Salabat is a hot Filipino ginger tea usually served during the colder months of winter (well, if in the Philippines I guess it's served just during the cooler months) to sooth and comfort what ails you. In fact, Salabat may be the Filipino elixir of choice to combat the ill effects of cold and flu season: coughing, sneezing, runny nose, sore throat, and overall booger-cloggedness. Heck, Salabat can even soothe one's golden pipes after a late night of carousing and karaoke (if that's how you roll).
While I enjoy warming my mitts around a scalding mug of freshly steeped ginger tea as much as the next guy, the weather in SoCal is currently hotter than two rats in an effing wool sock. In addition to the hotness in my neck of the woods, I've also been sweating and whiling away painting a nursery, re-finishing an old rocking chair, putting together a crib, and making sure the wife is well-fed--all in anticipation of the pending birth of my demon seed (I mean that affectionately, of course). As such, sipping on hot tea is a less than desirable way to quench my thirst at the moment.
Despite the present circumstances though, I have found a way to enjoy Filipino ginger tea during the hot summer months... make a cocktail!
2 Hot 4 T
I know what you're thinking. It's completely out of character for me to reappropriate something seemingly tame into an alcoholic beverage. Yeah, I'm shocked too.
Anyhizzle, one of my favorite hot-weather cocktails is the Dark and Stormy--a simple Bermudan concoction comprised of dark rum (Goslings Black Seal), a squeeze of lime, and some ginger beer. Despite it's name, ginger beer is actually non-alcoholic--think of it as a more potent and gingery ginger ale. I usually also prefer ginger beers from Bermuda (like Barritts) in a Dark and Stormy, but Reed's will do if you can't find Bermudan ginger beer. Also check out this post at Serious Eats for more info on ginger beer.
I figured I could take advantage of Salabat's spicy and gingery bite by cooling down a batch of the hot ginger tea and then subbing it in for the ginger beer in a traditional Dark and Stormy. My Salabat Cocktail isn't as fizzy or funky as a traditional Dark and Stormy, but it makes for a great sipper on a hot day.
Salabat Ginger Tea
Makes 2-3 servings
3 cups water
3 tablespoons brown sugar
5-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, then simmer for 10 minutes.
For winter enjoyment: Ladle the hot ginger tea into a coffee mug or teacup and serve immediately. You could strain the ginger slices out, but I like to leave them in. If the ginger tea is too spicy, it can be watered down or sweetenend with more sugar or honey as desired.
For summertime shenanigans: Cool tea completely. Then mix with dark rum for a Salabat Cocktail (see recipe below).
Here it is, the groove, slightly transformed
Makes 1 drink
2 ounces dark rum (Goslings, or even Tanduay)
4 ounces cooled and strained Salabat ginger tea
1 Kalamansi Lime
In a Collins glass filled with ice, add the rum and Salabat ginger tea. Top off with club soda, then garnish with a squeeze of Kalamansi. Enjoy the day.