bourbon in the morning

Rooibo Bourbon.  1 Tsp ~7 min.
That’s what the instructions say on my Alice’s Tea Cup bundle of tea.  Though it sounds like a song Crash Test Dummies would sing.  It’s pouring here, and without exception, it’s a tea day.  "Please," I pleaded to The Suitor, "make it for me?"  I’m lazy and tired and he’s already up.  "Only brew it for seven minutes or else it becomes bitter."
"Do you want to do it?"  That’s my cue to shut it.  I smile.  He presses on.  The tea tastes like what a pipe smells like.  It’s perfect. Red. Warm, spicy, smooth, and vanilla sweet. 

Last time I was in London I loaded up on teas and jams.  Gifts for friends, but once I arrived back in the states, I didn’t want to part with them.  Silver needle jasmine.  Fig balsamic jam.  So I visited Alice’s Tea Cup, a bit of magical tea wonderland that caters to children and pregnant women having showers.  I stayed for scones and tea sandwiches with my own pot of tea, and I left with, "Anything that looks like I might have brought it back from England," which meant tea kettles.  But I couldn’t just bring them back a kettle without tea!  So I sucked it up and gave my friend, who was caring for Linus while I was gone, a variety of Alice’s teas along with her kettle. 

"Oh my God, that bourbon tea is sooo good, Stephanie!"
"I know!  The man at the store told me it’s decaf and that he has pregnant ladies who take the used leaves and rub them on their distended bellies!"  My friend loves information like this.  I still don’t understand the benefit of this or why the man at Alice’s felt the need to tell me this.  "It’s my favorite," he also said.  That’s always good enough for me, when the service staff tells me what’s good. "Well, I just love the chicken."   Unless they follow it up with, "but well, I don’t eat red meat, so."  I trust easily when it comes to food, despite how discerning I can be. 

I don’t trust when it comes to movies.  "I hated it and wanted to walk out," my friend Jennifer says of a movie she’s seen recently.
"So that means I’ll love it," I respond.  I’m so easy when it comes to movies, especially a chick flick.  Even when it’s bad, I sit through it and make the most of it.  Just like days like today; thunderstorms are brighter with a spot of tea and a French toast stick for the dunking.  Clotted cream would be nice.  But I’ll settle for a viewing of Baby Boom, the perfect rainy day movie, aside from The Goonies.  And I’ll shower while singing along to The Crash Test Dummies.



  1. '
    I was looking for some good music and checked out what kinda music you liked listening to…coldplay etc, A band that might interest you are The Sundays. I used to listen to them alot when i was at my desk writing…have a listen and tell me what you think!My favourite one is "I feel Fine"… Weather in Oslo has turned cold….just when I was sure summer had finally descended upon .

  2. Don't you mean Rooibos tea as opposed to Rooiboo? Rooibos comes from South Africa and thats where I am, so I should know … rooibos has loads of uses

  3. I laughed reading "'Do you want to do it?' That's my cue to shut it." That, coupled with a movie — any movie, really, unless it's some disturbing horror/gore-fest — works on certain days.

    Having someone there to share it only makes it better — and if they're making something for you — with or without instruction — warm and comfy, it goes from better to perfect.

  4. bourbon tea? delicious. i usually reserve my bourbon consumption for my Manhattans, but I'll try this tea! thanks for the recc.

  5. all rooibos is wonderful – and naturally decaf. no nasty chemicals, lots of wonderful benefits. better than regular tea, i think.

    and, yes, it's south african. carol, it's gotten very trendy here lately. i still buy the real stuff from cape town.

  6. a general comment: just wanted to let you know, Stephanie, that your writing and the glimpses of your life in general have actually been an inspiration and source of motivation to me. As dramatic as that sounds. I'm in my twenties, struggling to balance my career and a relationship with all of my endless other passions and interests. Some are a lot like your own (writing, photography, cooking, etc)… Realizing the hard work you must have put into your advertising job, without ever using that as a reason to neglect the rest of your life… I really admire that. Its hard to do.

  7. I'll take the dare – fresh, hot krispy creme doughnut (just melts in your mouth) and ice cold white milk!

  8. I have never been able to appreciate tea, it's always been coffee; for me. This post makes me want to experience teas though, perhaps I have been making them wrong (how hard can boiling water be? I know, but I always find them either dish-watery or bitter) or buying the wrong tea?

    Enjoy your day, it sounds wonderful.

  9. That Mmmmmm song that they had out a million years ago really turned me off….it was kind of creepy. I haven't heard of them in years, maybe I'll give them another try? So jealous of your cozy day. Me = grey New York office.

  10. Aminah,
    Wow! I thought I was the only person on the planet who has even heard of The Sundays. I was reading this post and thought of their song, "My Finest Hour":

    and I'll keep hoping you are the same as me,
    and I'll send you letters and come to your house for tea.
    we are who we are, what do the others know?
    but poetry is not for me
    so show me the way to go home

    My soundtrack for the day…..

  11. Afternoon tea at Claridges in London – there is NOTHING like it. The best £40 i have spent in a long time. Time seems to stop when you are there and you can try as many teas and eat as many crustless sandwiches as you want – amazing, truly amazing.

  12. Oh tea. I love Jacksons of Piccadilly's Earl Gray. I love Good Earth's Original Sweet & Spicy Herb Tea. And the best thing of all, in a long, hot summer, is a rainy day and no pressing obligations. Tea, Lifetime movies for women, fire in the fireplace…bliss. Enjoy.

  13. "Only brew it for seven minutes or else it becomes bitter."

    "Do you want to do it?" That's my cue to shut it

    sigh… :(

  14. There is a fabulous new tea bar on 14th St. in NYC called Tavalon Tea. They have this fantastic green tea matcha powder that makes the most incredible green tea lattes. All the other teas I've had there have also been brewed to perfection. I highly recommend it.

  15. Ahh…Claridges. I don't know about time stopping….but I'll agree with you on everything else Rebecca.

  16. The Crash Test Dummies "superman's song" is just about one of my favorite songs ever. Takes me back to college. Good times. Not many people probably even know they had an album before the mmmmm, mmmmm, mmm, mmm song came out. Yup. The Ghosts That Haunt Me brings me back. An asshole of an ex-boyfriend stole it when he stole all my cd's. I think I'll have to buy the Superman Song for my ipod. Thanks for the reminder!

    Oh, and the tea sounds devine!

  17. I love Sam Shephard in that movie, he's so sexy. He's even sexier and taller in real life too! ~Jodi

  18. Yes, "The Goonies" is a wonderful rainy day movie, but a triple feature of "Say Anything", "Mystic Pizza" and "Singles" is pure bliss.

  19. What's the recipe for this bourbon tea? Are you just adding that one teaspoon in your desired flavored tea of the morning?

  20. I do know The Sundays (But I only have Wild Horses and Summertime), I think on the reco of a reader once upon a post ago when I wrote about my obsession with the song Wild Horses.

    As for Tea at Claridges, yes, I have done it. I also did it after an absurd day of shopping, by stopping at Harrods (after the tea shopping) for clotted cream and its conduit, the scone. Goddamn was that good. I cannot wait to return to London for book tour.

  21. "Mexican Coffee w/white tequila, almond biscotti,"

    How about Mexican coffee with Bailey's?

  22. Rooibos is my favourite! Although I don't find it in many shops. Rooibos & orange infusion is so good…

  23. So u DO know Alice's!!! Croque Madame on a rainy day at Alice's Tea Cup the best afternoon in the city ever…. Oooooo I miss it so much.

  24. Momakraft…I have both of those soundtracks loaded onto my iPod.

    Add to it those of 'Practical Magic' and 'Beautiful Girls'.

    Doesn't get any better.

  25. Man. I never reply even though I read you all the time, but must — MUST — comment on the shout out to Baby Boom. Love it. If it is on cable, even if on the crappy WE channel that edits poorly and has way too many commercials, I can't help myself. Country Baby is the best!! I'll throw out Space Camp as an all-time favorite, rainy day movie as well. So many stars when they were young…

  26. Yes, it is Rooibos. My favorite! My mom was British so I guess I got those tea loving genes. The Rooibos has a ton more antioxidants than most other teas, even green. Since it's a finer tea, I found a really cool mug/cup with a superfine strainer at the bottom from, the mug is called ingenuiTEA and it works great. Bibil, you can find lots of tea on Adagio's site and they have a lot of sample sizes to try for cheap.

  27. The real S. African Rooibos is seriously gamey and pungent. And wonderful. The closest they get anywhere outside SA are the red teas called Rooibos, but flavored with vanilla and tropical flowers. Not quite the same effect. Like a pipe, indeed, but a rusted pipe.

    I am sure you'd love the genuine article. Brew a pot in your field steeper out on the veldt, grab a bag of rusks, pull out your camera and take photos of the giraffes as they eat the tall leaves on the acacia trees.

    Or alternately, watch a video

  28. Mexican Coffee w/white tequila, almond biscotti,
    Gone with the Wind or You've Got Mail, the soundtrack to Hope Floats or even 13 Going on 30, depending on the day.

  29. I'm one of those people who will tell you the chicken is divine and then follow it up with, "but I don't eat red meat, so…."

    A french toast stick sounds quite divine right now. Didn't really have breakfast today. But what's clotted cream?

  30. Hi there, I'm from Cape Town and read your blog daily. Every home in South Africa has rooibos teabags as it's as readily drunk as coffee. And so healthy. would you like me to mail you some different types?


  31. "But what's clotted cream?"

    A brit might have more details than an uncivilized Yank like myself, but I believe it is nothing more than whipped cream that is whipped into a soft butter texture. Very nice with strawberry jam (theirs, not ours) on a scone.

    But you can taste the fat going down your pallet and adhering to your veins. Like most good things in life, only in moderation.

  32. Clotted cream is a real thick buttery spreadable cream made from cows fed a high fat diet. It's usually called Devonshire cream. Very rich, but as JoeyB says, great on a scone!

  33. Bourbon and tea. Reminds me of my grandmother. She was a flapper from the '20s, and swore by bourbon and tea right up to the day she breathed her last. I know that's not what you meant with this post, but still…bourbon and tea..Grandma…I just can't help but mate the two.

    Kinda makes me ponder what my grandkids will remember about me.

  34. Bourbon and tea. Grandma. A combination as timeless as peanut butter and jelly.

    My grandma swore by bourbon and tea. At age 16, Grandma and her teeanage cousin ran away from the family farm in Wisconsin and hitchhiked to Hollywood for some adventure. When I was a little kid, I thought she was the most fabulous woman, ever. And I still think so.

    Kinda makes me wonder what my grandkids will remember about me.

  35. Oh my God, I love "Baby Boom"! I thought I was the only one, Stephanie. Diane Keaton is lovely and amazing. That little piano motif at the beginning and the end — the high, slow notes — totally get me going every time I hear them.

  36. Dear Stephanie…

    You can find a wonderful english lemon curd and Devonshire double cream at Cost Plus World Markets. , according to Google. Delicious and the price is right! Also, they have a pretty decent scone mix that I doctor a bit and everyone loves. I haven't seen any bourbon tea…but I haven't looked beyond Earl Grey, Darjeeling or Orange Pekoe, my favorites. I shall be looking for the bourbon soon. In one form or another!

    Ciao…glad you like Austin.

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