From the court of the Bentivoglio family in Bologna during the 1600s comes this recipe for hot chocolate. Their cook, Giuseppe Lamma, was responding to the fashion of the day in writing a recipe for processing the cocoa bean along with his own rendition of the drink, chocolate (the candy was still far off). Some historians claim Italians taught the art of chocolate making to the French and English in the 1700s. Another logical explanation is all the Spanish connections with those countries through diplomacy, noble marriages and alliances. After all, it was the Spanish who brought chocolate to Europe from the Americas, and they adopted chocolate drinking with great enthusiasm.
I keep a pint-sized jar of a yeasty ginger brew fermenting on my kitchen counter for our homemade sodas and herbal tonics.
This water, lightly scented with fresh mint and cucumber, is sneakily refreshing. For the full treatment, serve it in a glass icy cold from the freezer. The salt brings the flavors of the cucumber up, and the longer the water steeps, the more intense the flavors become.
Instant Iced Tea:
Real lemonade is the lemonade that sends a shiver down your back when you take that first sip. It’s a perfect balance of sweet, tart and cool. This recipe is based on the idea of one medium lemon per person. Adjustments are easily made depending on your love of sweetness. We like to make a simple syrup and keep it in our fridges during the summer months as it dissolves immediately in cool drinks, but any sweetener can step in — stevia, agave or even a big scoop from the sugar bowl.
We had the good fortune to spend a week in Mexico City a few years back, and while we ate killer food like madwomen, we were both entirely won over by the fruit waters, or aguas frescas that Mexicans routinely drink. Made daily with puréed fresh, ripe fruit, water and sugar, they are utterly enchanting and perfect for summertime sipping. You won’t miss the alcohol, we promise.
Ruby red with a bright sour flavor reminiscent of rose hips (think Red Zinger tea), hibiscus flowers or Jamaica as it is known in Mexico, this is a refreshing and beautiful drink to brew up in the hot months. It is, in fact, filled to the brim with vitamin C and is believed to have diuretic properties to boot. Serve it on ice with a shot of Simple Syrup to sweeten.
Cola-flavored extracts aren't necessary for cola flavor. After all, those extracts originally started as real ingredients, so why not go right to the source? This formula yields a beautiful cola concoction using all fresh and dried ingredients, readily available in most home refrigerators and spice cupboards. The one ingredient you might have to search for is gum arabic. It's there for mouthfeel rather than flavor, so if you don't have it, your cola will still be delicious; it will just seem a little thin.
Hot chocolate holds on the stove for an hour or longer, and can be stored in the refrigerator for 2 days.