Are any of you old enough to remember the G-Love and Special Sauce song, “Cold Beverage”? I saw them at Numbers in Houston in the nineties!
Anyway, this is less of a how-to and more of a, “Look at some cold drinks I made in advance and put in pitchers in the fridge!” It’s getting hot down here in Austin, and I will soon reach the point where you couldn’t pay me to eat or drink anything hot. Well, I guess I’d do it if someone paid me, but that seems unlikely. So it’s good to have some cold drinks ready in the fridge for when I need them.
I have two things to tell you about my kitchen projects:
Most bloggers that deal with food would do this project with pretty glass pitchers and natural light, but I don’t have either of those things. We’re keeping it real here at ICMT, but hopefully not too real for you.
The first drink I made was hibiscus mint tea. They have hibiscus mint tea at Alamo Drafthouse here in Austin, and I always order some when I’m not in the mood for alcohol. I had some hibiscus tea left over from dyeing my hair with henna, and I had some mint that my mom grew, dried and mailed to me, so I decided to combine them.
When I make an individual glass of hibiscus mint, I use one tea bag for a pint-sized glass. Five pints of water will fit in my pitcher, so I opened five hibiscus tea bags for this batch. I have a tea ball that I use for the mint when I make individual glasses of tea, but it’s not big enough to make 5 pints’ worth. So I put a bunch of dried mint in a coffee filter:
Then I tied it up with a rubber band. Voila, lo-fi tea bag!
I was going to brew the tea right in my pitcher, but then I remembered that it’s plastic, and old, and pouring boiling water into it might not be the best idea. So I used a big Pyrex bowl instead.
I boiled five pints of water and poured it into the bowl. I left the hibiscus tea bags in for about 30 minutes, and then left the mint bag in for 30 minutes more. I wanted it to be a little strong since I was going to put it over ice, which would water it down a little.
Once it cooled, I put it in my orange pitcher and made myself a glass with ice, a packet of Splenda, and a little lime juice. Delicious, and I can drink five whole glasses before it’s time to make more.
I also made cold-brewed iced coffee. I’d been meaning to try this for awhile. My boyfriend and I both drink regular coffee in the mornings, but since I like to drink coffee throughout the day, I have to switch to decaf after noon. It’s pretty annoying to have to pour out the leftover regular coffee and then brew some decaf and then throw that out to make regular the next morning. You’re probably thinking, “Just make however much you’re going to drink!” That doesn’t ever seem to happen, though, and I hate wasting coffee. So I made some cold-brewed decaf for me to keep in the fridge and drink in the afternoon.
I used this recipe; it was the first one I came across and it looked pretty easy. My pitcher held 4 1/2 cups of water, so I poured that in and then added 1 cup of coffee grounds (my 1/3 cup measuring cup is pictured).
Then, for fun, I added 2 tbsp of cinnamon:
And about 1/4 cup cocoa powder. I put cocoa powder in my coffee in the mornings anyway, and I thought it would blend a little better in iced coffee if I added it in advance.
If cinnamon and cocoa powder aren’t your thing, you can skip those. I mixed up the water, grounds and cocoa powder in the pitcher with a wooden spoon as instructed. It looked like this:
Pretty gross! I covered the pitcher and left it on the counter for 18 hours, and then used my (powered-off) coffee pot to strain it. I figured rather than use a coffee filter and a colander, I’d just open the top of the coffee pot and strain it through there.
It took a long time, and I had to stir it a lot to get it to go through. I think the cocoa powder and cinnamon were too much for the filter, and ended up blocking all the liquid. So if you added the cocoa and cinnamon, get ready for the straining process to take some time.
But I’m glad I added them, because it’s SO DELICIOUS! I put it over ice with some milk (2 parts coffee to 1 part milk), stirred it up and added a straw. It’s so good I’ve had two servings today already, and now we’re going to have to buy more milk.
I also used some of the cold-brewed coffee to make coffee ice cubes for next time, so the coffee won’t get watered down.
It may be hot outside, but it’s nice and cool in my stomach.
Fear not, people! This is basic, basic, basic woodworking. I do some woodworking at home, and it’s all very basic. In fact, there’s some of it that I don’t even know if I do correctly. I just try my best and hope everything goes to plan.
So my boyfriend Brendan recently downgraded to a smaller desk. His two monitors fit on the smaller desk, but he wanted one of them raised up like this:
But it would look better with a stand instead of a stack of books, no? And with a stand, he could store some things underneath the monitor and make the desk a bit less cluttered. So I made this: