It’s winter! And it’s freezing out. So while I’m as excited as the next person that the holidays are finally here, I’m even more excited about the delicious holiday drinks that are going to be served. Which got me thinking that this might be a good time to introduce some warm drinks from Asia.
I’m not talking about bubble tea, which was invented in the ’80s. I’m talking about the warm, traditional, hundreds-of-years-old drinks that have been used to bring people together for generations.
Photo Credit: macaron*macaron(Est Bleu 2007)
Amazake, or sweet sake, is a Japanese drink that has been around since the Kofun period (250 to 538). It is even mentioned in the Nihon Shoki (The Chronicles of Japan) which is a book of classical Japanese history compiled in the year 720. This should tell you just how traditional this celebratory drink is. Like sake, it is made from fermented rice. During the fermentation process the sugar develops naturally and adds sweetness to the beverage. Full of vitamins, it has relatively low to no alcohol and is enjoyed by both adults and children.
Photo Credit: Medical Medium Blog
Also enjoyed by all ages is chrysanthemum tea, which dates back to the Chinese Song dynasty (960 to 1279). It is enjoyed not only in China, but other parts of Asia. The dried blossoms are brewed in boiling water and sweetened with sugar. It is said to have medicinal properties and many claim that it even lengthens lives.
Photo Credit: Thirsty For Tea
Barley tea, though unsweetened, is another beverage enjoyed by all ages. Barley seeds are roasted then steeped in warm water to create this tea. While it is unclear when and where this tea came from it has become one of the most common teas you can find in East Asia. Barley is believed to have been first cultivated in Korea in 100 BC and the tea dates back to the Japanese Heian period (794 to 1185). It also has numerous health benefits and can be drunk all-year-round as a cold or hot beverage.
So why not spice up your holidays this year with these Asian beverages and let us know if we’ve missed any of your favorite Asian drinks. Happy holidays.