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Drinks

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With this Thursday being a public holiday there was a lot of drinking to be done. I participated in two such events – both of which were a bit different from what you’d expect.

The first one did involve alcohol at least. Our friend Karin invited us over for cocktails. What was extremely cool about this is that she keeps buying all the different liquors and syrups and has a really wide selection by now. And at least one of her cocktail books has quite a comprehensive selection of drinks in it. Even better – they are ordered by the main ingredient, so you can make up your mind that you want something with Gin, say, and see all the appropriate cocktails. Being backed by the impressive collection of bottles means that you’ll actually be able to make all the nice cocktails you see in the book and not be hindered by lack of ingredients…

We started off with Strawberry Daiquiris which remain one of my favourites (although I had a Blackberry Daiquiri in Cape Town which was rather cool as well) and went on through many others. Some of them were with Whiskey, managing to taste a bit ‘grown up’ and savoury that way. Indeed, I quite liked the cocktails where there is a harsh or bitter ingredient to counter-balance the sweetness of the fruits or syrup. The problem with having a lot of those drinks is that I can’t remember all of them or even their recipes now. One of the cool ones was called ‘Pogo Stick’ and had Gin and grapefruit juice as its main ingredients. Cool and refreshing.

With today being considered ‘father’s day’ and being a public holiday in Germany, there’s quite a tradition of people going for walks and getting drunk. Because of the cocktail night before, I wasn’t in for that and I wasn’t to keen on bumping into the people who were. In addition I had already invited friends for a tea tasting. I’ve got quite a long history (and at times hystery) with tea. And during one of the wine tasting we did at Jan-Philipp’s place we thought it could be cool to have a tea tasting for a change.

When doing wine tastings, we invariably end up having some salad and cheese with it. While that may not be ultra-precise it’s quite enjoyable. So we had some snacks with the tea as well. And things got out of hand a little as usual. I ended up turning a whole bread into little sandwiches – in traditional tea time style – making egg, cress and mayonnaise, meat and chutney, cucumber as well as cheddar sandwiches. I’ve never made proper sandwiches before and they turned out to be rather nice. Of course they wer triangular, as they should be, and I even cut the crust off the bread…

Sandwich preparation

For extra distraction, I also made some scones, to be eaten with strawberry jam (home made by Björn’s parents) and whipped cream. My love for scones goes back to Hout Bay in 1988 – and I’ve made and enjoyed loads of them since then. But it’s been a while since I last made them and these weren’t perfect… a bit too dry, most likely because I let them in the oven a bit too long.

Screenshot of Dashboard and Britannica dictionaries For a geeky intermezzo: Scones led me to the first two truly useful experiences with the novelties of Mac OS X.4: Firstly I used Spotlight to locate my recipe for scones which – not too surprisingly – worked as it’s in a TeX file I created in 1994. Secondly, as it invariably does, we had a discussion on the pronunciation of the word ‘scone’ while eating them. I’ve had this quite a few times and the bottom line is that both pronunciations, skəʊn and skɒn – hopefully figured out correctly by me – are OK. As the newly included dictionary confirmed in its Dashboard widget. A fun remark on the remark is that I always think IPA is the nicest way of writing down the pronunciation. Unfortunately it’s not used by the built-in dictionary. (And yet another way of writing things seems to be used in my Concise Oxford dictionary.) Going on with another remark on the remark, I note that, thirdly, the enhanced character palette in X.4 is quite good at finding those letters but looks a bit broken / misaligned at the bottom of its German self while doing so. Fourthly, I compared the entry in the Mac’s dictionary with that of my Britannica CD and was pleasantly surprised by the Java application’s speed. It feels much snappier than it used to – which isn’t hard, though, because it used to feel dreadfully slow.

For the tea tasting I had lined up quite a few teas. Most of them quite good ones which I’ve had before. I arranged them in an order where they tended to get stronger during the course of the tasting.

Formosa Fancy Oolong
Where ‘Formosa’ means Taiwan and ‘Oolong’ half-fermented, i.e. half-way between green an black tea in the wonderful world of fancy tea words. It’s a very mild tea which I’ve always liked. You really shouldn’t have sandwiches with this one. What’s particularly cool is that many of the tea leaves are still in tact, so you can see the ‘two leaves and a bud’ they pick after brewing it.
China Keemun Superior
Another mild-ish tea with a light smokey note that all the Keemun teas have. I don’t like the smokey note all that much which is why I get the better Keemuns in which it is very mild.
Darjeeling First Flush Risheehat
This was the first very good tea I ever had. And the Risheehat tea garden is still one of the best ones around. Definitely worth trying.
Sikkim Second Flush Temi
Sikkim is just next to the Darjeeling area. In the tea literature it’s often made look like a proper country. But it’s just another region of India. The teas are similar to the Darjeelings which is why I chose it. It was stronger than I expected it to be.
Darjeeling Autumnal Pussimbing
While many people say the autumn harvest isn’t worth drinking, I’ve always liked them. The teas aren’t outstanding but can be solidly good.
Ceylon OP Nuwara Eliya
This is probably one of the most standard teas which I have enjoyed for ages. Very smooth and clear. But unlike the Darjeelings definitely of the strong variety.
Assam Superior
Assam teas tend to be the strongest with a somewhat malty touch. And this one didn’t disappoint. I am generally not a big fan of Assam teas, but this one was well worth trying. Very rich – but still smooth.
Japanese Green
As people were still in the mood to try a green tea, I served a Japanese one that Chiho got for me. Most green teas you can buy in Germany aren’t very good. You read about how refreshing they are supposed to be and will be invariably disappointed by the taste. The first time I really thought a green tea was worth drinking was when I had some that people brought back from Japan themselves. So trying to do that or at least getting advice from Japanese people can help a lot. I’m still not a big fan of green tea, though.

After all this we were well-fed, exhausted and a caffeine-awake. Nice.

To give an idea of what happens when brewing the tea I took some of the leaves of each tea after brewing and showed them to everybody. You can already tell a few things by considering the colour and shape of the leaves. Enjoy the sight of – from left to right – Sikkim Second Flush Temi, Formosa Fancy Oolong, Darjeeling First Flush Risheehat, China Keemun Superior… which is hard to see because it’s charmingly out of focus. Makes a nice desktop background as well.

Brewed tea leaves

May 5, 2005, 23:25

Tagged as food.

Comments

Comment by Kirmin: User icon

Mom said no more drinking and I asked her if I could drink some Green tea. She said yep! And I was damn happy. Ha-ha!

Believe me guyz! It’s such a nice substitute for champagne. lol

January 7, 2006, 12:49

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