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Here, try this: things to drink while you write

"Dalek Serves Tea." Found on Pinterest, source is

On this blog, I intend to cover three very broad topics related to the joy of writing: making room for that joy, tapping into that joy, and sharing that joy. I plan to dip in and out of these subjects at random, and I expect most of my posts will be relatively short & sweet like today's, though there will be exceptions. Today's post is about a really simple trick that helps me tap into the joy of being a writer: by making myself something delicious to drink while I work.


We have been having a ridiculously beautiful June in Maine this year, and this summer my weekends are unusually open (many may recall or should anticipate a period of time in life where, suddenly, every friend you've ever had will get married over a series of four or so summers, and you will spend every weekend from June through September away from home, partying like the rockstar you aren't only to crawl home broke and hungover every Sunday....)

With our unfamiliar free time, my husband and I have taken to camping out in the backyard most of the weekend, sitting in ancient pool lounge chairs (a gift from a friend who didn't want to cart the rusty things over to the dump) and reading. Some of this time I have spent writing, as well.

I have taken to feeling on these beautiful days that my experience is enhanced when I sip a cool drink while I write or read. This past Sunday, I made myself some iced rooibos tea and finished The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (excellent, by the way). Before I moved on to writing for a bit, I paused to think about how tasting and smelling the tea, holding the cold glass, and admiring the amber color of the liquid all enhanced the pleasure I felt in sitting outside to write. There is something about having the ability to pause, whip up a drink in the kitchen, and savor it while I work that helps me access what a pleasure and gift it is that I am able to write, as well.

For me personally, when I am following my weekday morning writing routine I just drink water & coffee (because it's quickest). It's when I write on the weekend or in the evening after work that I really enjoy indulging in something more novel. Something about having a special, delicious drink while I write makes me feel really good, and like writing is an incredible privilege.

Below is a list of my all-time favorite drink recipes. Since I discovered Pinterest in 2011, I have tested more drinks than I may ever remember, but these are the ones that have stood the test of time for me. I didn't think it was appropriate (or even legal) to retype the recipes here, so instead I have linked to the original post where I learned the recipe if it's one I found online. Any tweaks I would suggest are noted.

Chilled drinks

Thai Iced Tea from White on Rice Couple

Thai iced tea is probably my favorite iced drink to make, time permitting. I use honey instead of sugar, and I use a Thai tea mix (option 1 on the page) rather than plain black tea (option 2). For the milk, full fat coconut milk is my fave, and I hit the tea & milk with an aerator before I pour it over ice. YAH-UM.

Adventurous variation: make bubble tea with the above! Bonus: you can pick up the tapioca pearls and the thai tea mix at the same time, at an Asian grocery store or online.

Margarita from Averie Cooks

This is my favorite margarita recipe I've ever found. It only calls for limes, water, tequila (ideally silver), and agave. She recommends you mess with the ratios to see what you like -- if I remember, what I tend to shake up is heavier lime, heavier tequila, lighter agave. (In her recipe, in that order, it would go 1.5, 2, .5 -- it will make sense when you read it!)

I don't typically drink alcohol while I write, but on a hot evening when I feel like getting extra inspired...............

How I make iced coffee:

There are probably one million ways to make iced coffee. Sometimes I cold brew it in the fridge, but I often don't think that far ahead. The way I usually do it might seem high-maintenance but it's an easy way to save good coffee from getting dumped when we over-brew, and it's second-nature for me now! In addition to being a little more frugal, a nice thing about this recipe is you can brew hot coffee and have it truly cold within minutes.

Step one: I freeze coffee ice cubes. You could easily brew a small pot of coffee and freeze a whole tray at once, if you are interested in trying this method. I am more haphazard about the matter. When I have a little leftover in the pot, rather than let it go stale or dump it, I pour it into an ice cube tray. Then I pop the frozen cubes into a container at the back of the freezer. I do this frequently enough that I always have a little stockpile back there.

Step two: I brew regular-strength coffee.

Step three: While the coffee brews I prepare an ice bath with two metal mixing bowls -- the bigger bowl gets water ice cubes and cold water. The smaller bowl sits in the ice bath.

Step four: When the coffee is brewed, I pour it into the smaller bowl. Then, I dump a handful of the coffee iced cubes into the small bowl as well.

Step five: After a couple minutes, your coffee will be thoroughly chilled!

Step six: Tweak. I add milk and do a taste test and either add coffee cubes or water cubes to a glass to pour the coffee over.

A note on coffee ice cubes: it is a cardinal sin to freeze stale, cooled coffee hours after you brew it. Have I committed this sin? Innumerable times. Do I taste the difference? Yes.

Other uses for your coffee cubes: Years ago, Pinterest convinced me to try dumping a bunch of them into a glass and pouring almond or coconut milk over them. It's not my jam, but it could be yours.

How I make iced tea:

I go about tea all differently, perhaps simply because for me there is NO such thing as left over tea, and thus no tea cubes in my freezer.

For patient iced tea, I simply brew normal-strength tea (for e.g., 1 tea bag or 1 teaspoon loose leaf to 8 ounces of hot water). I do this a couple hours before I want to drink it, like when I go in for lunch. I brew it right in a big glass mixing cup so I can see how much water I'm adding. Then I drape a paper towel over it and throw it in the fridge. A couple hours later, I come in and it's cold enough that a couple of ice cubes won't dilute it too much while I drink it.

For impatient iced tea, I brew a double-strong batch of tea (e.g. 2 bags/tsps to 8 oz hot water) in the same mixing cup. Once it's brewed I throw a handful of ice in the mixing cup, stir it, and strain the tea into a glass filled with ice and drink up.

^ Or, make it in the fridge (courtesy of The Yummy Life).

Warm drinks

Chai from Keeper of the Home

I believe I've tried out at least five homemade chai recipes over the years, and this is the one that I use nearly every Sunday night during the winter to make our drinks (I make it with decaf black tea or rooibos.)

I have a little jar of her spice mix and I follow the recipe to a T. For sweetner, I use about half a small dinner spoon of honey--this is the only thing I eyeball.

London Fog Latte from Gimme Some Oven

This is another all-time favorite drink recipe. It's intended to be enjoyed with Earl Grey tea, but it's also a lovely way to drink plain black tea.

Matcha Latte from The Vintage Mixer

Similar to the chai, I've seen lots of variations on matcha lattes, but this has been my favorite.

I use a little handheld aerator to mix up my matcha, rather than a traditional tea whisk. (The same kind of tool you can use to put a little froth on your milk at home.)

Golden Milk from Fresh Bites Daily

Again, there are one million ways to make "golden milk" (generally speaking, a warm milk drink made with turmeric and ginger). This is the ratio/recipe I have enjoyed most, and even my non-hippie husband will drink this in the winter. One addition I make is I tend to mix in a small bit of coconut oil or ghee, in keeping with suggestions I've read in ayurvedic books and blogs about the qualities of winter & my consitution.

A recommended read

While we're on the subject, can we talk about The Book of Coffee and Tea?

If you are interested in coffee and/or tea, you should pick up this book sometime. It has a wealth of historical information about the two subjects (less on herbal tea), in addition to lots of practical information about how to get it right in your own kitchen. I got it for my birthday a couple years ago and I just devoured it, and now it lives on top of the cookbooks in the kitchen. There's also a small appendix of drink recipes, and the ones I've tried are great. This book changed how we brew coffee at our house for the better!


I hope this inspires you to try something fun the next time you sit down to do some writing! I'm not sure what the alchemy is, but I really just feel a little extra blessed to be able to spend an afternoon, evening, or weekend writing when I have the luxury of making myself a delicious drink to sip while I work. I hope the magic works for you as well.