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.
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!
Note: every recipe follows this basic procedure:
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:
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.
With origins beginning from over 2000 years ago, green tea has been consumed most commonly in China and India, only recently taking Singapore by storm. Green tea has since then been all the rage, with green tea desserts and beverages popping up at every corner. Why exactly is there such a craze over green tea, and why do consumers choose organic green tea over flower tea, such as chamomile tea?
Green tea has been touted to be the healthiest beverage in the world, as it is loaded with nutrients and antioxidants that have immensely powerful effects on our body. So go ahead, pour yourself a cup of quality tea that fights everything from acne to cancer, and read on to find out more about the benefits of green tea.
Green tea contains a large amount of flavonoids and antioxidants which help to slow down the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, prevents blood clots, and improves the function of blood vessels - a few of the many key factors that cause heart disease. It has been reported that consumers of organic green tea have up to 31% lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
Green tea is not processed as much as compared to organic black tea - organic black tea undergoes fermentation and processing, while green tea is unprocessed and thus retains its color.
Oxidative damage to cells plays a part in the development of cancer; luckily, green tea contains a substantial amount of protective polyphenols due to its lack of processing. One of the polyphenols, catechin, functions as an antioxidant and has been found to protect DNA in cells from cancer-inducing changes.
Type II diabetes involves cells being resistant to insulin - which converts glucose into energy to be used by the body - and therefore results in high blood sugar levels. However, studies have shown that with the regular consumption of green tea, the insulin sensitivity of cells can be improved, thereby reducing blood sugar levels.
Sipping on organic green tea can help to reduce stress, with the help of a natural chemical in green tea called theanine which produces a soothing effect on your mind. When you’re feeling a little stressed, turn to a cup of quality tea and a book for some rest and relaxation.
Green tea speeds up our body’s metabolism rate, increasing the rate of fat oxidation using the polyphenols naturally occurring in green tea. While it might aid in weight loss, it only helps in a small, non-significant amount - regular exercise is still needed to promote significant weight loss.
Organic green tea contains caffeine and L-theanine, which significantly boosts alertness and the brain’s cognitive functions, especially memory.
With the recent craze of ‘teatox’ - the act of detoxification using tea - on social media, many people have turned to power teas sold online to aid them in losing weight. However, organic green tea on its own is a powerful form of teatox - green tea is packed to the brim with polyphenols that support the body’s usual detox system. Green tea also supports liver detoxification by increasing enzyme activity in the liver, and supplies antioxidants required to neutralize free radicals. Turn to a reliable cup of green tea for your ‘teatox’, instead of spending money on purchasing pre-made ones online!
Catechins in green tea also help to kill bacteria in our mouth and prevent plaque formation, lowering the risk of cavities and promoting dental health. Studies have also proven that green tea can help to eliminate bad breath!
The high levels of antioxidant and antimicrobial compounds found in green tea helps in reducing acne - simply use cooled green tea as a face wash or lay the tea bag on your face as a compress.
Green tea is also rich in flavonoids, which are chemicals naturally found in plants that protect the body against inflammation. This protects the body against allergies such as sinuses.
With all the benefits that come with green tea, it is also important to note that a little goes a long way - overdosing on green tea might not be the best solution to achieving the aforementioned benefits. Sticking to one or two cups of day will do the trick.
If you’re interested in other quality tea such as flower tea or organic black tea, do check out Nilufer Tea.
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.
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:
P.S. Feel free to replace rose tea with any other flower tea such as lavender or hibiscus tea according to your preference.
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!
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).
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.
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.
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.