Last weekend at our Celebrate Hops, Herb of the Year 2018 event at the US National Arboretum, we served lots of hop infusions and some herb tea blends and folks liked them so much, I’m posting a few of the recipes here.
Folks who attended our hoppy event were able to sample a number of hop infusions made with different hops so that they could taste the difference in the kinds of hops. All hops taste bitter at first, however some are fruity ranging from citrus like orange, grapefruit, lime, lemon and even pineapple. Some are more tropical like a mango or papaya. Others taste more resinous or piney, while there are also grassy and vegetal tastes.
Since the flavors are so varied, we like to use different hops for different beverages, often combining them with other ingredients to make them more palatable and less bitter. I find that hops work well with all citrus and especially like them with oranges, though lemon and limes are good if you add a bit of sweetener. I like honey, maple syrup or agave to sweeten, although sugar can be used. Stevia also works, though it too adds a bitterness, so you get a double whammy when combined with hops.
All of the lemon herbs blend well with hops; I find that lemon balm makes a nice taste combo and is doubly relaxing before bedtime. Spearmint or peppermint and hops make a pleasant digestive blend, as does the addition of chamomile. Orange mint is quite delightful with hops and some sliced orange. Spice is nice too–I like a bit of ginger with hops–and the fruitiness of crushed coriander seed is quite fun and tasty.
Gert Coleman, my friend, colleague and editor of Hops, Herb of the Year 2018: Brewing & Beyond, wrote a piece in the book titled “Hoppy Teas are Here Again!” She has seven tea recipes; below are two of them (printed with her permission). The book is available at www.iherb.org.
It will also be available this coming weekend at the Annual HSA Conference in Tarrytown, NY. www.herbsociety.org. Gert and I will be available to sign your copy along with other contributors Pat Crocker, Pat Kenny, and Karen O’Brien.
Here is the recipe that I served at the USNA and the second recipe was what the ladies served from the Pennsylvania Unit–sort of a hop lemonade.
Citrus and Hops Tea
In my version I used hops, lemon balm, oranges and orange blossom honey–and stirred in just a little coarsely ground coriander seed.
MAKES 1 QUART
4 tablespoons dried hops
6 teaspoons fresh or dried lemon verbena, lemon balm, or lemon thyme
1 quart boiling water
1 orange, lemon, or lime, sliced into circles
Combine dried hops and lemon herbs in teapot, teaball, French press, or infuser. Pour boiling water over and allow to steep for 5 to 10 minutes. Strain and serve warm or iced. Garnish with citrus circles.
Hops Shandy Tea
MAKES 3 CUPS
1 cup hops tea
2 cups lemonade (or 1 cup lemonade and 1 cup lemon seltzer)
1/2 lemon, sliced into circles
Sprig of mint, lemon verbena or lemon thyme
Make a cup of hops tea (see above), strain and cool to room temperature. In a glass pitcher, combine hops tea with lemonade, add ice, and stir well. Garnish with lemon slices and herbal sprigs.