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My new favorite thing is the corkcicle, it is great for keeping wine cold!

Although a cup of tea is, at it’s most basic, just hot water and tea, the variations of flavor that can be achieved by properly or improperly brewing the tea can be amazingly diverse. As can be seen in Japanese Tea Ceremonies and British tea commercials, the act of brewing the perfect cup of tea can and should be considered an art.

While most people understand that good tea is essential to a good cup of tea, most don’t consider the taste and quality of the water that goes into the teapot as a key ingredient. The flavor of water directly impacts the taste of the finished cup of tea. If the water from your tap does not taste good enough to drink, it’s not good enough for tea. Replace poor water with filtered or bottled water.

Choose a good quality tea, experimenting with different varieties to find those that suit you best. While loose-leaf tea is undoubtedly the best, bagged tea has made rapid improvements in quality and is often nearly as good as loose tea, Tazo tea has a nice selection of both.  Disposable tea bags for use with loose teas are also an option that combines the quality of loose teas with the convenience of bagged teas.

Begin, always, with cold water, bringing it just to a boil. Allowing it to boil too long depletes the oxygen in the water and alters the flavor of the tea and the reaction of the tea in the water. If you are using loose tea, a good guide for amounts is 2 ounces per 8 ounces of water. This is also the equivalent to one tea bag per 8 ounces.

Prior to adding the tea to the pot, pour a small amount of warm water into your teapot for a few minutes to preheat your pot. This allows the tea water to retain its temperature and helps the tea to steep quickly. Pouring hot water into a cold pot drops the water temperature significantly, which can impact both the brewing time and the flavor of the finished tea.

Once the water has boiled and the teapot is warm, allow the water to sit for 30-60 seconds before adding it to the tea and the pot, this allows it to come to the correct temperature of between 160 and 190 degrees. Black teas such as English Breakfast or Darjeeling can be made with slightly hotter water than green or white teas.

Green teas and Oolong teas have the shortest brewing time at 1-4 minutes, longer times will bring out a bitter flavor from the tea. Black teas need approximately 3-5 minutes to steep, depending on the strength that you like your tea. And white teas and herbal teas or tisanes require a slightly longer brew time at 4-8 minutes to bring out their more delicate flavors.

The “Long Island Iced Tea” your local bartender serves is a great drink, but don’t let the name fool you; it’s not even close to a true tea cocktail. A Long Island Iced Tea won’t improve one’s eyesight as Blueberry Tea allegedly can, and it’s more likely to get a person drunk in a single glass rather than attain a simple sedative effect.  Traditional, simplistic, and socially-sophisticated, tea cocktails are delicious drinks that are easy to make and suitable to drink alone or serve at a function.
While a tea cocktail is simply any form of gourmet tea with a bit of alcohol mixed in into it, there’s more to making just the right tea cocktail than one might originally suspect. There are as many forms of gourmet tea cocktail as there are forms of tea, with more being created by the year; even by the day. For example, the Royal Tea Cocktail was invented by Beefeater Gin in honor of Oscar-nominated film The Queen and Helen Mirren’s subsequent Oscar-win for Best Actress.  Even in the case of Royal Tea, the ingredients aren’t completely simple, as the beverage requires the right amount of lemon juice, sugar, lime wheels, and Earl Gray Tea.
An individual might get away with simply using the Earl Gray Tea and Beefeater Gin, but the taste will be noticeably flat and frankly, it will be a very unimpressive beverage.
For tea cocktail beginners, start with the gourmet traditional Blueberry Tea cocktail. To begin a Blueberry Tea concoction, first, put the ice away. Blueberry Tea is always served hot and this improves its taste twofold. Blueberry Tea will require 1 oz. of two of your favorite liqueurs, though Grand Marnier and Amaretto are the most often used with Blueberry Tea. Prepare and heat the tea of your choice with, and pour the liqueurs and tea into a glass if you intend to drink it immediately, but a brandy snifter is always the preferred choice. A snifter will condense the alcohol and tea fumes, allowing the Blueberry Tea to retain its flavor. Shaking it up isn’t the best idea. If it’s your first time making Blueberry Tea cocktail, taste it before you drink, then decide if it needs a sugar, lemon, or lime for flavoring.
However, if a person is entertaining for a party is looking for the right mix of sophistication, gourmet taste, and exoticism, they can never go wrong with ever-popular Tea Martini cocktail. The Tea Martini has become so popular within the past 30 years, that the serving of Tea Martini and the exchanging of Tea Martini recipes have been the focus of parties around the world. Tea Martini cocktails can be made in any number of ways, but here’s the simplest. Prepare Green Iced Tea, then infuse 1/3 of your choice of vodka, though Vodka plain might be the best when starting off. Add in three drops of lemon juice, stir, and there you have it. True Tea Martini recipes can be far more complicated, but rest assured, they’re worthwhile after you become the “go-to” person on how to make great gourmet drinks at a party.
Recipes for tea cocktails are a hot commodity among “in-crowds” worldwide, and with a genuine interest in making tea cocktails coupled with creativity when making these lauded beverages, a person might find themselves within one of these oft-partying circles.