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A number of things come to mind when one thinks of wine: a romantic evening, a relaxing day, a great accessory for a bath and a lovely drink for a much needed light buzz after a long day at work. It is the ultimate 'adult drink', the grape-based drink that goes well with virtually anything! Personally, I enjoy a light fruity moscato over red wines because I like sweeter flavours so herbal wine is definitely on the other spectrum of my taste scale. There has to be a logical reason behind the very existence of this subset of wine. And I am nothing if not adventurous so I gave it a chance and did my research (of course), and to make it more fun, I wanted to look into DIY wines. It won't be the easiest process but it is certainly highly rewarding! It isn't everyday you get to serve DIY wine at your cocktail parties, no?

Getting the poor elephant out of that tiny room, herbal wine is definitely far less common than the traditional grape wines and they are simply herb-based wines. Herbal wines are either a dry-herb infusion or a fresh-herb infusion. The former infuses at room temperature and for a longer period of time, while the latter infuses in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

On the archaeological record, the earliest wine-making activities go back to as far back 6,000 years ago across the globe. It has been used as a populist medicine that stimulates the nervous and circulatory systems and offers a strong boost to digestion. All types of herbs are used to achieve these results, as well as offering other health benefits such as improving one's mood, promoting internal movement, cleansing the organs and supporting various bodily system functions. Apart from the numerous health benefits, did I mention it actually tastes fragrant, floral and light? Much like a spring/summer breeze on a nice sunny day by the ocean. You're welcome for that spark in your imaginary dreamscape.

Now, moving on, I will share the process of making DIY wine or home-brewed wine and a recipe for you to kickstart at home. Your resulting wine should taste like a cup of quality tea with a slight alcoholic taste; basically the wine version of herbal fruit tea.

The Fermentation Process

Simply put, the fermentation equation for an aspiring winemaker is as follows:

Sugary liquid + yeast (and the occasional friendly bacteria) + time = delicious fermented beverage (Christensen, 2013)

Fermentation is what turns a regular fruit like grapes into an alcoholic beverage. Yeast is required to transform the sugars in the juice/liquid into ethanol (alcohol) and carbon dioxide (a by-product).  The total duration for complete fermentation can take up to 3 weeks. Deliciousness and perfection takes time and cannot be rushed!

What equipment you will need

What ingredients you will need

Lets start brewing!

Note: every recipe follows this basic procedure:

  1. Prepare a sweet liquid
  2. Add yeast and stir the mixture frequently and well
  3. Allow to ferment
  4. Bottle
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Once you have your equipment and ingredients ready, the creative process is relatively fun and easy. When you become more confident in mixing fruits and herbs, you can wean off known recipes and experiment on your own to find your very own creation. Here is a recipe to get you started on your wine-making journey:

Image cred: photo-nic.co.uk nic on Unsplash

Blackberry-Hibiscus Wine

Ingredients
14 cups water
900g granulated sugar
1360g fresh blackberries
113g dried hibiscus
2 Campden tablets
1 packet dry wine yeast
1 teaspoon yeast nutrient
A pinch of tannin
Instructions

  • Sanitize your bucket, lid, airlock and spoon.
  • In a stockpot, boil water and add and stir sugar until it dissolves in the water, then add the dried hibiscus and remove the pot from heat. Let it cool, then pour the mixture through a sterilized strainer into a bucket.
  • Place the fresh blackberries in a mesh bag in the bucket. With clean hands, mash the bag so that the blackberry juice is extracted into the mixture.
  • Crush 1 Campden tablet and stir into the liquid. Place the lid and attach the airlock, and let it sit for a day.
  • Prepare the yeast starter by scooping out one cup of the liquid with a sterilized measuring cup into a canning jar. Add the yeast and cover the jar with plastic wrap secured with a rubber band. Shake it well and let it stand for about three hours.
  • Add yeast starter, tannin, and yeast nutrient and stir vigorously, then replace the lid and airlock. Repeat the stirring for seven days using a sterilized spoon. (you can tell the mixture is fermenting because you will start to see bubbles appear in the airlock. Fun fact: the bubbles are carbon dioxide that are produced by the respiring yeast cells!)
  • In a week, sanitize a gallon jar (and its lid and airlock), cheesecloth or muslin, funnel, and spoon. Line your funnel with the cheesecloth, then slowly pour the mixture from the bucket into the jar. Close the lid tightly.
  • Let the mixture sit in a cool, dark, dry area for at least 4 weeks (you can age it for up to 6 months or more if you like!). If you age it for longer than 4 weeks, you’ll want to occasionally siphon it off from lees, or the sediment that collects at the bottom of the jar. To do this, sanitize a stockpot, racking cane and tip, and hose and siphon the mead from the jar to the pot. Then repeat the funneling step above, transferring the mead back into the jar from the pot.
  • When you’re ready to bottle the mead, crush a Campden tablet into the jar, stir, and let sit for at least 24 hours, then siphon the mead into sanitized bottles and cap (or cork).
  • Tip: Label your bottles with the dates they were made to keep track of the age!

If made right, this home brewed wine should taste almost like an herbal fruit tea and you'll be the talk of the party no doubt! Watch out wine stores, DIY wine just might be the next big thing.

Herbal teas are derived from plant materials, including leaves, stems, flowers, seeds, roots and fruits. From cancer-fighting properties to endurance boosting effects, herbal tea is for everyone. Here are some ways your body may be telling you it’s time to swap your favourite beverage for herbal tea instead.

1. You feel bloated

If you constantly feel bloated, herbal teas may help. Ginger contains the compounds gingerols and shogaols, which relax your intestinal muscles, thereby reducing inflammation and bloating. Peppermint also helps your digestive tract get rid of any built up gas. Peppermint contains menthol oil, which has an anti-spasmodic effect on your digestive tract, and soothes inflammation.

2. You’re having trouble sleeping

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Although some herbal tea blends may contain ingredients that have caffeine, there are many that don’t. So if you’re having trouble getting a good night’s rest, chamomile tea may do the trick. It contains tryptophan, which is an amino acid known for its relaxing and anxiety-reducing effects. It helps our bodies relax, thus promoting sleep.

3. You have cramps or an upset stomach

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Herbal teas can be very soothing too. Peppermint tea can help to relax your gastrointestinal system and help to stop nausea or an upset stomach. Lemon balm, skullcap tea, chamomile tea, dandelion root tea and fennel tea can also help to ease menstrual cramps.

4. You have dry, patchy skin or acne problems

Herbal teas are also great for the skin. For years, chamomile tea has been used to help relieve dry, patchy skin, acne, rashes, and inflammatory skin conditions. This is because it possesses flavonoids that have a strong inhibitory effect on free radicals. The flavonoids in rooibos tea have also been shown to possess anti-inflammatory functions, making it useful for treating rosacea or eczema.

5. You have high blood pressure

If you have high blood pressure or heart problems, drinking herbal tea may keep them at bay. Rooibos tea acts as a bronchodilator, ultimately decreasing resistance in your respiratory airway and increasing airflow to your lungs. It also reduces the activity of the angiotensin-converting enzyme, which is an enzyme that indirectly increases blood pressure by contracting blood vessels.
 
 

6. You have a weak immune system

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Are you catching colds too often? It may be time for an intervention.
Herbal teas containing elderflower, turmeric, peppermint, and hibiscus all help to boost your immune system. Both turmeric tea and peppermint tea are able to ease the pain of upper respiratory problems like sore throats and sinus infections. Elderflower tea is an effective decongestant because it helps clear the nasal passages. It also encourages you to sweat, allowing for the body to rid itself of toxins by using sweat as the conduit.

7. You’re stressed

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If you’re feeling stressed or anxious, herbal tea may just be exactly what you need to relax. Lavender is known for its calming qualities, so it should come as no surprise that the tea is used primarily for stress relief. Green tea contains L-theanine amino acids that can help you relax and passionfruit tea can as well. Another herb to curb stress is lemon balm as it can help to lighten your uptight and anxious mood.
 
Herbal teas are a treat for all occasions. Whether you are having a tea party, or simply want to escape the cold in the office, herbal teas will never fail you. To get your dose of quality organic herbal teas, visit https://www.nilufertea.com/blog/shop/

Sick of sipping on the same old cup of flower tea every afternoon? Spice teatime up a notch by letting it melt into happy hour - infuse your cup of quality tea with a punch of alcohol. By combining two of your favourite beverages together, you can create your own easy DIY cocktails at home for a beverage fit for a party.

The beauty of quality tea cocktails is that you can always customize cocktails according to your preference of the day, and experiment with the different flavors that flower tea, organic green tea and organic black tea can bring out. Rest assured that quality tea is the best mixer ever - its neutral taste allows it to pick up the flavor of herbs and fruits quickly, it contains no sugar, and is also heart-friendly. Here are 5 delicious, easy DIY cocktails you can make at home to give teatime a whole new meaning.

Rose Tea Martini

On days when your special someone is coming to visit, a glass of rose tea martini will do the trick. This cocktail is fruity and flirty with floral notes, and is the perfect addition to a romantic evening at home. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Pour one cup of vodka into a container and add a bag of rose tea. Let it refrigerate overnight.
  2. Chop up some fresh mint leaves and set aside.
  3. Prepare 1.5 ounces of pomegranate juice, 1.5 ounces of rose tea-infused vodka and 0.5 ounces of sweet wine (e.g. Vermouth).  
  4. Using a shaker, shake the pomegranate juice, rose tea-infused vodka, sweet wine, chopped mint leaves and ice. Pour into a cocktail glass and enjoy!

P.S. Feel free to replace rose tea with any other flower tea such as lavender or hibiscus tea according to your preference.

 

Organic Green Tea Mint Juleps

A sip of this organic green tea mint julep feels like a dive in an icy cold pool on a sweltering hot day. The slight bitter taste of organic green tea mixes well with the smoothness of bourbon and refreshing mint, making this the perfect, easy DIY cocktails for both day and night. Be sure to use quality tea to obtain the best flavor!

  1. Brew a cup of organic green tea.  
  2. Smash the mint leaves together with 2 tablespoons of sugar, until all the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Stir in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, then add in ½ a cup of bourbon whisky and the cup of organic green tea.
  4. Strain the mixture through a sieve to extract the smashed mint leaves.
  5. Add ice and garnish with a few lemon slices and mint leaves, then serve.

Organic Black Tea Cider Cocktails

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This organic black tea and thyme cider cocktail is yet another recipe to add to your list of easy DIY cocktails. This comforting cocktail can be served both warm or chilled, depending on your preference (and also the weather).

  1. Brew a cup of organic black tea and refrigerate.
  2. Prepare 4 ounces of bourbon, 1 cup of lemon juice, 1 cup of apple cider and ice.
  3. Add the bourbon, lemon juice, ice and organic black tea into a shaker and shake well.
  4. Divide the cocktail into glasses, garnish with lemon and serve.

 

Chamomile Tea Honey Bourbon

The earthy taste of chamomile tea combined with bourbon and a hint of honey makes for a relaxed drink perfect for days in the pool or with a book. This easy DIY cocktails only requires 4 ingredients, and is easy to whip up anytime you feel like it. If you’re not a fan of chamomile tea, any other flower tea works as well such as the floral blossom tea from Nilufer.

  1. Prepare a cup of steaming chamomile tea.
  2. Add 4 tablespoons of honey and 3 ounces of bourbon to the cup and let it steep.
  3. Pour over a few glasses of ice and serve.

 

Herbal Fruit Tea Cocktail

This fun, herbal fruit tea cocktail is the perfect twist to your usual cup of iced herbal fruit tea, adding some excitement into your day.

  1. Brew 2 cups of your favorite herbal fruit tea.
  2. Prepare 1 cup of lemonade, 1 cup of pineapple juice, 1 cup of orange juice and 1.5 cups of rum.
  3. Mix all the ingredients with the herbal fruit tea and stir well.
  4. Pour over ice and garnish with fresh fruit.

Although tea might have a prim and proper reputation, there’s no saying that it can’t be played up and added to a cocktail; be sure to use the following 5 fresh herb cocktail ideas on special occasions such as parties to wow your guests.

After a long day, doesn’t everyone want to curl up in bed and drift off to sleep, without any worries? We’ve all experienced the moment of finally being on bed when suddenly an onslaught of anxieties disrupt your momentary bliss. If your desire to dose off mindlessly has repeatedly been interrupted by endless worries, perhaps organic herbal tea can provide a solution.

Calm your nerves with Chamomile tea

This small flowering herb packs a punch in terms of health benefits and have been used to treat a range of ailments. This herbal tea has a mild taste, making it easy on the palate. Incorporating this organic herbal tea into your bedtime routine will ensure your nerves are soothed and a peaceful rest ahead.

Benefits of Chamomile tea

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We’ve all been there- a long stressful day followed by late suppers after. As much as we know eating late close to bedtime might mean sacrificing on precious sleep time, it’s natural to turn to food as a quick comfort. Chamomile, with its soothing properties may be beneficial in easing the discomfort of acid reflux. Chamomile tea is an easy home remedy for a troubled stomach.

If you experience indigestion close to bedtime, chamomile tea can help ease your stomach pains. Having a cup of this herbal tea effectively reduces inflammation, ensuring a pain-free night.

Beat Stress with Rooibos Tea

Benefits of Rooibos

Red Rooibos tea can help reduce stress and anxiety levels that often keep you up at night. The tea reduces the production of the stress hormone, cortisol which makes it more difficult to fall asleep. Lower levels of cortisol means a more restful night, boosting your immune system.

Less hectic with Organic herbal tea

Treat your anxieties and any indigestion by winding down with a cup of chamomile tea. To brew our orange chamomile tea, simply bring one cup of water to a boil before adding the tea bag. What’s a better to unwind than having some me time along with a cup of organic herbal tea. Before bed time, simply drink the chamomile tea 30 minutes before you go to sleep. Your body will thank you for it.

While some people laud over little sleep they get with their busy lifestyles, getting enough shut-eye is necessary for a strong immune system and overall well-being. A regular and sufficient sleep cycle means you’ll face a new day with more optimism. Furthermore, having a bedtime routine complete with organic herbal tea and some time alone to yourself will help make sure you go to sleep feeling blissful. Going to bed feeling calm will not only ease you to sleep but you’ll be wake up feeling more rested and invigorated to start the day.

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The recent monsoon weather only spells disaster as people start catching colds and falling sick. However, a trip to the doctor isn’t worth the hassle all the time, especially when you’ve got a cup of red rooibos tea conveniently at your disposal. Flower teas such as chamomile tea and rose tea have antioxidant and antiviral properties, keeping colds and sore throats at bay. A cup of herbal fruit tea does indeed keep the doctor away - read on for 5 all-natural quality tea remedies for common ailments you might face in your daily life.

Treat sore throats and colds with organic ginger tea and lemon

Organic ginger tea is a surefire way of boosting the immune system, for ginger expels toxins and warms up your body. When paired with red rooibos tea, some honey and a few slices of lemon, your cold will be gone in no time! The organic ginger tea and honey can soothe scratchy throats, while the antioxidants in the red rooibos tea work as prevention for more chronic conditions such as cancer.

Simply brew a cup of organic ginger tea and red rooibos tea, and pour it into a jar. Add 1 tablespoon to the organic ginger tea and red rooibos tea mixture and stir well. Add a few slices of lemon and voila - your cup of herbal fruit tea has turned into the perfect immune system booster.

Relax your mind and treat headaches - chamomile and lavender tea

Chamomile tea has long been hailed as the best quality tea amongst all flower teas for headache relief - chamomile tea contains compounds to help with pain relief and its mild sedative effect aids in relaxation. When chamomile tea is paired with a flower tea such as lavender, which produces a similar effect as pharmaceutical relaxants, its soothing effect will be amplified. There will no longer be the need for you to pop a pill to get rid of your migraine; turn to a cup of steaming herbal fruit tea and your favorite book for to unwind after a long day at work.

 

Treat Indigestion with rose tea

Feeling a little discomfort in your abdominal area? Drinking flower tea such as rose tea helps to improve the workings of our digestive system and alleviate discomfort from indigestion. Rose tea stimulates our body’s production of bile, helping our stomach to digest food more effectively, especially food high in fat. Rose tea also has mild laxative effects and is the perfect all-natural remedy for constipation.

Treat sunburns with organic black tea

A steaming cup of organic black tea isn’t only good for starting the day, it can also be used to treat sunburns. The tannic acid in organic black tea removes the heat from sunburns, and other compounds repair skin damage. With three organic black tea bags, brew a pitcher of black tea and let it cool to room temperature. Then, using a cloth, dab black tea onto your skin and let it sit overnight. Wash off the following morning, and the sunburn should be significantly less painful.

Treat razor burns with chamomile tea

Chamomile tea, the powerhouse of flower teas, is also great for treating razor burns. Applying a quality tea bag to the inflamed area helps to soothe the pain while reducing redness and swelling, all thanks to the anti-inflammatory properties of this herbal fruit tea.

 

As seen from the remedies above, sometimes all you need is a steaming cup of herbal fruit tea to restore order in your body. It’s best to purchase quality tea from known brands to ensure that you get the best results.

 

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