Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Lemongrass Ginger Cooler

One of the BEST drinks for Summer, this Lemongrass and Ginger Cooler is refreshing, easy to make and always delicious! 



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Summer calls for cooling drinks and lemongrass is one of the BEST ingredients to add to drinks. It is refreshing and delicious. 

For the longest time I have had a lemongrass plant in my back yard. A large chunk of the produce goes into making Chai but I use it in many other recipes too. 

Asian broths, drinks, some curries and desserts. This cooler is made mainly from lemongrass and ginger with some saffron for flavor and color! 

What is Lemongrass?


A tropical grass popular in many parts of Asia, lemongrass finds application in essential oils, cooking, baking and medicines. The grass has a fragrance similar to lemons (hence the name)! 

Known to boost immunity (read more here) this grass has two parts; the thicker base and thin leaves. 

In India we generally use the leaves as an addition to Chai. The thicker stem has a LOT of flavor and is used in soups, curries and desserts. 

What all goes into this cooler?


This recipe uses lemongrass and ginger as the main ingredients. However, neither of these have any color and the drink tends to look quite boring.

To impart a natural flavor and color to the drink, I added some saffron. The signature yellow tinge from the saffron is amazing and it also adds a hint of flavor. 

Sugar is used as a sweetener here, but honey or jagger can be used too. 

I topped the syrup with water. Using carbonated water would work well too. 



How to use saffron in the recipe?


As mentioned, saffron is used to get some color to the drink. So you would want to extract maximum color from the strands. 

For a very long time I used to steep them in hot water or milk to get the color. Only recently did I learn that ice extracts the color really well compared to hot liquids. 

So to do so, crush the saffron strands in a mortar and add some ice cubes. Leave it to melt and the resulting water will have LOTS of flavor and color. I use this method in all my saffron based recipes now.


How to serve the drink?


The main ingredients here are lemongrass and ginger, and the BEST way to enjoy it is using a lemongrass stalk itself. 

The stalk will be hollow from the inside and by pulling out a couple of leaves from the inside will give it enough diameter to use as a straw! 

I generally serve my drink with a sprig of mint or basil. 

Steps to make Lemongrass Ginger Cooler


In a pan add chopped lemongrass, grated ginger and sugar. 

Add 1 cup water and boil till you see bubbles in the water. Turn down flame and let it cool to room temperature. 


In a mortar pestle add a few saffron strands and crush them with a pestle. Add 2 cubes of ice and let them stand for a while. 

As they melt, they will extract the color and flavor from the saffron. 


Transfer the golden saffron infused water to a jar.

Once the lemongrass mixture is cool, strain it into the jar with saffron and mix. This syrup can be refrigerated for a week. 


In two glass add ice cubes. Pour 2-3 tbsp of the prepared syrup in each glass and top with water. Serve with a sprig of mint and a stalk of lemongrass. 


Ingredients

Sugar 1/4 cup
Saffron a few strands
Ice and water as required


Method


Add 1 cup water and boil till you see bubbles in the water. Turn down flame and let it cool to room temperature. 

In a mortar add a few saffron strands and crush them with a pestle. Add 2 cubes of ice and let them stand for a while. 

As they melt, they will extract the color and flavor from the saffron. 

Transfer the golden saffron infused water to a jar.

Once the lemongrass mixture is cool, strain it into the jar with saffron and mix. This syrup can be refrigerated for a week. 

In two glasses add ice cubes. Pour 2-3 tbsp of the prepared syrup in each glass and top with water. Serve with a sprig of mint and a stalk of lemongrass. 



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