Argentine Yerba Mate, Part IV

[I’m collaborating on a post series with the team at Argentine Yerba Mate. In Part 1, we explored how to make yerba mate, Part II showcased origins of the brew, in Part III we drank yerba mate in different forms. Today…we are making drinks! Hope you enjoy.]

Noelle hosted dinner on Saturday. There was a big, warm loaf of country bread and lots of salted butter. A simple salad with shallot vinaigrette. Cherry tomatoes cooked down with fennel and sausages and tossed with orecchiette. Warming, cozy food. We drank lots of cider and had cookies and ice cream for dessert. But before all that…I showed up to her place early, multiple varieties of Argentine Yerba Mate in hand. Time for a cocktail? Noelle is great at brainstorming on the spot and in a matter of minutes we came up with two simple pre-dinner drinks for the night…

First up was a Highball. I made a cold brew of Argentine Yerba Mate with 16 ounces of water and six grams of loose yerba mate leaves. Cold brew teas and tisanes sound fancy but are easy to make. Find an empty container. Put the yerba mate leaves in, fill with water. Cover and let sit in the fridge for an hour. Strain out the leaves. And there you have it. We then carbonated the cold brew to make sparkling cold brew yerba mate. It’s so soothing to drink just like this. If you want to skip the alcohol just serve the sparking cold brew with a bit of honey. Refreshing! Or you can move on to the next step…

…adding in whiskey and a twist of lemon. We had a number of different whiskey brands on hand so tried out several versions of this drink. They differed significantly. Yerba mate is made from the leaves of the yerba mate tree, and has this wonderful earthy, herbal element to it. It gives the drinks a very distinct flavor that I love. It’s also adaptable and plays nicely with many spirits. Next time we can do a whole experimenting day with yerba mate and alcohol…the possibilities are endless.

Next up, an Old Fashioned. First step is to make an Argentine Yerba Mate simple syrup. Brew two cups of hot yerba mate and strain out the leaves. Then pour into a saucepan, and add an equal amount of sugar. For a simple syrup you want a 1:1 ratio of liquid and sugar. Cook it down until its a thick and syrup-y. Taste and let cool. (You may have extra simple syrup leftover after making the drinks. Save it! Lots of things you can do with this syrup – I love making yerba mate lattes and adding a splash of yerba mate syrup to sweeten it a tiny bit and also amplify the yerba mate flavors.)

To assemble, stir together the Argentine Yerba Mate syrup, a few drops of bitters, and whiskey. Measurements are nice, but I like to eyeball things as everyone has personal preferences on sweetness and alcohol. It also makes things less fussy and more interactive. Lemon to finish. Drink up! It’s time for dinner.

This post was sponsored by National Institute for Argentine Yerba Mate. You can find Argentine Yerba Mate brands at specialty tea stores and select Whole Foods Markets across the U.S, or on Amazon.com.

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