Today's recipes are all wonderful winter drinks!
Organic Filtered Honey (I use my uncle's black honey)
Yeast (1 packet of fast rise is good enough for a gallon of wort)
You need a 7:1 water:honey ratio for proper fermentation with bread yeast. If you're using wine yeasts, you can make it stronger up to a 5:1 ratio. You need a fermentation lock too. I suggest buying one online or at a brew shop, but failing that; you can make your own.
Here's how you do it:
Measure and boil your water, add the measured honey, and stir to dissolve. This mixture is called wort. Pour the wort into a sterile fermentation vessel. Food-safe ceramic and glass vessels are the best. Allow to cool and add yeast. Seal and add fermentation lock. Allow to ferment in a closet or under the counter where it won't be disturbed. It's done when it stops bubbling and all the yeast settles to the bottom. If you want it to be beer-like, pour mead into sterile 1 pint jars with a teaspoon or two of honey and seal it up. Wait 2 weeks to let the beer-mead age. Wine mead is ready after fermentation is complete. Can be served warm or cold. The
sediments are quite gross, be careful to only pour off the golden
elixir for drinking. The sediments can be added to the garden or orchard
for better soil health.
Hippocras and Bochet
Hippocras is mead that has been spiced with cinnamon sticks and cardamon. You add it at the same time as you dissolve the honey, and remove it after the wort cools. Bochet is mead that is heated after fermentation with a bundle of spices in the pot. It's served warm in a mug. Don't serve warm mead in a horn or it will taste like glue.
Brianna's Famous Spiced Hot Chocolate
8 oz scalded whole milk
1 tbs mix
whipped cream and a sprinkle of grated nutmeg for the top
Warm mugs by putting them into a pan of hot water. (you dry them off before pouring in the chocolate) Whisk scalded milk and mix together until frothy, ladle into warmed mugs, top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of nutmeg.
Spiced Hot Chocolate Mix
1/4 cup Dutch process cocoa
1 tbs cinnamon
1/2 cup fine sugar (put granulated in the blender if you can't find it)
1/2 gallon of apple cider
2 cinnamon sticks
3 allspice berries
4 quarter-sized slices of fresh ginger
2 cups whiskey
Bring the cider and spices to a boil turn the burner down to warm. Add the whiskey right before your guests arrive. Stir it well
Chai means "tea" in Hindi. Masala means "spice". Chai Masala is Spiced Tea. I kind of cringe when I hear Americans say "chai tea" because it's redundant. Here are 2 recipes, 1 is from India, and the other is my own spiced tea.
Bri's Yuletide Chai Masala
bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Add 1 dried orange peel, 1/2 stick of indonesian or mexican cinnamon, a drop of vanilla, 2 cloves, and 6 tea bags (orange pekoe from Sri Lanka is the best)*. Brew until a bit darker than golden, strain out spices and teabags but don't press the tea bags. Add 1/2 cup of raw sugar (you can change this to your liking). Pour into tea cups and give a little splash of half-and-half.
Indian Chai Masala
Bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Add 1 cardamon pod, 1 cinnamon stick, 4 cloves, 1 pod of star anise, a slice of fresh ginger,and 6 tea bags of any black tea. Brew
until dark, strain out spices and teabags but don't
press the tea bags. Add 1/2 cup of raw sugar (you can change this to
your liking). Pour into tea cups and give a little splash of
Make strong coffee. Heat milk until it begins to froth in the microwave. You gotta watch it or it will end up everywhere. Add coffee to a mug, stir in a tbs of hot cocoa mix (my spiced one works), and pour in the milk. The foam on top of the milk goes on top of the latte.
My Wassail is a 1:1 ratio of hard cider to virgin cider with no spices. This is oldschool.
Make the hard cider below, combine it 50/50 with a good cider with no additives of any kind (the same cider you used for the hard cider). You now have an old Saxon classic. Enjoy warm or chilled.
Buy a good cider with no additives of any kind. Boil it for 2 minutes. This is now a wort. Pour
the wort into a sterile fermentation vessel. Food-safe ceramic and
glass vessels are the best. Allow to cool and add yeast. Seal and add
fermentation lock. Allow to ferment in a closet or under the counter
where it won't be disturbed. It's done when it stops bubbling and all
the yeast settles to the bottom. The sediments are quite gross, be careful to only pour off the golden elixir for drinking. The sediments can be added to the garden or orchard for better soil health.
Heating and Drinking Hot Sake: A Brief Tutorial
heat a small saucepan half-full of water, pour the sake or other alcoholic beverage into a ceramic tokkuri (it's a type of small Japanese decanter which can be heated in this manner). Place the tokkuri into the hot water. Put a chef's thermometer into the top of the tokkuri and heat until the sake is 140 degrees F. Remove the Tokkuri from the water and dry the outside. Serve immediately in small sake cups or fill shot glasses halfway.
* I'm kind of a tea aficionado. I collect a wide variety of single source teas. Sri Lanka produces orange pekoe tea of the highest quality. Though in this recipe, it doesn't really matter how much it cost, it matters more the location it was grown and the variety of the tea. The Chinese orange pekoe isn't nearly as good in my opinion. Though Huo Yuan Jia is rumored to have said that "No one tea is better than any other, but every man has their preference." I tend to agree.
Monday, December 3, 2012
I am a different person today than I was yesterday. I will be a different person tomorrow than I am today. You are a different person today than you were yesterday. You will be a different person tomorrow than you are today. Why is this so? People are constantly adapting to new conditions and ideas. We are always learning new things and coming to new conclusions. So, we should forgive the sins of yesterday, because the person that committed them isn't here anymore.
In the past; I've had a LOT of anger, hatred, and bitterness. I admit that I'm not perfect. In fact, I'm quite far from it. Recently, I've resolved myself to strive fora better me by adopting Guanshiyin / Kanzeon into my personal Pantheon.
This is my first indoor altar and my first statue of a Goddess... Kanzeon-sama. The mirror represents truth and sincerity, the magatama (comma-shaped bead in front of the mirror) represents benevolence. The rice, salt, tea leaves, sake, and incense are all offerings. The fan and suzu bells are ritual items used in kagura (sacred dance). The nusa (wand with paper streamers) is used to drive away negative essences in purification rituals. The sword on the left is a Yorishiro (item which attracts divine essences and can act as a place for them to rest).
Wikipedia article on Kanzeon-sama
Kanzeon-sama is a very powerful deity. I already feel a difference in my mood though I've just begun using her mantra and praying to her. I began doing this because I want to cultivate in myself, the qualities which she exhibits. I want to be at peace, hating no one, loving all, and to be free from bitterness, anger, and aggressiveness.
Kanzeon's 8 sylable mantra (in Japanese): Namu Kanzeon botatsu.
The English translation is: Hail, Regard the World’s Cries, Bodhisattva.