Drinks

Hot white chocolate in a glass cup with marshmallow plus chocolate and grapefruit biscotti

Brr…Its Cold

Unless you have been living under a rock, you are probably familiar with the term polar vortex at this point. Thankfully,  Boston had been cold but not especially bitter. We only bottomed out at -15F with wind chill on Thursday. Through the midst of it all, I just wanted a cup of hot chocolate, so I made myself a hot white chocolate.

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a muddler in a glass cup with basil and balckberry. There is a cut orange and basil leaves around it.

Craving Water

a muddler in a glass cup with basil and balckberry. There is a cut orange and basil leaves around it.

For a while there I was without a water bottle. I had used the same glass bottle for a few years and not the top was faulty. I went from always having a bottle of water handy to constantly being thirsty. In my quest to find what will quench my thirst this winter, I made Blackberry Basil water

This winter, as I have stared focusing more on what I put in my body, water has become a priority. I replaced that faulty bottle with a slick black silicon bottle. It was cheap and beautiful so it felt right in the moment.

a glass cup with smash blackberry on the bottom. the glass is filled with ice and sparkling water. A sprig of basil sits on the rim.

The thing though is that no matter how beautiful the bottle, I still feel like I am not drinking enough winter. Sometimes I catch myself just before I go to bed at night feeling parched and thirsty. I get out of bed for that one long gulp of water to see me through hibernation.

I think I need to become more deliberate about my hydration. The other day I made this flavored water. As you might know from the way I talk about food, I love to smell thing on their way to my mouth. This blackberry basil water is no different. The color is beautiful and the smell is divine. I was skeptical using blackberry in the middle of winter. But, I found that punnet that was shipped from Mexico so my conscience was assuaged enough to buy it.

Anyway, consider this a PSA for you to drink more water. Don’t let yourself be parched and wrinkled from dehydration.

Sparkle!

Carbonated Pineapple Citron drink

Have you have discovered a fruit and then become obsessed with? That’s the story of my relationship with citron, aka Buddha’s hand. I had never seen it and suddenly it was everywhere last winter. One of the fascinating thing about citron is that it can be consumed like an orange because it has no juice. It is basically all zest and rind. Its limitation made it perfect for this Pineapple Citron syrup.

Citron has a zesty smell with floral overtones. It is the floral notes in its oil that I find most intoxicating when I cook with this lovely fruit. When I was thinking of how to balance the syrup, I decided to pair it with lemongrass. Lemongrass, as the name implies, has some of the same notes as lemon with grassiness. Smell is an important part of the experience of drinking. When I build my syrups, I am very conscious of the fact that there is a lot of sugar and sometimes limited palette for taste. By thinking about the nose, I can further enhance the experience of drinking.

A bottle filled with clear yellow pineapple citron syrup with the crown of the pineapple fruit.

The Pineapple Citron syrup is focused heavily on smell, but it also tastes smashingly good. I have always loved the way pineapple feels in the mouth. Chilling down that pineapple taste and then carbonating it makes a massive difference. That’s why for mixing the syrup, I chose crisp sparkling water.

One tip for making this syrup: The Pineapple Citron Syrup taste best when the pineapple is just about to rot. The whole and uncut pineapple is ready when you can smell it in the room and it starts to attract flies. Really! I usually buy a ripe pineapple from the store and just let it hangout in my house for a couple of weeks.

Pineapple Citron Syrup

A lovely pineapple syrup enhanced with the addition of citron and lemongrass. Perfect for mixing mocktails, cocktails and flavoring desserts.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Chilling time2 hrs
Total Time35 mins
Course: Drinks
Keyword: Buddha’s Hand, Citron, lemongrass, Pineapple

Ingredients

  • 1 Pineapple Overripe
  • 1 Citron Small
  • 1 Lemongrass stalk
  • 2 cups Sugar

Instructions

  • Cut off the crown of the pineapple. Wash the skin of the pineapple thoroughly then chop the pineapple into chunks. Cut the citron into pieces as well. Smash the lemongrass open with a rolling pin or dull edge of a knife.
  • Arrange the pineapple, citron, and lemongrass in a medium pot. Pour the sugar over the mix and add in 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Once it boils, reduce heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off heat.
  • Let the syrup cool down in the pot for about 30 minutes. Strain out the syrup. Don’t be afraid to press down on the pulp in the pot to get the juices flowing out.
  • To get that super clear syrup, I strain a second time through two layers of coffee filter.
Golden Turmeric Milk in a transparent glass jar

Winter’s Milky Brew

Golden Turmeric Milk in a transparent glass jar

Like so many Americans, I have only recently discovered the magic of turmeric. In the last few years, turmeric has become a recognized superfood in the Western world because of its anti-inflammatory powers. No wonder a milky brew made of turmeric is called Golden Milk. The Golden Turmeric Milk is one of the pleasures of winter.

I regularly make golden turmeric milk in the winter when it starts to snow. There is something about warming up with a creamy cup of turmeric spice cooked in coconut milk or almond milk. For the recipe below, I have used half almond milk and half coconut milk. The combination of milk makes it extravagant. You can choose to use any kind of milk that taste best to you.

Golden Turmeric Milk in a transparent glass jar

One caveat I feel like I need to add before you try this recipe is the staining capability of turmeric. Turmeric stains everything. I won’t recommend cutting turmeric on white chopping. The yellow hue of the turmeric is stunning, but you don’t want to live with physical memories of golden turmeric milk. I recommend using glassware and metals when making this brew.

PS Don’t be tempted to omit the black pepper! You need a combination of turmeric and black pepper to get the anti-inflammatory effect. Or turmeric and ginger also work well together.

Turmeric Milk/Golden Milk

Turmeric is one of my favorite ingredients in the winter. It is a highly functional food that is anti-inflammatory. This milk is what I reach for on those days when I have shoveled too many inches of snow and I just need something soothing
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Drinks
Keyword: golden milk, golden turmeric milk, turmeric, turmeric milk
Servings: 1
Author: Sinmi

Ingredients

  • 8 oz Light Coconut Milk
  • 8 oz Almond Milk
  • 1/4 cup Whole Almonds
  • 6 Pieces Tumeric chopped
  • Salt a pinch
  • 1/4 tbsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Maple Syrup optional

Instructions

  • In a dark-colored saucepan, bring the almond milk, coconut milk, chopped turmeric, and whole almonds to a boil for about 5 minutes.
  • Transfer to a blender, then add in the salt, black pepper, and maple syrup before blending.
  • Strain out the husk of almond and turmeric. Then serve!
a glass of grapefruit papaya smoothie surrounded by cut citrus fruit and a half papaya

Sunday Calls

a glass of grapefruit papaya smoothie surrounded by cut citrus fruit and a half papaya

My Sundays are for family. Although I live far away from my family, this is the day I have chosen to reconnect with them. I make phone calls to my mother and my sister. I spend a considerable amount of time trying to find a cozy place to settle myself while I gab. This grapefruit papaya smoothie is one of the foods I use to power my conversations.

I am a creature of habit. Staying in my comfort zone means creating routines that allow me to feel grounded even as my life changes. Talking to my mom on Sunday is one of the habits that keeps me grounded. It is a routine I have had in place for almost half of my life. No matter where I have lived, my mother knows I will call her on Sunday. It is something she has come to look forward to. On the rare Sunday that I don’t call, I feel guilty and she feels worried. So, I unless it is completely unavoidable, the Sunday call is a sacred part of my life.

half papaya and slices of limes and grapefruit

The first time I saw the grapefruit papaya combination, I believe it was on a package of baby food. It was one of those things that I laughed at. But in the spirit of discovering new foods, I tried to replicate it with the grapefruit papaya smoothie. The last laugh is on me.

It is an undeniably interesting combination, I know. And it is one I never thought would work. Somehow, three years later, I am still regularly reaching for a grapefruit papaya smoothie. As much as I loathe the process of making this smoothie because I have to segment a whole grapefruit, it is worth the effort. Especially when I make it ahead and I can treat myself to a glass of chilled grapefruit papaya smoothie.

Grapefruit Papaya Smoothie

A tangy and cream smoothie featuring grapefruit and papaya.
Prep Time10 mins
Course: Drinks
Keyword: Grapefruit, grapefruit papaya smoothie, papaya, smoothie
Servings: 1

Ingredients

  • 1 Grapefruit segmented
  • 1/2 Papaya Peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 Lime optional

Instructions

  • Add the grapefruit segments and papaya cube into a blender. Also, pour in any juice that might have dripped from segmenting the grapefruit. Blend the mixture until it is a smooth and creamy consistency.
  • Pour into a cup. Squeeze the wedge of lime on the smoothie just before drinking. The lime juice adds dimension.
A glass of st.clements drink

Clementines for St.Clements

A flatlay of st.clements drink surrounded by oranges, lime and clementine

The St.Clements drink is a classic mocktail. Since I am that person that just can’t let things be, I decided to play around with the recipe for the St.Clements. A classic version of the St. Clements features orange juice and bitter lemon. It actually sounds really yummy.

I decided to play on the name of St.Clements drink by using clementine juice. It is the middle of winter and there is an abundance of citrus around. One of the reasons why I wanted something other than orange juice is because I find it a bit much. Clementine juice is much softer and has a floral note when compared to an orange.

Citrus for st. clements

For the lemonade or bitter lemon aspect of this St. Clements drink, I made my own syrup. It pretty much follows the formula for the Grapefruit Thyme syrup I shared before. Except, I am using a mix of lemon and lime in this recipe.

The other adjustment to the classic recipe is using a mix of ginger beer and sparkling water to finish up the drink. The ginger adds a bit of heat to the drink to compliment the hint of florals from the clementine and the bitterness of the lemon-lime syrup.

A glass of st.clements drink

I have a feeling this St.Clements is about to be a drink I reach for constantly. It is such a ready palette to play to with other flavors like basil or even a bit of thyme. I also imagine that infusing some jalapeno into the lemon-lime syrup would make for a memorable drink.

Let me know if you try this recipe. Follow me on Instagram and use the hashtag #willeatthis.

St. Clements

A play on the classic orange juice drink, St. Clements, features clementine juice and lemon-lime syrup.
Prep Time5 mins
Course: Drinks
Keyword: clementine, ginger beer, lemon, lime, mocktail, st.clements
Servings: 1 Serving
Author: Sinmi

Ingredients

  • 3 oz Clementine juice I found that this is the juice of 1.5 clementine
  • 3 oz Lemon-lime syrup
  • 3 oz Ginger beer
  • Sparkling Water
  • Ice

Instructions

  • In a drink shaker, add in ice, clementine juice, lemon-lime syrup. Shake.
  • Strain the clementine juice mix into a tall glass. Add in the ginger beer. Top it off with sparkling water to taste.

Notes

The lemon-lime syrup in this recipe refers to my recipe for Grapefruit Thyme syrup. Also, I only added a few ounces of ginger beer because I wanted slight heat. If you prefer, you can top the drink up completely with ginger beer. You can also entirely skip the ginger beer and just use sparkling water. This drink is versatile.

Grapefruit and Tonic Drink

Let’s redefine the meaning of a G and T! It shall henceforth be known as Grapefruit and Tonic.

The other day I was shopping and I found that the Fevertree Indian Tonic water was on sale. Thinking about the tonic water took me back to my childhood in Nigeria. Back in those days, when you go buy a crate of soda ,the seller would want to mix the variety of the 24 bottles. It would be split between the ever popular cola drinks, then the orange soda as well as lemon and lime ones. The most unpopular flavor was always tonic water.

A jar of grapefruit and thyme syrup behind a cup containing a drink made with the syrup and tonic water.  A wedge of grapefruit sits on the edge of the glass cup.

Every party we held, the tonic water was always the last one to be consumed. A lot of people just could not stand the taste since it was just sugar laden like the other soda options. Eventually, someone desperate for a drink would grab the tonic water. The memory of the interesting flavor of the tonic water compelled me to buy a bottle of the Fevertree Indian Tonic. I figured I would eventually figure out how to use it. It was only while I was mixing myself a drink with the Grapefruit and Thyme Syrup that I realized that I should try the tonic.

Oh my goodness! It was so delicious; I knew I had to write down the recipe. So here is my non-alcoholic version of the G and T! This Grapefruit and Tonic drink is beyond words. It is not too sweet. It has the bitterness from the syrup but the freshness of the grapefruit juice. Of course, the subtle tingle of the tonic water and the grapefruit oil elevates the bubbles in this drink. The Grapefruit and Tonic is a mocktail for the adult palette.

Please let me know if you try it! Don’t forget to use #willeatthis when you post a picture on Instagram.

Grapefruit and Tonic Drink

G and T now mean Grapefruit and Tonic. Once you try this very delicious and refreshing mocktail, you would understand. The drink features the Grapefruit Thyme syrup.
Prep Time5 mins
Course: Drinks
Keyword: Grapefruit, mocktail, nonalcoholic
Servings: 1 Drink
Author: Sinmi

Ingredients

  • 2 oz Grapefruit Juice
  • 1.5 oz Grapefruit and Thyme Syrup
  • 4 oz Tonic Water
  • 1/2 Cup Cocktail Ice

Instructions

  • In a glass cup, add in the grapefruit juice. Also,  pour in the grapefruit and thyme syrup. Stir
  • Add in the ice on top of syrup and juice mixture in the glass cup. Top it off with the tonic water.

Grapefruit and Thyme Syrup

A closed jar filled with slices of pink grapefruit and sprigs of thyme in syrup against a white background

There are days when I get really frustrated and the way I communicate is by text to my dearest saying, “Today is a good day to drink.” I will usually get a response reminding me that I don’t drink alcohol and that it is not a good time to try. We laugh over it and I move on. Mostly, I get annoyed about my teetotal status when I dine out and my options are severely limited.

Alcohol is such a big part of many cultures. Due to the prominence of alcohol, it is so normal to see many alcoholic options on the menu. Even private functions often have varied options for alcoholic drinks. Non-alcoholic drinks tend to be very few with mostly soda. Many times I have gone for food-centric events that featured different kind of wines and beers but nothing for the non-drinker. Bartenders in their kindness would often offer me a cup of soda for free. Sometimes I am stuck drinking water because I just don’t want to drink soda.

Even when there are non-alcoholic menus at the restaurant, it tends to be designed more to suit the palette of a child. Hence, the ubiquitousness of Shirley Temple and other color heavy drinks with an overpowering presence of sugar. I don’t have anything against sugar. I just believe that it is possible to drink non-alcoholic drinks that are not overly reliant on sugar. There is a whole world of non-alcoholic drinks that can be created with complex flavor profiles.

One of my favorite ways to create complex flavors in drinks is to play with citrus. Citrus fruit like orange would feature a juicy center, white pith, and the skin/zest. Each part of the citrus has a different flavor that can be played up in a drink. The often sweet and acidic center is often the most used part of the citrus fruit. For me, I find that because I love bitterness as a flavor, the pith of the citrus fruit is valuable. The zest of the fruit often contains the oil as well as the scent of the fruit. Smell is a huge part of the experience of having a drink. By using the zest of citrus fruit in a drink, it is possible to greater sensual experience in a single drink.

This thought process is what inspires me to create drink mixes like this grapefruit thyme syrup. The use of the whole grapefruit in this recipe creates a balance of flavors without any harshness. The final taste of the drink can be manipulated by adding in other flavors and textures.

The easiest way to use this syrup is to mix it with sparkling water. By playing with the ratio of grapefruit thyme syrup to sparkling water, the flavor intensity of the drink can be manipulated. The syrup can also be used to add flavor to baked goods, either by soaking the baked goods or using it to make icing.

For something a bit more fun than just sparkling water, check out the Grapefruit and Tonic Drink.

Grapefruit Thyme Syrup

As a non-alcoholic drink mixer, this syrup celebrating the wholeness of the grapefruit. the syrup features a bitterness that allows the delicate flavor of the grapefruit to shine through. 
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Resting Time12 hrs
Total Time15 mins
Course: Drinks
Keyword: Grapefruit, Grapefruit Thyme
Servings: 10
Author: Sinmi

Ingredients

  • 2 Grapefruit
  • 2 Cups Sugar
  • 3 Sprigs Thyme leaves

Instructions

  • Rinse and cut the whole grapefruit into thin slice. Transfer into a jar with the thyme leaves
  • In a saucepan, add in 1 cup of water and the 2 cups of sugar. Bring the sugar solution to gentle simmer into the sugar crystals have melted. You now have syrup. Allow the syrup to cool to room temperature.
  • Pour the syrup over the grapefruit and thyme. Cover the grapefruit mixture with a tight lid. Place in a fridge for at least 12 hours. Preferably about 48 hours. This allows the grapefruit and thyme to infuse properly into the syrup.