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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.
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
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.