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The making of absinthe

The Making of Absinthe

Absinthe recipes abound in bartender’s literature. Whether you are looking to make a palate-pleasing French absinthe or an astringent version of Spanish absinthe, here are some basic rules — as well as variations on the general theme.

Your first step is to procure what’s known as a “neutral spirit.” This can be vodka, grain alcohol, or wine. (Traditionally, wine has been used in the most respected commercial formulations.) Make sure your base isn’t too concentrated or flavorful. Your next step is to “macerate” the spirit with a prepared batch of herbs. In general, for every three quarters of a liter of spirit, add a third a cup of herbs. In the Spanish formulation, herbs include: wormwood, anise seeds, angelica root, and coriander. For the Winston La F?e Verte formulation, use wormwood, anise, angelica root, peppermint leaf and hyssop. Other spices to add could include thyme, cardamom, lemon balm, mint, nutmeg, and sage. Please note, however, that if you use a lot of sage, star anise, wormwood or nutmeg, you may toxify or partially toxify the absinthe. One of the reasons why absinthe is banned or regulated in so many countries is that certain preparations contain a chemical called thujone, which can damage receptors in the central nervous system. A small amount of thujone won’t likely cause a toxic reaction, but if you are making a home formulation, avoid using wormwood stems or macerating your spirit for more than a few months.

Keep the absinthe in a cool location at a constant temperature away from sunlight. Once this process is finished, distill the beverage. This will leave you with a liquid that’s not suited for drinking – it will likely be brown in color and highly astringent. Next, you will need to “finish” the batch to produce appropriate coloration and taste. You can finish with an array of herbs (and even wormwood). Common herbs used in finish include hyssop, melissa, peppermint leaf, and mint.

An alternative way to go is to create multiple distillates with separate flavors to mix later to taste. For instance, you can create a pure “anise” absinthe as well as a pure “peppermint” absinthe and then mix them after the process is finished to create a flavor, color, and bitterness level to your taste.

After macerating the finish, filter the absinthe again and prepare for either bottling or consumption. You can play with both the coloration and taste even at this stage. Add corn syrup or Splenda to sweeten the brew. Alternatively, dilute the beverage with water or add vodka or another base spirit to punch up its alcohol content.

Be aware that if you use too many herbs or too strong a maceration in your preparation, your drink will likely end up tasting bitter or overwhelming. You might also overwhelm the wispy natural green color of the concoction if you steep too long. Conversely, if you add too much base spirit, you can overwhelm the flavoring. If you water the absinthe down too much, you will get an effect known as “louching” — your beverage will cloud.

Once you finish your formulation, you can bottle the absinthe in mason jars, bottles or other glass casings. Be sure to keep your absinthe corked, stored in a cool dark place, and rotated regularly to ensure evenness of flavor and body.

Not all absinthes must be made via distillation. You can find herbal kits (on the internet and elsewhere), which can help you make absinthe, bypassing the distillation stage. You can also create what is known as clear absinthe (also known as Suisse la Bleue), in which there is no finish applied. Although the Suisse la Bleue will be clear (or near clear), you can still taste the flavor traces left over by the initial maceration.

Make sure to prepare all of your ingredients on clean surfaces. Vary up your blend of preparatory herbs to explore different finished products. In fact, you can vary your recipe practically every step! Experiment with the fineness of your herbal preparation, the dimensions of your storage containers, the temperatures at which you store the beverage, the duration of maceration (both initial and finished), the type and strength of the base spirit, your method of filtration and distillation, and the length of time you age your finished product. Above all, make sure that you enjoy the process — experiment often, but experiment safely.

Weight loss tea – the facts

Weight Loss Tea – The Facts

The key to losing weight is to drastically reduce the amount of calories you consume, for some this can prove to be very difficult. When you lower your calorie intake this can often make you feel hungry which can deplete energy levels and cause mood swings. Many weight loss experts claim that hunger pangs can be suppressed by drinking weight loss tea.

There are many different varieties of weight loss tea to choose from; amongst those are Herbal teas, Green teas, Chinese teas and Oolong tea.

Green Tea is probably the most recognised weight loss tea. The manufacturers of some blends of Green Tea maintain that it will reduce your appetite by up to 60% which results in very speedy weight loss. It is also known to increase your metabolism enabling you to burn more calories. Particular brands of Green weight loss tea are believed to regulate blood sugar resulting in a lesser need to snack or binge on food.

Herbal teas have been well-liked by many for centuries, even those not wishing to lose weight. This particular variety of weight loss tea may contain ingredients such as Garcinia, Cambogia, Cinnamomum, Tamala, Guggal, Senna leaves and Fennel aniseed. Herbal weight loss teas are thought to increase fat and calorie burning which in turn, help speed up weight loss. There is a wide array of different teas dedicated to bring relief to a particular ailment and herbal tea in particular is famously noted for its soothing properties.

Chinese weight loss tea otherwise known as Wu Long tea is supposed to dissolve body fat by reducing the volume of insulin that rises that is caused from eating carbohydrates. Wu Long tea is reported to enhance your energy level twice as much as usual which means more calories are burnt on a daily basis while drinking this tea. Other benefits of Chinese weight loss tea include stronger teeth, a clearer complexion, boosted immune system and a peaceful mind.

Oolong tea was first discovered in the Fujian Province of China. A popular weight loss tea and heavily endorsed by Hollywood stars. It contains Polyphenols that are renowned to lower triglycerides in the blood and reduce the amount of body fat. Polyphenol also has a great effect on the general health of the body by helping to eradicate free radicals. Additional benefits of Oolong tea include a reduced risk of atopic dermatitis and tooth decay.

Weight loss tea is an excellent additional supplement to a proper diet and exercise. As you can see tea offers a huge range of benefits but it should be used alongside a proper routine not sorely as the only source of weight loss. It is advisable that you see your physician before you undergo any new exercise or weight loss program.

The art of blending herbal teas

The Art of Blending Herbal Teas

Art is defined as "the quality, production, expression, or realm of what is beautiful, or of more than ordinary significance." A finely blended herbal tea can be just that; a colorful blend of herbs, varying textures, contrasting and complimenting flavors to create an extraordinary cup of tea. With a little creativity and experimentation, the pleasure of creating your own blend can be a rewarding and enjoyable artistic outlet.

Before you begin blending herbs for tea, you should know what the herbs taste like individually. Make up simple teas with one herb at a time until you become familiar with the various flavors. During this process it is best to drink the tea unsweetened. Sit back, savor and enjoy.

As you begin blending, start with equal measurements of the herbs (except lavender, licorice and the spices that tend to overpower a tea if used too freely). You will find it helpful to keep a journal of your creations, including notes on the teas made with just one herb. Combining herbs will tend to alter the taste of the individual herbs so although you may not care too much for one, adding another herb to the blend may create an enjoyable tea. Part of blending involves finding the herbs that enhance or complement each other to your liking. For some, herbal teas are an acquired taste much like a fine wine.

Here is a list of some of the more popular beverage tea herbs categorized by flavor to get you started.

Florals – lavender, jasmine, rose petals, chamomile, red clover, chrysanthemum

Lemony/Citrus – lemon balm, lemon verbena, lemongrass, orange, lemon or lime peel

Tart – hibiscus, rose hips

Spicy – cinnamon, clove, ginger, cardamom

Sweet – licorice, fruits, stevia, aniseed, fennel

Woodsy – sage, rosemary, thyme, marjoram

Mints – peppermint, spearmint, bee balm, catnip, hyssop

Herbal teas can provide the additional benefits of being healthy, nutritious, and healing. Although this article is intended to discuss beverage teas, consideration can be given to the healing qualities of the herbs used in your blend.

Following are the more traditional uses of some of the herbs you may use in your teas.

Peppermint is calming and aids digestion. Catnip is relaxing, aids digestion, and is known to promote a restful night’s sleep. Lavender is calming and good for relieving stress headaches. Hibiscus, rose hips and lemongrass are all high in vitamin C. Chamomile is soothing, promotes sleep, and eases stomachaches. Ginger is warming, stops nausea, and relieves headaches. Rosemary eases anxiety, depression and tension headaches. Thyme is a decongestant and strong infection fighter.

Teas can be blended with just taste in mind, the healing properties to be gained, or a combination of the two.

Some ideas to get you started on creating your own custom blends:

An iced tea made with equal parts of peppermint and lemon balm

Lavender and lemongrass

Hibiscus, rose hips, lemon verbena and orange peel

Orange peel, cinnamon, clove, ginger and licorice

Rosemary, sage and fennel seed

Be creative, give your tea blend a name. Package them in decorative tins with a muslin herb bag or strainer as gifts. Have fun and enjoy.

A wonderful supplier of organic and wildcrafted herbs is Mountain Rose Herbs.

Does green tea have caffeine

Does Green Tea Have Caffeine?

You have heard all about green tea how it has many health benefits and could even help you lose weight. Nevertheless, you may be wondering does green tea have caffeine? Moreover, if so how much? To many diet products depend on caffeine to stimulate calorie burn, and too much caffeine can have a detrimental effect on health so it is important to know.

Caffeine

Green tea actually contains about a third of the amount of caffeine of a cup of coffee. It contains two coffee metabolites, theophylline, and theobromine.

Thophylline is caffeine like substance that is actually more potent than caffeine. It should be noted that the presence of this substance in green tea is merely a trace amount. Nevertheless, the properties of it should be discussed. The main actions of this substance are as follows:

• Relaxing the bronchial muscle
• Increases heart muscle function
• Raises heart rate
• Increased blood pressure
• Increases renal blood flow
• Anti-inflammatory effects
• Stimulates the central nervous system Theobromine is the weaker of the two caffeine like substances found in tea. It is most commonly found in the cocoa plant but is also present in tea to a lesser degree. The positive effects of theobromine are:
• Blood vessel dilator
• Diuretic
• Heart stimulant
• Anti cough effect better than codeine
• Effective in asthma as it relaxes the smooth muscles including those found in the bronchi.

The benefits of these two substances are noted when using extracts of them. The amount in green tea is much lower than recommended therapeutic dosage. The lower levels in it can still be beneficial and at the very least not as harmful as traditional caffeine intake.

Conclusion

Does green tea have caffeine? Yes but in smaller amounts than coffee. The difference with green tea is the fact that the tealeaves are not oxidized. This means that the tealeaves have not been processed in a manner, which releases oxygen, and therefore have retained all their nutrients.

Nutrients present in green tea include, iron, potassium, carotene, and vitamins B1, B2, A, C and D. These nutrients are what make this type of tea a healthy alternative to other caffeinated beverages.

The fact that the answer to the question, does green tea have caffeine, is yes does not mean that green tea is bad for you or should be avoided. Taken responsibly it is better for you than most of the alternatives.

August 2019
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