Following a recent skiing trip during which I spent the majority of the day falling over on the snow and ice I caught a heavy dose of man-flu.
Everyone from friends to random waitresses agreed that I needed the ‘2000 year old ancient Chinese remedy’ of hot Coke with ginger. On querying the age of Coca-Cola here I’m told the original remedy used brown sugar to improve the flavour of ginger soup, but now people prefer the taste of Coke and Pepsi, or even 7up/Sprite.
Apparently Coke works best as it’s still made with sugar in China, rather than the corn syrup used elsewhere. The ginger is most likely the active ingredient as it alleviates the symptoms of a cold, but the phosphoric acid in a (flat) Coke is apparently good for digestion and stimulates the appetite.
The elixir is made by gently boiling cola in a pan and adding thinly sliced or crushed ginger. The ginger rises to the surface and fizzes in the simmering liquid, then the first hint of the sinus clearing aroma rapidly fills the room. After a few minutes of infusing the flavour it’s poured into a mug and optionally a couple of lemon slices added for Vitamin C.
It should be drunk hot, to get the double burning sensation of the heat and the ginger. This has an immediate effect on a sore throat whilst the fumes loosen a blocked nose. The caffeine in the Coke reawakens the senses and the ginger warms the whole body from the inside.
If you need a recipe, here goes:
- 1 can coke
- 1 inch ginger will make it spicy, although one inch per 250ml will work much better
- Unwaxed lemon slices (optional)
Thinly slice the ginger and place it in a pan with the Coke. Let it simmer for a few minutes to infuse the flavours, then pour into a cup and add the lemon slices. Drink whilst hot for maximum effect. Caution: unsurprisingly, contents may be hot.
From experience: don’t let it sit and boil too long or it’ll caramelise and ruin the pan…
(Un)Fortunately it works rather well, and it’s considered odd to drink Coke+Ginger when you’re not ill, so I’m off to stand outside in the cold until I become unwell again.
Update: If you’ve just bought a mandolin and think it would be a great way to thinly slice the ginger, it’s not and I just ended up with a mush which had to be sieved out. Simply cut thin slices with a knife and it’ll be just fine.