Iced Tea. Thirst quencher for hot days.

There are few things more refreshing than iced tea on a hot summer day. And I don’t mean those over-sweetened soft drinks laced with artificial flavors, preservatives and other stuff you don’t really want to know about. Better make it yourself, it’s ready in 5 minutes. Go ahead and time it, I’m not exaggerating. And another thing: it helps against those mean headaches.


1 liter / 4 cups water, boiling
1/2 kg / 1 pound ice cubes
6 teabags or 6 teaspoons black tea
0-4 tablespoons sugar
juice of 1 lemon

Take 6 teabags or 6 heaping teaspoons of loose black tea. Bring the water to boil and when it’s really bubbling, pour it over the tea.

Let it steep for exactly 4 minutes. Then the tea will be strong, but not too bitter. Take out the tea bags or strain the tea if you used loose tea. Then dissolve the sugar in the hot tea – the amount depends on your taste.

Weight out the ice in a big pitcher. You need half the amount by weight as you have tea.

Slowly pour the hot, sweetened tea over the ice cubes. Then add the lemon juice – also according to your taste – and you’re done! Grab a big glass, maybe a straw and sit outside in the sun with your feet up.

Cosmopolitan & White Russian. Carrie meets the Dude.

As much as I like browsing through a menu and ordering a cocktail, I often had the feeling that you get more show than taste. While I think it’s impressive when somebody can juggle full bottles of vodka, I think the taste is way more important. What’s the use of a good show if you can barely drink the result? Believe me, I had my share of undrinkable Caipirinhas and Mai Tais.

So here are two very famous cocktails you can make at home with no show and no equipment at all. One got very popular with “Sex and the City” – though I’m not a big fan of this show, I like the cocktail that’s strong, a little bitter and not too sweet. On the other side of the spectrum lies the White Russian, introduced to the masses by the Dude a.k.a. “The Big Lebowsky”. The cocktail is sweet and smooth, the film is not.

All the hardware you need are some glasses, a spoon and some kind of measuring device for the liquids. I use a jigger I bought at IKEA for around 2 bucks, sporting a 2 cl and a 4 cl side. But you don’t have to go and buy stuff, just look around in your kitchen: a shot glass, an espresso cup, hey – even those breakfast egg cups you never use will work just fine.

Now grab some ice cubes and let’s begin:


1 part vodka
1 part Kahlua
1 part milk or half and half

Grab a handful of ice cubes – or in this case, ice doughnuts – and put them into a glass. No fancy stuff here, just a regular juice glass. Fill in the vodka and the Kahlua.

Top off with milk or half and half (half milk, half cream for the non-Americans) and give it a stir if you like.
Put on a brown bathrobe and stay away from nihilists.


1 part triple sec
2 parts vodka
3-6 parts cranberry juice, according to taste

Again, a handful of ice goes into a glass, then fill in the triple sec and the vodka. No magic here.

Fill in as much cranberry juice as you like – and remember your favorite ratio for the next round.
Put on your highheels and invite your friends over.

Fruit smoothie. Throw in whatever you like.

When I was a child, my mom often made fruit smoothies for me and my brother. At that time, that kind of drink was completely unknown in Germany and my mom called it “liquado” because of her past in Argentina. She bought a US-made blender and that’s the one I’m still using today!

I’m not on a diet – heavens no! – but on the Good Eats episode “Live and let diet“, Alton Brown has some very interesting points on making smoothies:

  • Buy overripe bananas in bulk, then peel and freeze them. 
  • When turning on your blender, start on the lowest setting and move your way up slowly. 
  • Make sure you always see a “vortex” – if not, start over at the lowest setting.

And if you don’t have a blender, then use a tall vessel and a stick blender. It’s a bit messier, but the taste is the same…

I always liked bananas in my smoothie – it’s what I use as a base – and then I add everything fruity I have at home. If you’re lactose intolerant, leave out the milk and use water or soy milk instead. If you’re vegan, leave out the honey, too. If you think you need some extra protein, add a raw egg or just the egg yolk.
And if you have fructose malabsorption, use the fruits your stomach is comfortable with. In my case, bananas and oranges are fine. And I’m still testing the red fruits.

for 2

1 banana (frozen or not)
1 orange, cut into segments
1 cup frozen red berries
1 tablespoon honey or sugar
1 cup of milk or water

Peel the banana and put it in the blender. Peel the orange and cut it into segments. That’s just me, I don’t like the white stuff. If you don’t mind it, just make sure you don’t have any pits left, they’re bitter.

Grab a cup of frozen berries, in this case, red and black currants and blackberries.

Put the berries into the blender, top off with milk, soy milk or water and start your engine. Begin on the lowest setting and work your way up to high speed – and mix it for a couple of minutes. Divide onto 2 glasses and serve with a straw. Drink slowly, unless you like ice cream headaches.