What I Drank Wednesday: Holiday Edition

Look at me, posting a WIDW two weeks in a row! This week’s theme is Holiday drinks, and includes beer, coffee, and tea. I’m a sucker for themed drinks, and like to try them all. A lot of times, though, I find that themed and overly marketed drinks are average at best. The ones below are the exception to my made up rule in that they are themed, and they’re good. We should probably start off with the good stuff (the beer) first, right?!

Harpoon’s Winter Warmer: I had this beer for the first time at the end of the season last year and loved it, so I knew that as soon as it became acceptable to talk about the Holidays, I had to get my hands on some. In simple terms, it tastes like the Holidays (cinnamon, nutmeg), but not in an overpowering way. It manages to be light, but also warm you up, as the name suggests. This is definitely the kind of beer you want to have on hand for Holiday get togethers! [Spiced Ale, 5.9% ABV]

Winter Warmer
This will warm you up!

Shiner’s Holiday Cheer: Despite having “Holiday” in the name, it’s far from what you would expect as a traditional Holiday beer (at least for me). When I think of Winter Holidays, I think of the spices found in the Winter Warmer. This brew, however, throws that logic out the window and instead you get the taste of peaches and pecans. It is so delightfully fruity and light, and reminds me a lot of Magic Hat’s #9. Despite the summery flavors, it definitely works as a Holiday beer, and I can just picture sipping it in Shiner, Texas (where it likely makes sense to have such a light and fruity beer for winter). [Dunkelweizen, 5.4% ABV]

Holiday Cheer
Peaches & pecans are needed in the snow

Southern Tier’s Creme Brûlée: Oh man. I should preface this by saying up until a few weeks ago, I was very much not a stout fan. I could drink a Guinness if it was given to me, but it was never my drink of choice. They were always just a little too heavy and bitter for me. But after finally trying Founder’s Breakfast Stout a few weeks ago while out after work, and really liking it, I decided it was about time to try more. So when Jenny suggested I give Southern Tier’s Creme Brûlée a try (with some dark chocolate), I made sure to pick it up when I went to the liquor store… and I got the last one! As soon as I opened the bottle I could smell the vanilla and caramel; it smelled like dessert. I was nervous to give it a try because I had such high hopes, and I wasn’t disappointed! It was so good. Not only could I smell the vanilla and caramel, but I could taste it. It’s a perfect “dessert beer,” or a beer to have when you want something a little heavier and sweet, rather than a light sweet beer (such as the Holiday Cheer above). [Imperial Milk Stout, 9.5% ABV]

Creme Brulee
Slowly becoming a stout lover

Starbucks Christmas Blend coffee: No more beer! Starbucks puts out this blend every year, and it’s really good. I actually love all of their seasonal blends (Thanksgiving, Holiday, Christmas, etc.), but this may be my favorite. Made up of beans from a bunch of different regions (South America and Indonesia), I enjoy it every morning, but find it also pairs well with desserts. It’s a darker roast, but isn’t overpowering, and smells fabulous.

Starbucks Christmas Blend
Jingle jingle

Celestial Seasonings’ Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride Tea: I had heard of this tea for a few years before actually trying it. I couldn’t  believe that there was actually a tea flavor that tasted like sugar cookies. When I finally tried it last year I was in shock; not only did it taste like sugar cookies, but it tastes like my favorite frosted cake-like sugar cookies (like the one pictured below)! Well, the people were right – it tastes like a sugar cookie. This is a perfect tea for when I’m craving something sweet but don’t have anything around. The smell is phenomenal, and I promise it tastes as good as it smells. It’s perfect for someone like me that will almost always choose coffee over tea, but actually wants tea every once in awhile. If you love it, then you may want to consider buying wholesale tea.

Sugar cookie, sugar cookie tea. Both delicious.
.Sugar cookie, sugar cookie tea. Both delicious.

I love taking advantage of different food and drink based on the season, and have been lucky enough to discover some really great ones.

Tell me…
Do you have any favorite Holiday themed drinks?
Any Holiday themed drinks I should try?

Tea for Two – Giveaway!

Both my fiancé and I are tea fans. Though we don’t drink it regularly, as we’re coffee guzzlers by design, we often enjoy a cup of tea with dessert after dinner, or randomly throughout the day. So, when I was offered yet another Celestial Seasonings Tea Giveaway, I couldn’t resist! [Head down to the bottom of this post for entry info]

Growing up, I didn’t really drink coffee or tea. I remember my parents had an adorable Boston bear mini-mug for me, and whenever they would have tea, they’d make me some too. However, it was always too hot when I tried to drink it, and I’d wind up waiting too long, and it would either be lukewarm or down right cold, leaving it less than desirable to drink. I felt like Goldilocks when it came to my tea as a child; it was either too hot or too  cold, and I couldn’t get it just right.

After abandoning tea for a few years and switching to coffee by my junior year of high school (7:30am start time is just cruel for teenagers), I finally decided to give tea a second shot in college. It came in handy during my junior and senior years when living off-campus our house was usually cold and I couldn’t wear enough layers to stay warm. Now that I can afford to pay my heat bill, I’m still enjoying tea.

As I began to drink tea more and more, I discovered there’s so much more out there aside from your typical black, Earl Gray, English, breakfast, and green teas! I was given two boxes of Celestial Seasoning’s Gen Mai Cha tea to try. I was psyched since I’ve never even heard of that type of tea, let alone tried it. It has just a slight hint of rice flavor combined with the green tea flavor. It’s interesting, and really enjoyable. Though I’m no tea connoisseur, I recommend trying it. Since I ususally gravitate towards sweet and dessert or coffee flavored teas (i.e. your peach, vanilla, etc.), it was a nice change of pace to have a more savory flavored tea. Since I’m always up to try new flavors and styles of tea, I thought you might be also. Enter the giveaway…

One lucky reader will receive the following from Celestial Seasonings:
– Decaf Sleepytime Lemon Jasmine Green Tea
– Tin Tea Caddy
– Magnet
– Lip balm
– Honey sticks

How to enter – do any or all of the following, and leave a comment for each:
1. Simply leave me a comment about anything, or about tea
2. Follow me on Twitter, and/or tweet about the giveaway

You have until Thursday 4/14 at 9pm EDT to enter!

Tea Time and a Giveaway!

When I was contacted to try some of Celestial Seasoning’s new Antioxidant Max Green Teas, I jumped at the offer! I’m a huge coffee fan, but I’m partial to tea as well. My fiancé and I will oftentimes have tea with our dessert (a cupcake, a cookie, etc.). We have tins upon tins of loose teas, and quite a few tea packets as well. [Scroll down for entry rules]

The package I received came with four full boxes of yummy tea; Blackberry Pomegranate Green Tea, Sleepytime Green Lemon Jasmine, Blood Orange Starfruit, and Dragon Fruit Melon. They all sounded so exotic and fruity, I didn’t know which one to try first! In addition to their delicious flavors, they boast that each serving contains 20% of the daily recommended intake for Vitamin C! I don’t know about you, but in these super cold dreary months, I could certainly use some extra Vitamin C to keep the sniffles away. They are also calorie (the Sleepy time does have some calories) and gluten free, as well as Kosher certified.

Once I opened the package, I was intrigued by the actual tea packets that also included the best sencha brands. They aren’t individually wrapped, rather they come in one big pouch, and are sans strings and tags. According to the information sheet that came with the teas, this allows them to save more than 3.5 pounds of waste each year! And, of course, the packaging is made of 100% recycled materials.

So, onto the flavor! I decided to have a cup of the Sleepytime Green Lemon Jasmine, while my fiancé sampled the Blackberry Pomegranate Green (he’s obsessed with pomegranates). As soon as I put my fiancé’s tea bag in his warm water, I could instantly smell the fruit, and it smelled good! They each only take 2 minutes to steep, which was surprising to us, as all of our loose teas take anywhere from 5 to 8 minutes. Even though that seemed like a short amount of time, it was plenty of time for the tea bags to transfer the flavor into our water. We both drink our tea without any adders, so it was a great way to really get a taste of the flavors. The Sleepytime was the perfect end of the day tea (since it is caffeine free) – the lemon and jasmine were comforting, and the green tea added a nice refreshing quality. My fiancé’s was fruity! When I took a sip I felt like I should have been laying on a tropical island, not in 10 degree weather. The smell and the actual flavor were right on par, and it wasn’t too much – it was just right. I can’t wait to try the other two flavors.

So, now the question is, do you want some of this yummy tea for yourself?! The winner will receive exactly what I got – four awesome teas (20 tea packets in each), of Celestial Seasoning’s Blood Orange Star Fruit Green Tea, Dragon Fruit Melon Green Tea, Blackberry Pomegranate Green Tea, and Sleepytime Green Lemon Jasmine Tea. There are a few ways to enter, and each of the ways will give you an extra entry:

  • Leave a comment here (it can be anything, but something tea related would be nice!)
  • Follow me on Twitter (then come back here and tell me you did)

I’ll choose the winner by Thursday 1/27 at 9pm EST using Random.org.