I love hot drinks. I was the one who introduced the habit of drinking tea (in all its various traditional, herbal, fruit incarnations) to my family back at home, in Italy, when I was younger. I find it strange not to have a steaming mug between me and my keyboard on my desk, at the office. I truly am addicted. After a few years of going from Earl Grey, to red fruit infusions, from green tea to Lady Grey (my favourite, though, was the perhaps more aristocratic version called Empress Grey, from Marks & Spencer), finally settling on flavoured green teas about three years ago (for dental reasons which I delved into back in August 2013). In fact, I spent the best part of the past couple of years trying to find alternatives to Twining’s lemon green tea, which used to be one of the few options to be found in supermarkets at the time. Thankfully, now everybody (supermarket’s own brand, Tetley, PG Tips) seems to be developing flavoured green teas – albeit to varying degrees of quality.
Despite this wider (and cheaper) choice, though, I felt like I was stuck in a rut. Even discovering Morrison’s Earl Grey flavoured green tea, a few months back, failed to excite me. Which is why, on a sunny but very cold Saturday afternoon in January, after walking around London for hours, I ordered a ginger and lemon tea (‘homemade’, the board said) in a Spanish-inspired, handsomely tiled cafè placed on a Bloomsbury corner. The thick, tall glass arrived, together with a sticky honey dispenser. Slightly suspicious, I squirted some honey in the glass, stirred, fished out the lemon and ginger slices, and took a tentative sip. Reader, I liked it. I took a slow glug and felt my whole body warm up, the ginger tingling my throat. A revelation. Since then, ginger roots have a permanent spot on the weekly shopping list (as do lemons, but that happened before too. Lemons aren’t the second most used tag on this blog for nothing (eggs win that prize)!). So, without further ado, the simplest recipe for a warming and exciting alternative to your more usual cuppa.
Put lemon, ginger and mint in a thick glass or mug, then pour boiling water. Leave to infuse for at least a few minutes. You can then either leave everything in the glass/mug, or take it out. Add honey, if you wish.