Hot Juice: warm up with winter beverages

Citrus defences
Poverty Bay is known for great citrus so we’re lucky to have access to plenty of mandarins, oranges, tangelos, lemons & limes.  We have an overgrown tangelo tree out in the back yard – the fruit isn’t fully ripe until early Spring but we begin juicing them as soon as they are a decent size.  They’re quite sour but nothing a little honey won’t fix.  We also have oranges, mandarins, lemons, limes and grapefruit in various stages of production.

Our most recent additions to the back yard orchard are two easy-peel mandarins.  We planted a Silverhill & a Richard’s Special about 8-9 years ago and these produce plenty of very sweet flavoursome fruit.  However they are not easy to peel and they are very very seedy.  I end up buying bucket loads of the easy-peel seedless mandarins for school lunches so this year we decided to add two of these trees to our citrus bonanza (one is a Kawano and the other, well it’s too cold to go outside to check the label – I am sure there’s snow on the hills….brrrr).
Minted orange 'tea'
Winter is fraught with coughs, colds, sniffles and sometimes worse: fevers, aches, and the dreaded flu.  In an attempt to beef up the body’s defences, our family increases our Vitamin C intake anytime someone feels a little sneezy or wheezy. It can be a challenge to get the teens to drink a hot lemon ginger & honey drink but they are much more partial to hot orange drinks.

Our local herbal and homeopathic dispensary makes a honey & herb viral mix that is our first port of call when throats begin to hurt.  Along with the viral mix, we also prepare a night-time potion that helps put the sufferers to sleep.  The night or sleeper ‘tea’ we keep for when the colds are in full force.  This is one lemon drink we don’t usually have an issue with getting the teens to consume – probably the addition of port helps.

I call these ‘tea’s’ for want of a better term though they do not contain black, green or herbal tea.  I make them up in 1 litre portions at a time and keep them in the fridge so the kids can pour out a mug’s worth and reheat them in the microwave when they need them.

The minted orange ‘tea’ can be drunk cold or hot.  I have used Giffard Mint Syrup which doesn’t have an overly minty flavour at first but leaves a warm feeling in the mouth as if you have drunk orange juice soon after sucking on a peppermint. Add more mint syrup if you would like a stronger mint flavour however I wanted it to be a fleeting flavour that skips off the taste buds and leaves you wondering what it is.  It was my intention to make a mint syrup using fresh mint leaves however when I went to pick some leaves I found the mint had retired for the winter.
Citrus, Rosemary, Apple Cider Vinegar & Honey 'tea'

Citrus, Rosemary & Apple Cider Vinegar ‘tea’

125 ml (½ cup) tangelo or orange juice
125 ml (½ cup) hot water
30 ml (2 tbsp) apple cider vinegar
A sprig of fresh rosemary
Honey to sweeten (optional)

Combine the tangelo or orange juice & apple cider vinegar in a mug.  Stir with the rosemary sprig.  I make this drink up in 1 litre quantities and store in the refrigerator so it is ready for when I need a hot soothing drink.
Minted orange 'tea'

Minted Orange Tea

½ cup orange juice
½ teaspoon mint syrup *
Hot water

Place orange juice in a cup and stir in the mint syrup.  Add hot water to top up the cup.  * I have used Giffard Mint Syrup but you could try a few drops of mint extract or pour the hot water over some fresh mint leaves.  Strain out the leaves and add to the orange juice as above.
Port, Lemon & Honey Sleeper 'tea'

Port, Lemon & Honey Sleeper ‘tea’

¼ cup port or sherry
¼ cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon manuka honey
½ cup boiling water

Combine the port, lemon juice & honey in a mug.  Top up with boiling water and stir until the honey is dissolved.  Drink, stirring now and then to keep the honey dispersed throughout the liquid.

* note: for a 100% New Zealand made mint syrup, try Mrs Thomas’s Mint Syrup.  I haven’t tried yet as I have a large bottle of Giffard Mint Syrup to consume first.  However, with my penchant for all things New Zealand made, this is high on the list of products to try.

* note 2: for an easy homemade mint syrup, try the epicurious minted simple syrup recipe.

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