Time to Say Thank You & Entertain with Tea!
First, we thank YOU, our loyal readers and customers, for your generous support all year long.
Second, we believe in both the THANKS and the GIVING of this holiday and tea is the quintessential gift to express this.
Perhaps no one has shown us more poignantly how to give thanks with tea than Sen Genshitsu (Soshitsu XV.) This Zen/Tea Master traveled the world for decades to present kencha (tea offerings) which he described as “peace in a bowl of tea.” You don’t need to be a venerable sage to offer peace with your own version of a bowl of tea to those in discomfort or discord or to express gratitude or to share hospitality with friends or strangers. A bowl of tea a gesture of thanksgiving we can give freely, easily, and at very little cost of time or money.
Here are some ideas of how you can share tea with others for the Thanksgiving season and during your own holiday meal at home:
How to Say Thank You with Tea!
Think of all the givers in your life: the mailman, the gardener, nannies and caregivers, and those who help you maintain your home, car, or work environment. How can you say thank you?
Share a cup of hot tea with someone less fortunate than you or those who could use the comfort of a pleasant “tea time” to ease loneliness or isolation. Send a selection of teabags and cookies to your local shelter. Better yet, buy a cup of hot tea for someone homeless on the street, especially if you live in cold weather states. Arrange a tea party at your local nursing home or senior citizens center. Host a tea party for teachers in your child’s schools or for teacher colleagues if you are a teacher. You’ll brighten the day and provide the warmth and sustenance of tea.
Give your time. Without a doubt, time is the most generous present you can give. Too often, no one takes care of the caretaker — of our elderly, our children or those loved ones who are ill. To say thank you to those who devote so much time, energy, and service to us, consider giving your caretakers time off. Better yet, time off with pay, if at all possible.
Do for others. Running errands for shut-ins, elderly, those ill or grieving is a very generous way to spend your time. You can pickup or return library books and DVDs, buy groceries, pick up prescriptions, whatever is needed. When you return from these errands, extend your “present with your presence” by sharing a cup of tea, and your friendship.
Give Teas as a present. For those special people who went above and beyond this year, consider a tangible gift like a HOLIDAY MUG packed with tea bags. If budget is tight, shop thrift or dollar stores for inexpensive teacups and mugs, or buy some at your favorite shop. Place some delicious Adagio tea bags in them, wrap up in colorful cellophane, tie with a ribbon, and voila! Your janitor, plumber, veterinarian, nurse or other professional will love it.
For those true tea enthusiasts in your life, try the one-size fits all gift of gifts, an Adagio Gift Certificate.
Party with Tea!
Thanksgiving meals, traditional or eclectic, should always begin with something to drink, and nothing says “welcome and thanks for coming” than a delicious punch or a tea-infused cocktail.
Using caffeine-free rooibos in a punch is not only a thoughtful beverage for a mixed-age group, it’s yummy. Brew up a few quarts of Rooibos Cinnamon Apple and watch the line form to the punch bowl. To prepare, brew as per directions, slowly pour into a large clear-glass punchbowl, and add ice. For hot-tea drinkers, brew and serve from insulated thermoses into heat-resistant glass cups or porcelain mugs. Makes a delicious accompaniment to that holiday meal apple pie, too; ice cream optional.
For the adults in the room, a little rum, whiskey or vodka is a delicious addition to the punch described above, or try your hand at a tea cocktail.
For any tea cocktail, brew your tea selection with twice the amount of tea for black or oolongs; use the same ratio for green tea but brew at room temperature water to avoid bitterness. Add 1 part alcohol to 4 parts tea, add ice as desired, or chill the tea before serving. A martini shaker helps to meld the flavors. If the drink requires some sweetening, experiment with honey or sugar using 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon; less is more!
Lapsang Souchong Lovely: This smoky Chinese black tea brewed double strength then blended with 1 vanilla bean and 1 cinnamon stick. Remove the bean and stick, then add 1 T of brown sugar and 1 part dark rum to 4 parts tea. Shake or stir until the sugar is dissolved, and serve over ice in a short tumbler. If you don't want the smoky aspect of Lapsang, any hearty black tea like Assam, Ceylon or Keemun will also work well.
Earl Grey Toddy: Whiskey lovers will adore this one! For each serving, brew your favorite Earl Grey tea double strength, then add 2 tangerine segments, 2 T whiskey (Bourbon or Scotch,) 1 star anise, and allow to marinate a few minutes. Sieve out the anise and citrus and pour into a pretty cup or mug and add a cinnamon stick as a stirrer. (Optional.) Can be made in large quantities with either loose leaf Earl Grey or teabags. If tangerines are not available, use any other citrus, like lemon, orange, blood orange or even grapefruit segments. To sweeten, add only honey or sugar. Please, do not use an artificial sweetener with alcohol as it negatively impacts the taste.
Infuse your Recipes with Tea!
Tea can be used to flavor gravy (Assam or Keemun,) scent rice (Jasmine or Earl Grey,) or add a little oomph to stuffing (Ceylon or Darjeeling.) Just substitute brewed tea for ¼ to ½ of the liquid you’d normally use in these dishes, and enjoy.
Tea IN desserts makes a delightful coda to any meal, but especially Thanksgiving. Consider substituting a little chai in pumpkin or sweet potato pie for a spicy finish. The perfect brew? Honeybush Pumpkin Chai!
You can also add your favorite flavored tea to brownies, lemon bars, or cookies. Substitute ¼ to ½ of the liquid you’d normally use with lightly brewed tea.