As many of you know, my mother is from Mexico., and because of this, most of her cooking is influenced by her heritage. The main drink that we always have in our house is Hibiscus Tea. She goes to the local Mexican tienda and buys pounds and pounds of dried hibiscus flowers to make the juice / tea throughout the year. Unfortunately, I am both lazy and unfamiliar with a Mexican tienda in NYC, so I have yet to recreate this drink. However, recently, at the local grocery store, I came across, sachets of hibiscus tea! Yes, more expensive than bulk leaves — but so convenient and easy! I can’t wait to try all the different flavors and make it in NYC!
Not only does my mom loves hibiscus tea made from scratch, but she also loves tea. She is a tea snob and knows more about tea than anyone. And apparently, this tea company, Steven Smith Tea Company, is wonderful and she loves it.
I just hopped onto the matcha bandwagon and made myself a matcha latte! What is matcha (besides a word sounding like it is yiddish instead of Japanese)? It is a finely ground powder of green tea leaves. It is also all the hype in hipster, hippy coffee shops. And since I love all of the above (hipster, coffee, tea, Japanese, and hippy), I am now a matcha lover. Plus, it is gentle on your stomach, fights sickness, and makes you smarter. WIN WIN WIN. NO LONGER WILL I BE A BLONDE.
What’s not to love about a green drink?
I am sick. Sick of being sick, too. My head throbs, my ears ring, my nose runs, and my throat burns. Yes, cry me a river — I hear the violins loud and clear — but being sick is the worst. Nothing tastes good, everything is melodramatic, and I am boring and un-fun. The only thing I feel good about is my ability to make and drink lemon ginger tea.
For whatever reason, we have about 3 dozen different types of cups. No surprise, I am very specific about what size cups I like to use, and for what type of liquid/food. Coffee cups need to be mid size, tea cups are slender, and big cups are for ice cream and cereal. Handles are preferable.
Ginger is known for its magical characteristics that make it a natural remedy for many ailments. It is well known as a remedy for travel sickness, nausea and indigestion (I chewed on ginger chews daily while pregnant to help curb my morning sickness). It is a warming remedy, ideal for boosting the circulation and lowering high blood pressure. Ginger is anti-viral and makes a warming cold and flu remedy. Due to the spicy flavor and warming qualities of ginger, making a lemon ginger tea is perfect for a cold. Both lemons and ginger are high in vitamin C and together, they temporarily relieve sinus pressure, a burning sore throat, and can temper coughing.
I happen to LOVE ginger. The spicy and dense flavor tastes good in sweet or savory foods!
In order to keep hydrated during these hot summer months, it is important to drink a lot of fluids. It is always a good idea to have some variety in your diet and beverage intake. Although I am good at being creative in the kitchen (although not always successful), I am not great at varying my beverages. My mom, on the other hand, is a pro at creating her own concoctions. Her drinks are out of this world good — totally unique and delicious. She is known for her watermelon juice, limeade, and her hibiscus tea.
Hibiscus is a flower grown in tropical regions, such as Mexico. When dried, one can use it to create a distinct and tasty, tart treat. You can purchase dried hibiscus at most groceries that have international sections. And, obviously, you can even buy it online at amazon.com (because you can buy absolutely everything online at amazon). And did you know that Starbucks now sells a Very Berry Hibiscus Tea?
My mom, a native of Mexico, drank hibiscus tea throughout her childhood and continues to make it on a regular basis. It is easy to make and requires few ingredients. Hibiscus is high in Vitamin C and is good at lowering blood pressure — quite the nutritious value in a simple juice! Caution though, the flower is quite tart and requires a lot of honey to sweeten up the taste….
* Dried hibiscus