The Ginger Way to Brew Tea

This is a drink that helps me make it through the winter. I picked up the recipe in Taiwan and of course it includes tea. This is a strong ginger tea with high mountain oolong and some black sugar. The drink is used to alleviate cold symptoms. In the fall and winter I don’t need to be sick to make myself this tasty nightcap. I like to sip on it a few times per week. I will discuss how to make it and a couple of variations I have come up with. Cheers.

To start, we will talk about the main ingredient: Ginger. At least when I make this, I think of ginger as the main ingredient, and it certainly contributes the majority of the flavor. In Taiwan, people told me that you want to use old ginger when you make this. Old ginger is just ginger that was allowed to grow longer in the ground. It is more woody in texture than younger ginger and it is spicier. I have trouble finding old ginger in the local supermarket, so I usually just use normal ginger. But now that I know what old ginger is, I am seriously considering growing a patch starting in the spring.

The amount of ginger you use can vary depending on how spicy you want it. I usually just eye it, but I’m estimating I use a chunk about two thirds the size of my thumb. I slice the ginger or chop it or smash it with the side of a cleaver. I then add to a pot with about 48 oz of water. I boil it down until it’s reduced to 12 oz plus or minus.

At this point I get about 5g of high mountain oolong. I usually go for the greenish stuff. Something like Ah Li Shan. I’m usually drinking this at night, so I don’t want to go too crazy with the tea. After the ginger has cooked down for something like thirty minutes and I have about 12 oz of strong ginger tea, I turn off the heat and throw in the tea leaves. I let this steep for five minutes. Then I strain it and sip it. That is usually how I do it. These two plants combined are enough for me. The ginger has a heating effect and the high mountain oolong has a cooling effect. And the two together create a balanced effect that does wonders for health. 

Adding a little black sugar is a bonus. Black sugar is considered healthier than refined sugar and black sugar is basically sugar that didn’t have the molasses removed. It is said to have many minerals such as calcium, potassium, and iron. I like the Wholesome brand dark brown sugar and then there is dark muscovado. There is also Okinawa black sugar.

This drink is pretty dang spicy and some people just cannot tolerate it. I love it, but it does burn. It makes me feel great and does wonders for my digestion. I said that there were two variations and one is with the sugar, as I mentioned. The other is to add a splash of bourbon. In times of prohibition, bourbon was considered a cure all. You had do get a prescription, and interestingly enough, the doctors of Kentucky issued more prescriptions than there were residents of Kentucky. Go figure. Happy sipping!