West African Ginger Drink
By Laura Coffee, Marketing & Owner Services Manager, Co-op Owner
I wanted to try making something a little bit different that still allowed for the use of easy to find ingredients. With the hot temperatures we’ve been having lately it seemed like a good idea to try out a summer drink from another part of the world. The first recipe I decided on was this West African Ginger Drink. It packs a spicy ginger punch that is really nice, and the concentrated version could easily double as a flavorful marinade. This beverage is often served with fatty fried foods and is also known in the region as a popular folk remedy for the flu.
- 3 large ginger rhizomes*
- 4 whole limes**
- 3 cups water
- 3 Tbsp raw sugar (More or less is ok, sweeten to taste.)
- 1 heaping Tbsp peppercorns
Place the ginger and limes in a large blender or food processor with two cups of water and blend until a thick, almost paste-like consistency is reached. It will look a bit like hummus. Pour through a strainer and press to remove all juice from the pulp. The pulp can then be discarded. If you don’t have a mesh strainer you could also use cheesecloth or a large reusable coffee filter for this.
Pulse peppercorns, sugar, and 1 cup water in the blender/processor until peppercorns just begin to break down. Pour strained juice back in and blend until well incorporated. Pour through strainer again and then transfer liquid to a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat. Chill.
- Once juice is chilled add additional water or ice to taste and enjoy. I found that a ratio of one part juice to one part water/ice was just about perfect for me.
- Add plain hot water to the still warm juice and serve hot, like tea.
- Dilute juice with sparkling water instead of tap water.
- Freeze juice, concentrated or diluted, into ice cubes that can be added to punch, juices, and cocktails for added flavor.
- Omit sugar and use full strength in soups, dressings, and marinades.
*About a pound of unpeeled fresh ginger root.
**A common substitution is lemons or chunks of pineapple. Pineapple will yield a sweeter finished drink than the citrus. Skin should be removed when substituting pineapple.