When my chum Heidi was holed up in bed a couple of weeks ago with a nasty bout of flu, I spotted her husband, Peter, in the local market with a basket piled with lemongrass, ginger root and peppers. He told me he was making his special cold cure. I pressed him to tell.
"When I ran The Modern Restaurant at MoMA in NYC we could never miss a day at work," Peter said, " So when a bunch of us got sick, one of the chefs made this cold cure and we drank it all day to get through. It's really very tasty." So much so that when Heidi recuperated we decided it might make a good cocktail mix.
Here's Peter's recipe for his lemongrass, ginger & chili pepper cold cure:
Bring a quart of water to boil in a large saucepan; add the following ingredients and turn down the heat to a slow simmer:
Fresh ginger root (peeled and sliced thin). The more the better (about 1/4 cup or a good sized chunk before slicing)
2 lemongrass stalks (stem and tip cut off and outside first layer removed), sliced in half lengthwise and then cut in 3-inch long pieces.
1 small red chili pepper, sliced very thin
1 small green serrano chili pepper, sliced very thin
1 good shake of crushed red pepper flakes
Honey to taste and to balance the heat from the chili
2 tea bags of preferably lemongrass tea, but any black tea will do as well)
You can keep this on a low simmer for a long time; just add a bit more water as needed. Drink as desired throughout the day (you may find yourself becoming addicted to this hot spicy/sweet tonic).