As a tea drinker, I am automatically drawn to all types of teas. I must admit that I prefer a hearty pot of black tea for starting my day, but I also love herbal teas during the day and especially a warm cup in the evening.
The weather is beginning to warm up here in the Caribbean and thus, I will soon begin seeking cool substitutes for my tea addiction during the day. In my garden, my peppermint plants are blooming beautifully. I am thrilled that mint or “tibaume” as it is well known in Haïti, is producing so profusely. Not only is it a beautiful aromatic plant to have in your garden or even in a pot near your kitchen; it is also so very useful in so many wonderful recipes. For me, my little herbal garden is sheer joy. I love to walk out with my kitchen shears and snip fresh cuttings for use in my recipes. I have mint, 3 types of basil, peppers, dill, fennel, cilantro, rosemary, parsley, sage, thyme, oregano and chives in season at the moment.
Peppermint or ti baume
I make all types of herbal ice teas. I have discovered so many fun ways to combine different flavors to make the most delicious teas for my family. There is always a large pitcher of homemade ice tea in my fridge. Today I decided to make a refreshing herbal ice tea and to use some fresh herbal leaves from the garden. I used mostly fresh peppermint, but as the fennel was also in full bloom; I also added a few sprigs.
Another wonderful ingredient which I discovered when I came to Haïti is the French product Ricqlés alcohol de menthe. This gem of an ingredient is something which I always keep in hand, both in my pantry and my medicine cabinet. It is such a useful item and has long been hailed by the French as an aid for motion sickness. A few drops on a handkerchief were not uncommon as a “pick me up.” The mint alcohol is well known for its calming effects. It is used to relieve fatigue and aid in digestion. A few drops of Ricqlés de menthe in water, infusions or even cocktails is wonderful for the refreshing effect it provides.
Mint alcohol Ricqlés de menthe along with fresh herbs and peppermint tea.
Fennel in my garden
Fennel is light and perfumed with an odor similar to anise. It is wonderful with fish and seafood dishes. It also makes an aromatic tea which is absolutely delicious. The mixture of fennel and mint is a match made in heaven. They go together and compliment each other perfectly. The results were delicious and cooling.
Here is the recipe for my Garden fresh peppermint green tea.
3 green tea bags
3 peppermint tea bags
1 cup fresh peppermint
A few sprigs of fresh Fennel leaves
2 tsp Ricqlés mint alcohol
6 cups boiling water
Sugar to taste
Wash and dry your fresh herbs and remove all impurities.
In a large pitcher place mint tea bags, green tea bags, mint leaves and fennel leaves.
Pour hot water over the tea and leaves. Cover and allow to infuse for about 15 minutes.
Remove tea bags and leaves. Add the Ricqlés de menthe.
You may sweeten at this point if using sugar. I prefer it without, but some like it sweetened.
Allow to cool, then refrigerate.
Serve cold over ice.
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I know that it may be difficult to find the Ricqlés de menthe, depending on where you are situated. By all means use it if you can find it. However, do not let this allow you to not try the recipe if you cannot find it. The fresh mint as well as the tea bags will certainly give a very good flavor.