A West African-Inspired Spiced Ginger Drink

As a first note, I do not yet have the words to write coherently about the current conflict. Anything I would have said has been written already. Be kind to one another, and remember that people have a right to life and to be safe in their homes.

Ginger root on table
Photo open source, undated

This warming, piquant drink has been very comforting for the past few weeks. It is based on a series of ginger drinks common across West Africa, called gnamakoudji, tangawizi, emudro, among other things. I initially encountered this drink in a book by Jessica B. Harris, the doyenne of African and African-American cooking here in the US. I strongly recommend taking a look at her work.

Spiced Ginger Drink

Based on recipes by Jessica Harris in The Africa Cookbook and Armelle Dee

2 3 inch/8 centimeter pieces of fresh ginger

1/4 cup agave nectar

¼ cup lime juice

1 cinnamon stick

2 pieces star anise

5 cloves

10 peppercorns

2 cups hot water

8 cups cold water

  1. Peel the ginger – the easiest way to do so is to rub it with a spoon. Then, crush the ginger using a mortar and pestle or a food processor.
  2. Add the ginger, agave nectar, lime juice, and spices to a bowl. Pour the hot water over the mixture and let stand, covered, for one hour.
  3. Strain the liquid into a large pitcher. Add cold water and mix, then refrigerate.
  4. The drink tastes best after it has been allowed to sit for about four hours. It keeps for a week in the refrigerator.

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