The following article first appeared in the Daily News Record on February 15, 2012.
Last week, with a trip to New York City in my immediate future and a panicky fear of getting hit with the sniffles mid-flight, I decided preventative measures were in order. I certainly didn’t want to spend my few precious days in big-time civilization with my nose swelled to the size of an apple. So I fixed myself a quart of ginger lemon tea. I drank the first batch right up and promptly made another, this time doubling the recipe. I made it to NYC and back with nary a sniffle or sneeze, thank the tea, or my lucky stars, or both.
Though not particularly well-versed in the health merits of foods (I eat for flavor), I did know that fresh ginger, honey, and lemon boast a goodly amount of Vitamin C, as well as antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory agents. Furthermore, the convenience of a large jar of tea, always at the ready in the middle of the cold season, couldn’t be underestimated—all I needed to do was zap a cupful in the microwave and the restoring comfort was mine for the savoring.
The other night after the kids were tucked in bed, I poured two large mugfuls—I was on my third batch by now—and my husband and I sat down in front of the fire to toast our piggy-toes. I slurped my tea down straightaway, but my husband let his cool a bit first. He’s kind of a wimp that way.
“This is good,” he said, which was high praise coming from him, a non tea drinker. “It warms me up.”
He was right. The tea is warm, and not just from the temperature. The ginger gives it a zip that starts your beleaguered cells to tingling and sets you a-glow from the inside out. The lemon puckers the mouth a tad, and the honey mellows the tea just enough. The tea manages to both relax and energize.
Which is, I might point out, most pleasing in the dead of winter, cold or no cold.
Ginger Lemon Tea
Adapted from Recipes for a Postmodern Planet
Feel free to swap lime juice in place of some of the lemon, and agave syrup for the honey. If you’re suffering from a cough, a splash of whiskey is a profitable addition, or so I hear.
Fresh ginger can be found in the produce section of any grocery store.
a 1-inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
1-2 lemons, juiced
1/4 cup honey
pinch of salt
4 cups water
Pour the water into a saucepan. Add the ginger and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, add the lemon juice, honey, and salt, and simmer for five minutes. Strain and serve.
Variation: Fizzy Ginger Tea
Make a concentrate by using only 1-2 cups of water. Mix the chilled concentrate with 2-3 cups of club soda. Serve over ice.