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5 Cool Iced Tea Cocktails To Enjoy On A Hot Summer Day

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iced tea cocktails

Iced tea is refreshing on a hot summer day, but it usually leaves something to be desired ― namely booze. The following tea cocktails add flavor and fun to any sunny afternoon on the porch.

First: A Tea Cocktail How-To

Just like any good drink, tea cocktails rely on your ability to combine high-quality ingredients using the proper techniques and equipment. Just like you wouldn’t dare use bottom-shelf bourbon to make your Dad an Old Fashioned, you should avoid skimping on the ingredients for the following tea cocktails.

It should go without saying that a bleached bag of Lipton’s won’t do; instead, you should be purchasing from a reputable purveyor of exceptional teas, like BuddhaTeas.com. It is equally important that you brew the tea properly, which is likely more difficult than you think. Here’s a simple step-by-step for the perfect cup:

  • Pour freshly drawn cold water into the kettle.
  • Remove kettle once water reaches a gentle boil.
  • Pour hot water into teapot, and then pour out.
  • Place tea leaves in teapot.
  • Allow water in kettle to cool slightly, and then add to teapot.
  • Steep for recommended amount of time.
  • Strain out tea leaves, and enjoy.

Using water that is too hot or steeping for too long will produce bitter, foul-tasting tea, which will only ruin your refreshing cocktail. You need both the right tea and the right technique to succeed with the following recipes.

John Daly

This boozy version of an Arnold Palmer is sweet, tart, and tasty. The original recipe simply adds vodka to a mixture of lemonade and iced tea, but this variation uses a lemon-flavored vodka, like Grey Goose’s Le Citron, for more flavor. For six servings, you’ll need the following:

  • 6 ounces hot water
  • 4 bags black tea
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 12 ounces lemon-flavored vodka

Steep the tea in the hot water for 5 to 10 minutes, and then mix in the honey. Chill in the fridge for about 10 minutes before adding the lemon juice and vodka. Top with ice and serve.

Jim Dandy

Spicy and warming ― despite being chilled ― the Jim Dandy is not a famous cocktail, but it should be. This cocktail is just as good on a summer evening as it is in the dead of winter. To make a pitcher for six, you’ll need the following:

  • 3 ounces hot water
  • 2 bags chai tea
  • 12 ounces spiced rum
  • 18 ounces ginger beer
  • 6 ounces pear juice
  • The juice of 3 limes
  • 3 teaspoons of fresh grated ginger
  • 12 dashes of bitters

Steep the chai tea in the water for 5 minutes, and allow it to cool completely. Fill a pitcher halfway with ice, and then pour in the spiced rum, ginger beer, juices, ginger, and tea. Top with the bitters, and stir to mix.

Golden Jasmine Martini

Summer is when the jasmine blooms, and the aroma is so intoxicating you probably wish you could drink it up. With this tea cocktail, you definitely can. For six servings, you’ll need the following:

  • 3 bags jasmine green tea
  • 6 ounces hot water
  • 3.5 ounces vodka or gin
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Chill your martini glasses in the freezer for at least a half-hour. Steep the jasmine green tea in the water for 5 minutes, and then stir in the honey. Pour the mixture into a cocktail shaker over ice and add the vodka or gin. Shake well, and strain into martini glasses for serving.

Chamomile Tequila Sour

Tequila has a strong flavor ― especially high-quality tequilas like Fortaleza Blanco ― which makes it the perfect partner for sweet, mild chamomile tea. Unlike most tequila drinks, this one is meant to be sipped slowly and serenely on a still summer evening. To make enough for six, you’ll need the following:

  • 4 bags chamomile tea
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 6 ounces lime juice
  • 10 ounces tequila
  • 1/2 cup salt

Heat water and sugar until boiling, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and steep the chamomile tea in the syrup for 30 minutes. Remove the tea, and allow mixture to cool. In a pitcher, combine the chamomile syrup, lime juice, and tequila. Rim serving glasses with salt, pour in the cocktail, and enjoy.

Earl Grey Gin

One of the few varieties of tea that Americans can name, Earl Grey has a cachet as distinctive as its flavor. This cocktail will give you a noticeable energy boost even as the warm summer sun lulls you to sleep. For six servings, you’ll need the following:

  • 36 ounces water
  • 6 bags Earl Grey tea
  • 7 1/2 ounces gin
  • 7 1/2 ounces simple syrup
  • 3 ounces lemon juice

Steep the tea for five minutes, then remove bags and chill the tea in the fridge. Combine all ingredients in a pitcher, and stir well. Pour into individual glasses over ice, and serve.

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From Cocktails To Mocktails: 3 Boozy Drinks With Non-Alcoholic Variations

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The summer season is fast approaching, and many people choose to enjoy it by drinking nice, cool cocktails under the warm, summer sun. Of course, there will be days when an alcoholic drink won’t work for any number of reasons. Maybe you want to enjoy the taste of a mimosa but not the late-afternoon hangover or drowsiness. Perhaps you really want that screwdriver at your favorite cocktail house, but you already volunteered to be the designated driver. Or maybe you could choose to avoid alcohol altogether as part of a sober lifestyle.

Even if consuming alcohol is a no-go, the idea of a delicious, mixed drink on a relaxing day or energetic night out still could sound appealing to you or someone else. Mocktails are a safe and healthy alternative to the original concoction.

The term “mocktails” originated during the 1970s and ever since has been a savior for people who want the delightful taste of a mixed drink but with one specific ingredient missing.

A few classic alcoholic recipes can be tinkered with to create non-alcoholic masterpieces. These variations of popular cocktails either replace alcohol with the ideal replacement ingredient or drop the booze altogether. Vodka becomes ginger ale. Champagne becomes grape juice.

In the end, the alcohol might be missing but the taste is nearly identical to, if not better than, the original.

The Mockmosa

The Recovery Village has a useful summary of how to craft the non-alcoholic version of this brunch-time favorite. They also offer treatment for anyone struggling with substance abuse like the Ohio drug rehab. Mimosas are usually created by combining orange juice with champagne or sparkling wine.

This Mockmosa recipe trades the champagne out for some sparkling white grape juice, which makes a perfect non-alcoholic replacement. Look for grape juice brands that are dry in flavor, with little or no sugar or corn syrup, to replicate the champagne taste. Combine them in a champagne flute and, if you want to add a unique touch, garnish the drink with a mint sprig.

Non-Alcoholic Screwdriver

Usually, screwdrivers are made by combining vodka and orange juice. Replacing the alcoholic ingredient with ginger ale doesn’t drop the tastiness level at all. Leaf.Tv shows how to prepare this variation of the simple two-ingredient mixture.

Start with ice cubes, fill half the glass with ginger ale, and then top it off with a pulpy orange juice brand of your choice. Finish the process with a swizzle stick to combine the two liquid ingredients until the colors have swirled together to mimic a screwdriver. Before the ice melts, sit back and drink up.

Virgin Cucumber Mojito

This smooth-tasting drink is a favorite when temperatures rise and the summer season hits its peak. The alcoholic version includes rum, but it’s not really necessary to create the drink’s refreshing taste. A Frugal Chick has a great alternative to this classic, and the only change is dropping the alcoholic ingredient. Combine one lime, some mint leaves, white sugar, two cucumber slices, ice cubes and soda together for another version of perfection.

Cocktails are a staple of American drinking culture, especially at restaurants or bars with a group of friends or on a date. In the summer, they become staples for days spent by the pool or on the beach. But don’t give up — or give in to temptation — if you originally hoped to spend your day or night without any alcohol. These mocktails not only flatter the originals with their imitation, but they sometimes raise the bar even higher.

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Space Beer Is The Final Frontier Of Beer

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Vostok Space Beer

If you’ve ever seen people drink those little travel bottles of booze on an airplane because they are nervous about flying, imagine what you’re going to need when you are flying toward outer space to stay in one of those fancy space hotels.

Space Beer, that’s what you need. It will help you to blast off while you’re blasting off. Hailed as the world’s first beer for space, Vostok Space beer is specially designed to be drunken in space. Is that proper English? You’ll get drunken in space alright.

Anyway, 4 Pines Brewing Company and Saber Astronautics have teamed up to not only create a space beer but also a space beer bottle so people can drink it in space. Why? Because, beer.

These guys know that space travel is our destiny and they want to be ready with the necessary beverages. As they point out on their Indiegogo page, there is now more recreational space flights that have been booked than there have been astronauts in space in the last 57 years.

Vostok Space Beer

Space tourism is happening, and soon. Do you want to take your trip without beer? Of course not. Whether it’s a suborbital flight or a trip to Mars, a beer would be great. You need a space beer bottle because physics are different in space. There’s no gravity for the liquid to pour. They equate it to making a fuel tank for beer.

This is a noble cause. When you are that first tourist on the moon, you’ll stop and say, *BURP* “That’s one small burp for man, one giant burp for mankind.”

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If You’re A Fan Of Jack Daniel’s, You’ve Got To Make The Pilgrimage To Lynchburg

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Jack Daniel's Distillery

Earlier this month, the folks at Jack Daniel’s flew us down to Lynchburg, Tennessee to visit the iconic Jack Daniel’s Distillery, where the world-famous Old No. 7 has been produced for over 150 years, to learn firsthand about how their Tennessee Whiskey is made.

As someone who’s been drinking Jack Daniel’s for the greater part of 20 years, I was excited to learn more about the brand’s history of making whiskey, and the man behind it.

Our journey began in Nashville, about an hour and a half north of Lynchburg. During our ride to the distillery, our guide gave us some history about Jasper Newton Daniel (Jack), and the interesting road that led him to start Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey.

Jack Daniel's Distillery

Born in 1849, Jack Daniel was the youngest of 10 children, with his mother dying shortly after his birth (likely due to complications from childbirth). A few years later, his father remarried and had another 3 children with his new wife. Jack leaves home at a very young age and he is taken in by Reverend Dan Call, where he works on the family farm. And on his farm, he had a still, which Jack quickly took interest in it.

It’s here where Jack learns the art of whiskey making from the preacher and his head distiller, Nathan “Nearest” Green. In 1866, Call decides to focus on his calling as a minister, selling his whiskey business to Jack. Jack in turn hires Nearest as his Master Distiller. A few years later, they open the now-famous distillery in Lynchburg, and the rest is history.

Jack Daniel's Assistant Master Distiller Chris Fletcher

A short while later, we arrived at the Jack Daniel’s Distillery, and gathered together for a VIP tour hosted by none other than Assistant Master Distiller Chris Fletcher! As you can imagine, he’s got extensive knowledge of the whiskey making process, which he shared with us in great detail as he took us through the entire facility.

Not only that, but Fletcher is actually the grandson of retired Master Distiller Frank Bobo, the distillery’s fifth master distiller from 1966-89. Needless to say, whiskey is in his blood.

Jack Daniel's Distillery

The first stop on our tour was Cave Spring Hollow, which houses Lynchburg’s greatest natural resource – clean, pure, spring water. The cave’s layers of limestone naturally impart a variety of minerals to the water which contribute to Jack Daniel’s character. More importantly, the limestone also removes iron (which is bad if you are making whiskey) from the water.

Did you know that every bottle of Jack Daniel’s sold around the world is made with water from this source? I actually got to take a drink from the spring, and it was perhaps the purest water that I’ve ever tasted.

Jack Daniel's Distillery

From here, we made our way to the Rickyard, where they stack 5-foot tall pallets of hard super maple, douse them in raw, unaged whiskey, before setting the wood ablaze. The inferno peaks at over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit before burning down into smoldering embers. The resulting charcoal is used in the charcoal mellowing process.

We got to take part in this process, and it was pretty wild, the heat getting so intense that you had to walk away after awhile or risk getting burned. How these guys manage to keep cool in the hot Tennessee summers is beyond me, but my hats off to them.

Jack Daniel's Distillery

Afterwards, we walked down to the Distillery Building, where we got to learn more about the whiskey making process including the whiskey stills, the fermenting tanks and the charcoal-mellowing vats. That last part is perhaps the most important, filtering the 140-proof, unaged whiskey drop by drop through 10 feet of handcrafted charcoal.

It’s this extra step that imparts the distinctive smoothness you have come to expect from Jack Daniel’s, and it’s what makes this a Tennessee Whiskey and not a bourbon.

Jack Daniel's Distillery

Next, this whiskey goes into American White Oak barrels that are hand-built at Jack Daniel’s Cooperage. Once assembled, the barrel’s interior is toasted and charred using a proprietary method to coax the wood’s natural sugars out and caramelize them. The whiskey enters the barrel colorless and raw, but during the maturation process, the whiskey draws all of its rich amber color and much of its distinctive flavor from the barrels.

As you can imagine, if Jack Daniel’s were to reuse their barrels, they’d get diminishing returns, as the first batch of whiskey already draws out most of the flavor from the barrel. That’s why they only use a barrel once, after which they sell them off to third-parties.

Jack Daniel's Distillery

Interestingly enough, a number of variables determine how long a barrel of whiskey stays in the barrelhouse, including the barrel itself and where it’s located in the barrelhouse. Barrels located on the upper floors (where temperature changes are more extreme) tend to mature faster than barrels on the lower floors, where it’s generally cooler.

So rather than rely on age, a team of whiskey tasters sample each and every barrel to decide when they’re ready for bottling. Master Distiller Jeff Arnett showed us this process by bringing us to one of the barrelhouses and taking us up to the 6th floor, where he tapped into a couple of barrels and let us sample them right from the source. In a word.. incredible!

Jack Daniel's Distillery

If that wasn’t enough, they also set up a tasting for us, where we got to sample every product in their portfolio, including Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7, Gentleman Jack, Single Barrel Select, Rye, Honey, Fire, and more. I really enjoyed the Single Barrel Select, but Honey and Fire were also standouts for me, and I definitely need to pick up a few bottles of these for myself.

Overall, I had a great time visiting the Jack Daniel’s Distillery and seeing everything that they have to offer, and I’d highly recommend taking the tour if you’re coming through Tennessee, even if you’re not a whiskey drinker. There’s a ton of history here, and it’s sure to give you a newfound respect for Jack Daniel’s, and the man who started it all.

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