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Golden milk, ginger tea help to counter holiday stress

A golden milk latte at Flux in Farmingdale.

A golden milk latte at Flux in Farmingdale. Credit: Newsday / Corin Hirsch

Hear that? It’s the sound of a hundred corks popping — followed, maybe, by the faint whimper of overtaxed livers, or just overworked barstaff.

For the indulgent days of our lives, golden milk (or, turmeric lattes) can be especially restorative. With roots that stretch back to ancient India (there, it is called haldi doodh) the creamy, daffodil-hued drink gets a kick from black pepper, ginger, cardamom and other warming spices, usually steeped in some kind of milk.

“It’s a recipe that’s been around for a really long time,” says Courtney Lee Hall, a certified herbalist whose company, Plants and Poetry, is based on the North Fork. While turmeric is cited in some studies as an anti-inflammatory, the other spices give its key compound, curcumin, a strong assist. “It’s important that black pepper is added with turmeric root, as they have this synergistic relationship which helps the curcumin to be effective,” Hall said.

Because golden milk has had a recent surge in popularity to rival that of sherry or saison, it’s readily found at local coffee shops; the spicy, honey-sweetened version at Flux Coffee in Farmingdale, made with oat milk, is soothing, creamy and gently spicy.

While Hall thinks golden milk can certainly do a body good, she has higher praise for another season-appropriate drink: Ginger-lemon tea with the unexpected addition of thyme. “Thyme is so underrated,” Hall said. Her assertion: “It has incredible antiseptic properties and is super-cleansing and uplifting for body.”

To make the tea, Hall suggests peeling and slicing a tablespoon-sized knob of ginger for every cup of water; bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer for 20 minutes — a process called decoction, as opposed to steeping.

“I add thyme for the last five minutes, and a squeeze of lemon,” Hall said, who uses a roughly 50-50 ratio of ginger to thyme and often makes four to six cups at a time. “It’s so easy to make, and delicious.”

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