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Tea Time
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I’ve had four or five people through the shop this week who claim to be partaking of a “dry January,” so I’m going to run with the sentiment from last week’s column for one week more in support of this noble and healthful purpose. But just one week. After that, it’s back to the fun stuff.

So you say you made a Resolution? Replace the ritual.

The big thing for me in the evening is having something nice to sip. It’s the ritual of preparing something, focusing my entire attention on the task for a couple minutes by way of unwinding to the tinkle of the ice, swirling spoon — you know, all that tactile bullshit that is sort of weird to acknowledge out loud but is soothing just the same. It’s the way of sitting down and enjoying a drink to signal being home for the day, settling in. Finally, it’s the actual flavors and sensation of drinking something. Like seasoning a stew, I use the nightly drink to flavor the greater substance of my evening, whether it’s a movie, socializing, or sending a strongly-worded email to my apartment complex's front office, because come on, guys, how hard is it to deliver a package in a timely fashion?

So some evenings — while gazing at my wilted “thank-you” bouquet of roses and carnations, grown on the eastern slope of a Columbian volcano, probably by attractive and happy people who live idyllically in a picturesque village below, and which should have been received and put into water like a f–ing week ago — I opt for the non-alcoholic option. My go-to not-cocktail is Good Earth’s Sweet & Spicy Tea (caffeine free). It checks a number of boxes:
 
  • It is intensely flavorful. For me, a mild-tasting tea does not substitute well for the concentrated flavors of a proper drink. 
  • One tea bag actually works for a full 8 oz. of water. (Most tea bags only really work for 6.) 
  • It doesn’t get bitter if the tea bag stays in, so I don’t have to set a timer or fuss with the bag. I can take the whole works over to the couch with me and simply wait until it tastes strong enough. 
  • Rooibos and herbs. No caffeine, no calories, and doesn’t need sugar or milk. 
  • Amazon sells boxes of it in a six-pack. Prime shipping. ’Nuff said.
 
Good Earth has a few other varieties, none of which I’ve found to be as good as the S&S. In fact, this is the only tea I’ve found that truly replaces the cocktail experience for me (albeit without the buzz), which is why I’m mentioning it in this column. I wish I could say they sponsor me, but alas, I pay full price for my tea. Try it out. I think you will be glad you did. If you’ve got something you advocate as a good evening beverage, I’d like to hear about it — send me an email and let me know.

Drink well.
 
-Chris

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