or concentrate. The inspiration is Indian masala chai (literally “spiced tea”), a blend of strong black tea and fresh, whole spices prepared with milk and sugar. As far as shortcuts go, we think we do it right, perfecting our blend of spices and tea and retaining all the goodness of whole ingredients.

Why are whole leaves and spices better? Well, they’re probably healthier and definitely tastier. Both tea and spices are rich in antioxidants and may have protective effects against disease, increasing circulation, reducing inflammation and fighting infection. Broken down and ground, they go stale quickly. Aromatic oils are lost as well as antioxidants and other nutrients.

Of course, the health benefits of chai are probably offset slightly by the addition of cream and sugar (or whipped cream and chocolate). Skip the caloric syrupy concentrates and try the real thing on its own. You might be surprised at how flavorful it is. Add as much milk or sugar as you like or experiment with alternatives like coconut milk, rice milk or almond milk, and honey or other sweeteners.

One of the beautiful things about traditional masala chai is that there’s no standard recipe; every cook has their own. Our kitchen being very eclectic, we threw some rose petals, cacao nibs and the like into our traditional spice mix and invented some pretty adventurous new flavors: Mexican Hot Chocolate, French Toast, Honeybear, and more. Check them out here and let us know what you think!

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Want more? Check out our post on cooking with chai!

Statements on health benefits have not been evaluated by the FDA. While there are lots of promising studies, so far none have been confirmed. Either way, we’re not doctors, just thirsty people.