Monday, January 9, 2017

Oliver Pluff & Co: Lemon Ginger and Orange Clove Hot Toddy Kits, A Tea Cocktail Review

You know what is nice, being able to mostly smell and taste again. It is not 100% back to normal (honestly it hasn't been since that last sniffle fest I got in December) but it is functional. Yes, I am slowly (tooooo slowly) getting better. Still using my sick time moderately productively, mostly playing Minecraft mods, snuggling my cats, and organizing my messy tea stash.

This review is something new for me, I am looking at a tea themed cocktail, at least I think that a hot toddy counts as a cocktail, I honestly am not sure! Mostly I don't drink, I love the taste of various alcohols but really dislike the way it makes me feel, so when I do indulge it is usually only a very small amount. Which brings us to the double feature of today's blog, looking at Oliver Pluff & Co's Hot Toddy Kits in Lemon Ginger and Orange Clove. This company is after my heart, not only is it located in one of my favorite cities (Charleston, SC) it has an historic theme, making blends and teas based on classic American teas, celebrating the tradition of tea that long wrapped around this country's history. One such historical beverage is the Hot Toddy, a tonic drank to relieve the cold, relax before sleep, and to relieve the symptoms of the flu/colds, brought to Scotland from India (the toddy there refers to palm wine) by the East India Trading Company, it eventually wandered its way to the colonies where it was very much enjoyed in the winter.

The first one I tried was the Orange Clove, on Boxing Day since nothing is more holiday themed to me than an Orange clove pomander which this tisane smells just like. Blending orange peel, roasted chicory, and cloves, it really smells like Christmas to me, or at the very least like winter with my mom's love of orange clove simmering potpourri, so way to turn on the nostalgia factor. Each of the kits comes with little muslin teabags and cinnamon sticks, you just provide the water, honey, and alcohol of choice (I went with Jim Bean Bourbon, a favorite whiskey of mine.) I ended up using a quarter of the whiskey recommended on the instructions because I am a total light weight and didn't want to get tipsy.

The taste of oranges and cloves really works with the bourbon, since it is sweet and woody in nature with an underlying spice, I found it didn't overwhelm the honey or oranges too much, and of course, the numbing nature of the cloves took away a little of the bite from the alcohol. The toddy fulfilled its mythical use of making me feel very relaxed and warm after a long day taking part in Boxing Day sales. It is also quite fun to chew on the cinnamon sticks after the cup has been emptied. At some point I would like to try this with a dark rum since a spiced dark rum can be quite tasty.

So several days past and it is New Year's Eve and yours truly is nursing the flu, my throat is killing me at this point and I am exceptionally cranky. Since I want some sort of relief and Hot Toddies were used as a remedy for flu symptoms I think it is a perfect opportunity to try the Lemon Ginger, luckily when I get the flu I don't get a stuffy nose so my sense of taste and smell is not messed with, a small mercy. The aroma of this blend of lemongrass, lemon peel, and ginger smells very sweet blending strong ginger and citrus.

The taste is pretty great, strong ginger tingling with a refreshing and soothing citrus sweetness that blends well with the honey and bourbon. I did find that the ginger was strong enough that for the most part the bourbon is the background note, making it more suitable for a flu remedy since really the last thing I wanted was a strong punch of bourbon when I felt unwell. It did due wonders for my sore throat and aches, better than actual flu meds since the side effects of those tend to play havoc with my Restless Leg Syndrome and Fibromyalgia weirdness. A little old fashion, but you know, I will take it if it gives me a few hours of relief! I think flavorwise the Orange Clove might be my favorite since it is hitting the nostalgia factor, but both are quite enjoyable. Speaking of nostalgia, I thought, while drinking these, that they tasted a lot like things I was given when I was sick as a kid...turns out I was right. Of course with only a tiny drop of brandy or whiskey, I had a lot of chest infections as a kid so it makes sense I would want something soothing that wasn't codeine cough syrup! So celebrate Hot Todyy Day on the 11th by drinking one of these!

This tea was sent for review purposes by the company.

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