Happiness Tea

This post is the first in my series titled, “Taking the Seasonal, Affective, and Disorder out of Seasonal Affective Disorder.” It’s a good thing I never tried to get a job writing ad copy.

I always get the winter blues immediately following Christmas and this year is no exception. But as I lay curled up into the fetal position on our couch last night, the P-Dawg approached me with a cup of tea.

“Drink this,” he said. “I promise it will make you feel better.”

And I was like, “What’s in it? It smells like an Asian supermarket.”

“Just drink it,” he said.

“I hate to tell you this, P-Dawg, but one lousy little cup of tea is not going to lift me up out of the depths of despair. What I need is a tropical vacation or to move to California.”

I’m not usually one to make fantastic claims and I didn’t get even one red penny from the ginger, honey, or lemon industries for writing this post, but I want to tell you that this tea made me feel instantaneously better.  After taking only a few sips, I sat up on the couch. Halfway through my cup I started cracking jokes and feeling like I might just make it through another Cleveland winter.

I’m not kidding.

And because I want you to be happy too – even if you live in California or Hawaii – I am going to share the ridiculously simple recipe with you. If you have the winter blues and don’t make yourself this tea, I’ll have to . . uh . . . come to your house and stare pleadingly at you.

Let’s get started!

First, grate about a half teaspoon of organic ginger into a strainer of some sort and steep it in a cup of boiling water for five minutes. We have a special tea strainer and also a microplane because we are bourgeois, but you could also use one of those cute little tea balls or even steep it in a thermos then run the whole she-bang through a sieve.

Now listen up, because this is important: The ginger must be organic. The other stuff just doesn’t have the same nutrients and miraculous healing qualities, capiche?  If you make this tea with watered down plebeian ginger, don’t come crying to me. And this probably goes without saying, but using dried powdered ginger will turn you into a pillar of salt.

We keep a ginger nubbin in the freezer at all times and it lasts forever. You don’t even have to wrap it up, just perch it unceremoniously next to the frozen waffles. You can grate it frozen right into your tea, honest to Pete.

The next step is totally optional, but it will give your tea a pretty color: throw in five or six dried poppy flower or rose hip petals if you have them, and who doesn’t?

(Seriously, you can skip this step. We just happen to be up to our ears in dried flower petals because the P-Dawg is an organic herb and spice fanatic. I’m not even allowed to use plain old supermarket nutmeg for cooking and baking, I have to grate up an actual nutmeg ball. That’s why I have Seasonal Affective Disorder.)

Okay, now strain the tea into a cup and then squeeze in a lemon wedge:

The P-Dawg said I didn’t need a picture of it because everyone knows what a lemon looks like.  I told him he would make a terrible food blogger.

Next, add honey to taste and don’t be a martyr. The key is achieving a balance between the ginger, lemon, and honey flavors. I used about a teaspoon, but I probably could have used more.

I used raw, unpasteurized honey, but if your honey comes from a plastic bear, I won’t hold it against you. Well, I might hold it against you a little bit because I really think you should use raw, unpasteurized honey. It is very, very good for you. Take it from a Lithuanian – we have a goddess assigned specifically to bees.

Finally, drink and be happy!

Now please go forth and make yourself some ginger lemon honey tea.

No, I really mean it. I want you to make this tea and then report back to me.  I’m really curious to know if it will have the same uplifting effect on you as it did on me. I guess it would probably be best if you were a little sad before you drank it. Maybe you could watch ET or Terms of Endearment to get yourself in the mood.

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15 thoughts on “Happiness Tea

  1. Yuliya

    Really? REALLY? I might have to try it just so I can debunk these claims and have you stare pleadingly at me instead…
    My husband makes this for himself anytime he is sick though so maybe there is something to it….
    Glad you’re less SAD

  2. Becca

    We need an outing tomorrow so maybe we’ll make the forty-five minute schlep to the hippie grocery store downtown to buy a hunk of ginger and a tea steeping thing. :) Couldn’t hurt, right?

  3. Vicki

    Teariffic post. Husband is also a tea fanatic (a tea terrorist, if you will). I think I’ll send this to him so he can make me some. Also, I didn’t know some spices came in balls. Heh. Spice balls.

  4. Nic

    I had a cup of this last night and another this morning, because I’m feeling under the weather. I make it in a slightly different, more idiotic, manner.

    I’ve never seen organic ginger root in the UK, so I use the covered-in-chemicals stuff. I just kind of chop it up a bit and whack it straight in the mug where it creates bothersome little floaters. So, thanks because from now on I’m going to steep it in the water using a tea ball! I juice half a lemon, and also use a heaped teaspoon of honey.

    It works miracles on a cold and sore throat. I’m not so sure about my state of mind, though. I’m still feeling pretty SAD.

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    Well Rima, Here I sit contemplating my financial situation, not to mension being up half the night with an upset stomach, I decided to see what’s up in the world, chatted with the twin who told me to drink some lemon ginger tea, I told him I had some in the pantry. I made me a cup of course not as fancy as your’s. P Dawg would have a fit lol! and to boot I pull up your blog and whala LEMON GINGER tea. must be a sign:) Don’t know if it was the tea but reading this and sipping my tea put a smile on my face.

  7. Painted Maypole

    i’m tempted, but that’s a lot of stuff I’d have to buy just to make tea. i have some ginger organic tea in my cupboard, could I just add some lemon and honey to that?

  8. Rima Post author

    PM – I asked P-Dawg and he doesn’t think that would cut it, unless maybe – and this is a BIG MAYBE – the ginger tea you have is made out of actual ground up ginger and not just ginger flavoring. I’m telling you, he’s like the tea nazi. He suggests that you conduct an experiment with both teas side-by-side to find out.

  9. JCK

    Perhaps Ol’ Yellar? My mom swears by ginger tea – just like you said. Fresh from the root. My mom is all into Ayurvedic medicine and such, and it has been pretty powerful. I do live in California, but Girl….we’ve been getting rain and rain and cold and cold. So, don’t hate us too much. We’re the Weakened People so addicted to sunshine that a little weather throws us into the dregs of despair…

  10. Second Bro J

    Oh no….I told that little older brother of mine about this miracle tea before i read this blog…..I’ve been using it to treat that delicate stomach of mine for a while now…..suppose it does make me happy when my stomach feels better :)

  11. Jen M

    Well this couldn’t have come at a better time. However my ginger is from Publix and I’m not sure whether or not it’s organic. But, feeling mildly blue. So I am off to Whole Foods for the proper ingredients and will report back on my mood. Thanks, Rima.

  12. Meg

    Wow. As a fellow Clevelander, care to offer advice on where to find the poppy flowers (“Poppies…poppies…you’re getting very sleepy..”) or rose hips? Organic ginger I can manage, even the raw honey, but I haven’t seen any poppy flowers at Heinen’s lately.

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