- Food and Cooking
Coffee or Tea? How About Cocktail Drinks?
June 19 (Saturday) Recipes - Beverage Recipes
Care for a Drink?
"Coffee or tea?" This is the usual question of a waiter or waitress who is serving you in a restaurant. Even, in a passenger plane, the stewardess will always ask you first, if you want coffee or tea. It’s different these days because you can buy a three-in-one coffee (with cream and sugar) immediately. The only one you’ll prepare is the hot water.
In an ordinary restaurant, you’ll never know if short-order cooks recycle their coffee. Even in the vending machine, it is served in plastic cups because it would corrode metal, I’m sure of that. You can bought instant coffee or tea in can but the best thing to prepare and savor the taste is at home.
The Water Factor
There are many ways to mess up the preparation of coffee, so the chances of brewing a good cup is pretty low. Moreover, tap water often does not taste good. One’s water is more of a solvent than a refreshment when you make coffee. It is even possible to misboil water by overcooking it.
Liquids taste better when saturated with air, but overboiled water, has a flat taste. In any hot beverage, always use freshly drawn cold water and boil it as little as possible.
Hot or Cold
Beverages can be served hot or cold. Before, it’s always hot coffee or hot tea. Now, you can put crack ice or ice cubes in coffee or tea and serve it cold.. Even brewed coffee can be bought in stores. But good coffee is not a good coffee unless you take good care of your equipment when preparing it.
Rules of Good Coffeemaking
1. Wash, wash, wash… that’s the first rule of good coffee making. The coffee maker should be thoroughly clean.
2. Use tap water that has run for a few seconds. Never use hot tap water or water that has already been boiled.
3. Use bottled water if your tap water doesn’t taste good.
4. If possible, use coffee beans and grind them immediately before brewing.
5. Store coffee (beans or ground) in the freezer.
Coffee contains oil. It is often visible floating on top of a cup of rich coffee. Oil films are very difficult to remove from metal, and only slightly easier from glass and ceramic. Like any fat, this coffee oil can go rancid an generate off-flavors by reacting with oxygen in the air. So, washing is critical.
Coffee can be served with the regular ceramic coffee, medium-sized or even demitasse cup (usually for espresso or Greek coffee).
How To Prepare a Greek Coffee
Greek coffee is the most difficult to prepare because it will take 5 minutes or more to prepare it (I’m not kidding!).
1. You’ll prepare the urn or Turkish coffee urn (usually comes in three sizes, small, medium and large urn). I usually use the small one when preparing for one order only.
2. I’ll put first a teaspoon of ground Greek coffee (usually sealed in aluminum can and plastic bags), use mineral water, put teaspoon of sugar (it depends upon the order) then heat.
3. After 5 minutes or so, you will notice the surface of the mixture having bubbles. The first simmer will be the indication that I’ll transfer it to the coffee cup or demitasse cup (with saucer, of course) then serve it to the guest or officer.
How About Tea?
As a drug, tea is almost as good as coffee. It has anywhere from 30 to 100 per cent the caffeine content of coffee, depending on the type of leaf and method of brewing. So it is an excellent stimulant. To appreciate its other properties, taste, color, and aroma, you should make it very carefully.
Warm a glass or ceramic teapot by rinsing it with hot water. Let the cold water tap run for a few seconds, then fill a tea kettle and heat the water.
Put the tea in the teapot. Add the water just as it starts to boil and cover the teapot.
Brew for 3 minutes, then serve the tea with sugar, lemon, and cream on the side of the tray.
Metal is not recommended when making tea. It will result to a bitter taste. The BREWING temperature should be just below the boiling point. If the tea boils, too many astringent compounds (tannins) are released. These compounds are very useful; they tan the leather and were once the treatment of choice for burns. Tea is also a good meat tenderizer.
A curious habit of the British is serving tea with milk, unlike the Chinese host. Many professional tea tasters routinely add milk to their tea, maintaining that it makes the tea far less bitter. The milk-tea combination suits to control the bitter taste of tannins. It is better than adding lemon on it. Some add honey and lemon, and the combination is also good.
Milk and Alcoholic Beverages
Milk is usually served as cold beverage or drink but it can be heated and mix with chocolate. When water evaporates, the other type of milk protein called casein leaves a scummy solids on the surface, so it should be stirred thoroughly. One use of hot milk where you can mask the taste is hot chocolate.
When I’m making a hot chocolate, I always collate these ingredients:
8 ounces, semisweet chocolate, broken up
6 cups milk
2 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons almond extract
2 cups whipped cream
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
Heat the milk in a heavy saucepan with constant stirring, but do not let it boil.
Add the chocolate and stir it until it is dissolved.
Add the sugar and almond extract.
Pour into heated mugs, top with whipped cream, and dust with cocoa.
Hot chocolate is a cryptostimulant drink; meaning, it contains a respectable dose of caffeine and large amounts of a very analogous compound called theobromine (theobromine contains no bromine at all). It derives its name from the genus of the trees to which cocoa tree belongs, Theobroma, “foods for the gods”.
However, patients with illnesses particularly sensitive to caffeine and theobromine should avoid drinking hot chocolate.
Alcohol Beverages: Drink Moderately
Alcohol is a vicious drug. It can lead you to addiction and eventually kill you, If you overdo it, you will see yourself lying on the street or cause social strife and mess in your living room.
Since our stomach is alcohol-sensitive, the appropriate word is “moderation”. You can also serve alcoholic beverages hot. But we must be very caring with spirits. Boiling would drive much alcohol, so when adding wine, rum, brandy and other alcoholic ingredients, it shouldn’t reach the simmering point.
Let us try this recipes:
1 bottle dry red wine 6 tablespoon sugar
1 cup freshly brewed tea 2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ orange, sliced 6 maraschino cherries
1 lemon, sliced 3 tablespoon rum
Heat all the ingredients, except the wine and rum, in a covered pot just to the boiling point. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the wine, re-cover, and heat to a simmer. Add the rum, re-cover and reheat, if necessary to just below the simmering point.
6 cups apple cider 1 cup rum
½ cup brown sugar 2 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ lemon sliced
Preheat 6 mugs.
Heat the cider, sugar, cinnamon, and lemon to the boiling point in a covered pot. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Distribute the rum into the 6 preheated mugs, add the hot cider, and garnish with the butter.
How about cold alcoholic drinks or cocktails? The Prince of Coolers is the mint julep. Many will correct the ingredients, but you should try this one.
3 ounces whiskey (bourbon is traditional but not mandatory)
6 teaspoons superfine sugar
3 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons (approximate) water
Chill two cooler glasses in the freezer. Chill the whiskey. Make a mint syrup by crushing the mint leaves with the sugar and dissolving it with the water. The syrup should be thick. If it becomes thin, crush more mint with sugar and add it. Strain the syrup and discard the crushed leaves.
Fill the glasses with cracked ice, add the syrup and the whiskey. Put them back in the freezer to allow some of the flavors to mix, but do not let the ice melt too much. About 15 minutes, you can take it out the fridge then serve.
Fruits can also be mixed with wine and spirits or liquor. Shake things up with these some colorful cocktails. Most rum (like Bacardi) comes from the Carribean and these spirited concoction can turn an ordinary event into a truly tropical celebration.
FROZEN MANGO DAIQUIRI
(Makes 2 drinks)
3 oz (¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons) amber rum
1 ½ cups (1 inch) cubes of firm ripe mango (from two 1-lb mangoes), frozen
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 oz (2 tablespoons) triple sec
4 teaspoons superfine granulated sugar
2 cups ice cubes
Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
(Makes 1 drink)
1 ½ oz (3 tablespoons) light rum
½ oz (1 tablespoon) triple sec
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon maraschino liqueur or kirsch
Sparkling water to taste
Shake all the ingredients except sparkling water with 1 cup ice cubes, then strain into a tall glass filled with ice cubes. Add sparkling water and stir. Garnish with maraschino cherry.
(Makes 2 drinks)
3 oz (¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons) light rum
2 oz (¼ cup) blue Curacao
½ cup unsweetened pineapple juice
¼ cup well-stirred canned cream of coconut (not coconut milk) such as Coco Lopez
3 cups ice cubes
Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Garnish with a pineapple wedge.