My Top 10 Beverages

1. Water

The nectar of life. I don’t drink enough of it but rejoice in it’s glory with every sip.

2. Tea

By tea I mean the species Camellia Sinensis or the “tea plant.” Tea is the drink of choice for most of the planet so its not that strange that it is mine as well. There are so many great styles of preserving and preparing one plant that it can be hard to know where to start for some. My two favorite types are pu-erh and oolong (both aged, Chinese teas with long traditions). Oolongs (semi-oxidized leaf) and pu-erhs (fermented leaf) can range from a stout-like malty brew to a honey-like delicate nectar. I would argue that tea has a wider range of flavors, acidity, and mouthfeel than any other beverage. Make sure to get the best loose leaf, closest to the source that you can get because if you have quality leaf you can steep the same leaves many times and each cup is uniquely beautiful. Also do not use boiling water unless you want to have a flat, bitter flavor profile and burn away the complexity. I’m not here to say how I enjoy tea is better or worse than anyone else’s way. I just love tea and if you love your boiled tea bag that is amazing and I would love to have a cup over some conversation. Cheers!

3.Coffee

Coffee is great. I only drink it black or straight shots unless it is a good macchiato or cappuccino (or a red-eye when I’m feeling spicy). I love nutty, earthy, and tart flavor profiles and the caffeine takes me back to being prescribed Adderall as an ADHD youngster. I drink a morning cup most days when I wake up and it’s almost more of a dessert or treat for me if I drink one in the afternoon.

4. Kratom

Controversial. Exotic. Coffee alternative and coffee relative. Made from a leaf and found at kava bars. A wonderfully delightful tropical plant from southeast Asia.

5. Herbal tea

An extremely broad category of drink to soothe the soul and excite the senses. I am not as prickly about herbal teas, I just prefer them to only contain fruit, spices, and herbs; no flavorings or tea leaves. I am a huge fan of Celestial Seasonings teas as they are nostalgic and they are just generally tasty to me. Pairs well with a good fantasy book.

6. Mead

My favorite of the alcoholic beverages but finding mead I enjoy in a store is more difficult than I would like. Most of them are overly sweet for my palate and just do not give me that wow-factor. Savanah Bee Company in Charleston is a place where I can find a lot of meads that appeal to me and I am always open to other sources. Luckily making mead at home is relatively simple and does not take a lot of effort, only time for aging. There are at least dozens of varietal honeys that have a range of acidity and kaleidoscope of character. You can add fruit if that is your fancy. You can make a ≈5% carbonated mead so you have have a cool pint or make a deeply complex and rich wine-style mead. The history of mead is at least as old as any alcohol and extends far beyond the vikings, monks, and castles (but plenty of those too). I make mine dry as a bone and lately have been experimenting with session meads (carbonated, 5-8%). The mead subreddit is a great place for information especially if you want to get serious about nutrients but it can be as simple or complex of a process as you want. Just remember to sanitize!

7. Beer

It’s good stuff. Makes me feel like a dwarf or a hobbit.

8. Wine

It’s also good stuff. Makes me feel like an elf or medieval royalty.

9. Absinthe

There is so much myth and mystery around this beautiful spirit that many people have something to say about it but most are just repeating baseless claims. With anise as the most prominent flavor for most absinthes most love it or hate it (think black licorice). I love it. I love getting out our absinthe fountain (a ludicrously extravagant water dripper) and preparing a glass. I love the development of the louche (the way the liquid goes from clear or transparent green to swirling almost-pearlescent beauty). The art nouveau and Van Gogh aesthetics associated with this beverage only adds to my appreciation of the beverage but they are really just the cherries on top.

10. Kava

A root. Scientific name translates to “intoxicating pepper.” Alcohol alternative and loved by people of many Pacific islands. It got a bad rap due to poorly manufactured extracts but just stick to the whole root if you want the most popular and traditional experience. It does taste like pepper dirt though so there’s that.

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