Hot Spiced Milk

There’s that time of night on weekdays, somewhere between 7 and 11pm, that isn’t late enough to start worrying about homework but too early to sleep. I find myself in this limbo quite often. Usually I end up catching up on the latest episode of Boardwalk Empire and craving something warm to drink. This non-tea chai is not as heavy as hot chocolate or as caffeinated as coffee.

Hot Spiced Milk
makes 1 large serving

1.5 cups milk
~2 teaspoon cinnamon
~1 teaspoon ground ginger
~1 teaspoon allspice
~1 teaspoon cloves
Dash of vanilla extract
Sweeten to taste with sugar or agave nectar

I never really measure the ingredients, so the measurements are approximate. Put all ingredients, except for the extract and sweetener, in a small saucepan. Bring to a low simmer and be sure to keep stirring so that the milk doesn’t burn on the bottom of your pot. The longer you cook it, the more water cooks off and the creamier your drink is! I used 2% milk. Add extract and sweetener at the end in your glass. The spices get in the way of drinking so, unless you want to wait for them to collect at the bottom of your glass, pour the drink through a sieve.


Happy Holidays!

– A

Gimme! Coffee Cupping

Today we went to Gimme! Coffee’s weekly ‘cupping’ at their State St. location in downtown Ithaca. We got to try four coffee varietals: Kenya Kiandu, Guatemala Atilán, Honduras Linda Vista, and Honduras Las Penitas.

Flavor and aroma wheel

After we had a quick lesson about the coffee production process, we got down to ‘cupping.’ ‘Cupping’ is the method of determining the quality of coffee beans by coffee professionals. Small portions of different varietals are ground, smelled, and tasted to compare aromas, flavors, and quality.

Cupping setup

Coffee beans are very labor-intensive; they need to be picked manually at the height of ripeness. Machines cannot do this since the coffee berries on the same tree are at different stages of ripeness. The coffee bean itself is the seed of the fruit. The fruit is taken off through drying or washing.

The four varietals were ground up for us to smell. The aroma is not necessarily indicative of the coffee’s final taste, but it’s interesting to compare. The Kenya Kiandu has recently been rated an incredible 95 by Coffee Review. We thought the Kiandu smelled salty, almost like soy sauce. The two Honduran ones were more mild and what we thought coffee usually smells like. The Guatemala’s aroma was rich and hazelnut-y. After this step, we added hot water to the cups of ground beans and waited four minutes exactly for the flavors to be extracted. During the waiting time, the coffee grounds rise to the top of the cup and form a crust.

The ground beans of four varietals

Our coffee expert pours water in the grounds

After four minutes of waiting, we lightly scraped off the crust. More intense aromas burst from the brewed coffee as we put our noses right into the cups.

The crust of grounds forming

Smelling the brewed coffee

After smelling, we drank the coffees; the best way to get the full flavors of the coffee is to slurp! The more oxygen you mix with the coffee, the more flavor you get. The biggest surprise was the Kenya Kiandu. It was very different from most coffees we were used to. The Kiandu had the acidity of tomatoes and was strangely vegetable-y. The Honduran coffees, the more popularly consumed coffees, tasted nutty and toasty, similar to what we find in most coffee shops.

Our super friendly cupping expert

Gimme! Coffee has cuppings at their State St. shop at noon every Saturday. Their staff is very friendly and knowledgeable. It’s a great way to start your Saturday and get free coffee!

Peace, love, and drinks,

Sunnie and Audrey

A Glass of Class: Doubleshot!

Since fall break punctured our schedules with sleep and autumnal activities, Calvin and I missed a week. To make up for it, we have two fall-appropriate recipes for you boys and girls.

Classic Hot Cider

3 parts store-bought cider

1 part cinnamon

1/2 part brown sugar

A small handful of chocolate chips

(For hard cider only) 1 part mid-tier or higher vodka

Mix everything together in a large pot. Put the pot on medium heat for about thirty minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure everything is blending nicely. Taste often to adjust for your personal tastes (or just for fun, it’s hard to wait for cider.)

In celebration of the annual Apple Harvest Festival, we made a few thermos-fulls of hot cider. Unfortunately, this was the night after the festival, so we didn’t get to enjoy it out in the crisp fall air, and had to pay stupid amounts of money for cider in the commons. Awesome. Yet, that night, we rang in the eating season (as I so affectionately call it) with a delicious, sweet-and-tart aperitif. This recipe is all Calvin’s; I cannot take any credit for it. However, I can hold up my personal counterpart to it…

Fall Breeze

2 shots Bacardi Limon

1 shot peppermint schnapps

1 tbsp cinnamon sugar

Iced tea (use whatever you like; I make my own with some Crystal Light)

Mix everything together. Drink out of a big jug with three X’s on it to feel like a true American.

I stayed in the Ith this fall break, which got me a number of weird looks. See, I live three hours away from home, and have my car up here. Why didn’t I go home, people who made ridiculous treks to see their families for a meager three days would ask me. I am simply too lazy to go home for no reason. It’s nothing against my family, I love them, fall just turns me into a lump. So, I hung out with some friends over break, making absurd concoctions, trying to embody the taste of the autumn air I do so adore. I didn’t succeed, but I’d say this comes pretty close. A brisk, biting, smooth drink to keep you warm during the cool October nights. And we do so hope you all enjoy your fall as much as we do.

–C and L

In the summer, drinkin’…

Hello! I’m Audrey and there are only three things you need to know about me:

1. I am from the Bay Area, California
2. I don’t say ‘hella’ unless necessary
3. I like to eat/drink/consume things in general

Let’s do this!

Nothing reminds me of home more than this perfect summer drink, one that evokes hot sunny days eating al pastor tacos in the Mission district of San Francisco and sipping on homemade agua frescas. Mexican horchata is, mostly simply, made from rice, water and milk. There are many kinds of horchata, whose variations include almonds, condensed milk, and even lime zest, but this is beautifully simple to make.

I used a recipe posted by one of my favorite bloggers, David Lebovitz, which he, in turn, got from this book. As soon as I got back to school and was greeted by 80 degree heat and 50%+ humidity, I decided that I needed cool liquid relief in the form of cinnamon rice milk. Having only just moved into my new apartment, I didn’t have some of the tools required (a sieve? cheesecloth? in a college apartment?). If you don’t have a blender, just smash the rice in a sturdy plastic bag with a pan. Some horchata recipes don’t even include the blending/crushing step, so feel free to ignore step 1. I also found that when the horchata sits overnight, the rice bits collect nicely at the bottom of the container. Unless you like munching on raw rice, don’t stir up the contents before pouring it out. No sieve needed! Here’s a simplified, but still very tasty, version of this drink.

Horchata adapted from David Lebovitz, who adapted it from Paletas

2/3 cup rice
2 cinnamon sticks
3 cups warm water
2 cups milk
1/2 to 2/3 cup sugar OR 2/3 cup agave nectar
Ground cinnamon

Makes about 6 servings (or just 1 big serving for myself)

1. Crush rice to a coarse sand by a) mixing in a blender or b) smashing it in a sturdy plastic bag with a pan.

2. Put rice, cinnamon sticks, and warm water in a container or large bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

3. Pour liquid into another container or pitcher. The rice sediment should have collected at the bottom of the container overnight, making it easy to pour out just the liquid. Lacking a sieve and cheesecloth, I just squeezed handfuls of the pulp to extract more rice flavor.

4. Mix in milk and sweeten to taste. Stir until sugar dissolves. Pour over ice and sprinkle ground cinnamon over it.

Notes: I tried sweetening with sugar, agave nectar, and honey. The honey was too overpowering and distracted from the flavor. If you’re health conscious, agave nectar is a great substitute, but since it’s pricier, sugar will do just fine. Also, sprinkling ground cinnamon over the drink really takes it to another level. Since smelling is just as important as tasting, the cinnamon gives it a nice kick.

Peace, love, and drinks,