Recent stomach problems meant I was ordered to quit drinking anything with caffeine. Quit drinking caffeine: a year ago, with Diet Coke coursing through my veins most of the day, I would have scoffed at that idea. But there you have it.
Without coffee, tea, Diet Coke, or iced tea as options, and not being a big fan of the corn syrup in most soft drinks, and wanting something with a bit more bite than water, but finding fruit juice a little too sweet and sangria a little too socially unacceptable for all-day quaffing, I was stymied. I know, picky picky.
Finally I found a ginger beverage on the Interweb that originally came from Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant. It's supposed to be a concentrate but I drink it full-on, over ice. I also use more sugar than the original recipe.
African ginger drink
6 cups boiling water
1 cup diced ginger root
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons whole cloves
4 cinnamon sticks
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
8 cups cold water
Pour the boiling water over the ginger root, sugar, cloves, and cinnamon. Cover and set aside, ideally in the sun, for an hour. Strain through cheesecloth into another bowl and add the lemon juice and cold water. Set aside for another hour. Pour into a pitcher, leaving out the sediment at the bottom of the bowl, and refrigerate.
One fringe benefit of this recipe is that it solves not only the Beverage Problem but also the Beverage Container Problem, i.e., having to recycle all those bottles and cans that store-bought drinks come in. Or as is usually the case for me, allowing said containers to accumulate in the hall and being annoyed by them. Also, the used ginger root and spices can go straight into the compost bin, cheesecloth and all.