One of my favorite parts of traveling takes place in my own home. Far away from airports, train stations, and freeways, the joy of traveling begins at the planning stages. The anticipation is part of the adventure. In fact, I’ve been known to do online searches for good flight deals, even when I have no vacation days looming in the near future. I check out restaurants a million miles away or scope out what plays are happening in the West End. Even if my passport is still tucked away, the one in my mind is ready for exploration.
And while anticipation is a sweet part of travel, the most long-lived joys are the memories. As much delight as one feels hopping on trains in far-flung places, perhaps even more happiness occurs in the years that follow. Whether looking through picture albums, putting a wooden topper from Switzerland into a bottle of wine, or making a cup of English breakfast tea, reminiscent of many drizzly days in London warming up with a cuppa, these trinkets and treats are touchstones to times of bliss. They are reminders of the things that I value – meeting new people, learning new things, making discoveries…
In the spirit of that, today and tomorrow I’ll be posting drinks that were inspired by our recent trip to Kansas City. Just a sip and in my mind I’m still relaxing with my husband along the Plaza or taking pictures at the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum. Even while “the daily grind” calls, a part of me is reveling on holiday.
On our recent trip, while looking over the menu at Café Gratitude, I was immediately drawn to one of their tea drinks, I Am Love. Made with Rooibos, Hibiscus, peach, orange, and tangerine, this cool drink ticks all the boxes for a refreshing hit of summer in a glass. Light and sweet, without being syrupy or saccharine, it’s guzzled down cold, combating the heat of a squelching summer.
Red Rooibos (pronounced ROY-boss) has been one of my favorite teas (actually a tisane) for many years. I buy loose Rooibos straight from the bulk tea section at my local Co-op. It’s also available at practically any tea shop, bagged and loose. Also called Red Bush Tea, this South African beverage is naturally caffeine-free with its own natural, mild sweetness. It can be enjoyed hot in the chilly winter months and is also beautiful iced. It’s high in antioxidants and low in tannins, which means that it doesn’t hold the same concerns when eating iron-rich foods. (Beverages that are high in tannins, like coffee and tea, block iron absorption.) It also contains minerals like copper, manganese, fluoride, zinc, magnesium, and potassium.
Now that we’ve returned from our trip, my typically plain glass of Rooibos has gotten a lift with the juice of fresh peaches. This recipe is a simple one (much simpler than you’d find at Café Gratitude), but it takes me back to a weekend getaway and sunny July days.
- 4 cups hot water
- 1 Tablespoon loose Rooibos
- 2 medium-sized peaches, pitted
Steep the Rooibos in hot water in a tea-press or coffee-press for 5-10 minutes. Press the tea and pour it into a pitcher. (Feel free to use bagged Rooibos for this recipe. Simply make four cups of Rooibos and continue as follows.) Juice two pitted peaches in a juicer. Add juice to the Rooibos and combine. Pour over ice immediately and/or refrigerate. (Be sure to save the leftover peach pulp from your juicer. Put the pulp into an ice cube tray and freeze for later use in fruit smoothies.)