September 7, 2014

Anise & Ginger Infused Plum Green Tea Mocktail

It feels like every time I post a recipe, a major life event has occurred since I posted the last one. My big news is that I work for Google now! I'm super excited for so many reasons, but mostly because it's an environment where you're doing great things with people smarter than you.

However, there's two other people in my life who have had a major life event. One of my oldest friends just celebrated the birth of his 1st child, Ian! Check out the picture at the end of the post. Derrick and Hannah are amazing people. I suspect that Derrick is going to find a way to write off Ian's future allowances ;) 

My wife and I had Derrick and Hannah over for dinner a couple of weeks before Ian entered the world and I wanted to make a special "mocktail" for Hannah. I went for a seasonal fusion drink that celebrated my favorite part of Summer (the fruits) and incorporated Asian flavors that I knew Derrick and Hannah would be able to pick up on. The end resulted was better than I ever expected. 

This refreshing "mocktail" is perfect for a Summer BBQ on a hot day. Fresh pressed Emerald Pluots (a hybrid of a plum and apricot), lime juice, and cold green tea are lightly sweetened with a star anise & ginger infused syrup. It's topped with a splash of sparkling water that really complements the soft flavors of this drink. 

Anise & Ginger Infused Plum Green Tea Mocktail

Preparation Time: 5-24 hours, depending on what method you choose :)
Makes 43oz of beverage

40oz, filtered cold water
8 tea bags, high quality green tea
6 Emerald Pluots or Plums (whatever you can find that is ripe and sweet)
1 Lime, juiced

Simple Syrup:
1/4 cup, white sugar
1/4 cup, filtered cold water
5 stars, star anise
1" inch, fresh ginger (smashed)

1) Make the green tea by adding the tea bags to 40oz of boiling hot water in a bowl. Let it steep for 3 minutes. After it's done, squeeze the tea bags out and then discard them. Place the bowl of hot tea into the freezer for 30 minutes, or until its completely cold.

2) While the tea is cooling down, juice the pluots. (If you don't have a juicer, it's more labor intensive, but doable. Remove the skins of the fruit and pits with this method, puree the pulp in a blender or food processor, and squeeze out the pulp using a cheese cloth to get the juice). Set aside in the juice in the fridge.

3) To make the simple syrup, bring all of the listed syrup ingredients to a boil in a small pot for 3-5 minutes on high until it starts to thicken. It will continue to thicken as it cools down so don't overcook it or it will turn into candy.

4) Take some of the cooled green tea and add it to a blender with the pluot juice, juice of 1 lime, and simple syrup (including the star anise and ginger).

5) Strain the mixture through a sieve to filter out any bits of the star anise and ginger.

6) Add the strained mixture to the rest of the green tea and chill down in the refrigerator for 2 hours

7) When it's ready, add it to a glass and top it with a splash of ginger ale (or flavored sparkling water if you're not down with the added sugar)

Cheers to you Hannah, Derrick, and Ian!!