Herbal tisanes have long been drank both for pleasure and for their medicinal properties. Rather than buying expensive herbal teas from health food shops, make your own herb teas, refreshing iced herbal drinks or traditional wine cups.
Borage or Chive flowers, or sprigs of fresh herbs such as mint – whether fresh or frozen into ice cubes – make attractive garnishes for wine cups. Experiment with ingredients when you make your own wine cups. Start with a bottle of dry white wine and add a few tablespoons of brandy and ¼ cup of herb sugar. Float a thinly sliced orange, apple and lemon in the wine and chill for 1 hour. When you are ready to serve the cup, add a bottle of sparkling rose’ wine 4 1/2 cups of lemonade (soda) and stir well. Float some fresh apple mint sprigs and borage flowers in the wine just before serving.
You can flavor your own liqueurs to make original drinks or unusual gifts. Crush or purée 3 tablespoons of peppermint or lemon thyme leaves and add them to 2 1/2 cups of wine or brandy with a few strips of orange rind. Make a honey syrup by boiling 5 tablespoons of water with an equal quantity of clear honey until well blended. Add this to the liqueur. Cover and leave to stand for three weeks. Strain the liqueur, bottle, seal and label.
Herbal “infusions’ are made by steeping fresh or dried herbs in boiling water, “Decoctions’ are made by boiling the herbs for a few minutes before steeping. What we now call herbal teas are becoming increasingly popular and can easily be made with the leaves of sage, marjoram, borage, summer savory, thyme, rosemary, mint or lemon balm or with camomile or elder flowers.
To make herbal tea, steep 2 tablespoons of the fresh herb of your choice in 1 cup of boiling water for a few minutes then strain. You can flavor the tea with clear honey or flower honey and float a slice of orange or lemon in the cup. Herbal seed teas made from fennel, caraway or dill seeds need only 1 tablespoon of the crushed seeds but should be left to infuse for 5-10 minutes.
Many herb teas, such as thyme and mint, taste excellent when flavored with clear honey and chilled. Traditional tea can also be flavored with herbs to make an aromatic and refreshing drink. Pour 2 ½ cups of strong hot tea into a jug and add two bruised sprigs of mint and the juice of half a lime. Leave to infuse for 30 minutes, then strain and chill. Sweeten with clear honey and serve with ice, mint sprigs and time slices.
For a fragrant marjoram drink, dissolve 2 tablespoons of sugar in 1 cup of water then boil for 5 minutes to a syrup. Leave it to cool then chill. Process a handful of marjoram leaves with 4 tablespoons of water and add the juice of a lemon. Stir into the syrup, cover and chill for at least 1 hour. Stir 2 cups of chilled, fizzy, mineral water and serve with borage-flower ice cubes.
Kali S. Winters
Visit our Sister Site Hair Remedies At Home