Ginger-Lemon Tea

I like you guys, and I know it’s OK to be vulnerable with you, so I’m going to share something that makes me feel kinda dumb: Until I came to Prague in 2010, I didn’t realize you could make an awesome beverage just by plunking some ginger into boiling water.

It’s so simple and so delicious.

Hot, fresh ginger tea and mint tea are available just about everywhere here in Prague, and they’re my go-to now instead of coffee. (It turns out, even decaf coffee was disrupting my sleep.). And when I say “everywhere,” I mean it. At a little get-your-drinks-through-a-window place in Old Town. At the coffee shop at the airport. At the kiosk that sells chips and cigarettes in Vyšehrad. In the posh French café around the corner from our house. At the pub. Yes, the pub.

It’s fun to see the different ways it’s served: grated ginger, chopped ginger, sliced ginger. With honey. With brown sugar. Garnished with lemon slices, lemon juice, lime wedges, orange+lemon. And the glasses! Sometimes a mug, sometimes a long, tall glass cup, and at one of my favorite breakfast places, it’s served in a glass pot with a special infuser-lid that keeps the ginger strings out of one’s delicate mouth. Lovely!

My favorite preparation is thinly sliced or chopped ginger—not grated— that steeps for about 7 minutes. Some places let the ginger sit in hot water for hours and it’s very spicy. If that’s your thing, go for it! I also prefer honey to sugar, just a little bit to make it mellow, and a tiny spritz of lemon, more the idea of lemon than the actual juice, if you know what I mean.

This isn’t so much a recipe as an encouragement to make yourself some fresh ginger tea today. Consider it a hug across the ocean from me to you.

Ginger-Lemon Tea

Makes enough to help you relax | Serves 1 (but feel free to double up and treat a friend)


  • 2 cups water

  • 2-inch piece ginger

  • fresh lemon

  • honey (optional)


Boil the water. Bring the water to a boil. Meanwhile…


Prep your ginger. Chop, slice, or grate the ginger. The smaller the pieces of ginger, the spicier your tea will be.


Make the tea. Pour the boiling water over the ginger in your favorite cup or mug, cover the cup, and let it steep for 5-10 minutes. Add lemon and honey, then sip. Maybe read a good book?

You Know How You Could Do That?

To make ginger tea for a crowd: Place a bunch of cut ginger in a saucepan, add water, bring to a boil, then simmer.

To make it super spicy and ready all the time: You can make it in the slow cooker and keep it hot-and-ready all day. It will get VERY spicy, but it’s also great for knocking out a cold or settling an upset tummy.

Mint tea! The not-recipe-recipe for mint tea is just the same: Place a handful of mint leaves in a cup, add boiling water, steep, and flavor with lemon and honey. I prefer 5-6 leaves because it’s pleasant without tasting like chewing gum; 10+ leaves will make it super minty-fresh.

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  • Susan says:

    Hi Melissa,
    Totally unrelated…but having owned and loved WF, my husband surprised me with a copy of WF2 for Christmas this year. Last night I looked through the book and loved what I saw. And I love that you use Aleppo peppers in a lot of dishes, which I’ve been using a lot lately, along with Espelette, Guajillo and Ancho because they offer smoky and mild heat (I love heat but it hates me). And I love that you list Za’Ahtar which I’ve seen locally and almost bought because it looked so intriguing. So now I’ll buy some because I know that I’ll use it in your recipes!

    I also wanted to mention a great sub that I’ve been using in lieu of jicama. Like you said, it’s not “bad”, just not super nutritious. I don’t dislike it, but it always tastes so starchy to me (I love starchy veggies, but this one doesn’t send me). So I’ve been using either purple, green or white kohlrabi in lieu with great success. It has a slightly sweet and ever so subtle anise flavor, and it pairs well with everything. Thought I’d share that with you.

    Happy New Year and thanks for all of the wonderful recipes!

  • Kristin says:

    I have been drinking this tea all winter 🙂 I like it spicy, but never thought of using the crockpot! Something to try, for sure!

  • Andi says:

    I have been hooked on a similar drink I discovered in a Middle-Eastern style restaurant in Budapest, Hungary. It is basically the same, but they add orange and lemon chunks, and call it hot lemonade. Extremely delicious!

  • Greta says:

    Do you have to peel the ginger? It sounds great!

  • Lisa Matarazzo says:

    I love ginger or mint in my tea! Maybe I don’t add enough though so I’m going to give your version a try. Sometimes I just do a tall pitcher in the fridge with the same ingredients and after it sits overnight I have a refreshing drink in the morning. Thanks for sharing!