It has officially slipped into humidity season in NYC. I have been keeping cool in numerous ways which I’ll share over the summer. One of my favorite easy ways to cool down is by sipping something cold.
There are a number of cold drinks that remind me of cooling off during Japan’s notoriously humid summer days. Following are my current favorite three refreshing drinks that are easy to make.
Cucumber Water: Japanese cucumbers are a bit different than their Western counterpart. For one, they have no seeds. Cucumbers are used in Japanese cooking as a way to cool off and as a way to bring refreshment to a seasonal summer dish. I love combining ½ a cucumber and one lemon in a large pitcher of water. Let it sit for a few hours and you’ll have a special cooling treat that may make you feel like you’re having a day at a spa.
Iced Jasmine Green Tea: I love the beautiful, feminine taste of jasmine tea so much so that I have it every morning. Now that it’s hot, I drink it iced. I purchase an amazing variety in Chinatown that comes in pearl form. This means the tea leaves are rolled into little balls that expand as they brew. Though I find this tea superior, jasmine green tea bags will do just fine. Just place a couple of bags or a tablespoon of the pearls in a small pitcher and cover with cold water. Allow it to steep for a few hours or overnight. If you are using a tea bags, take them out after 4 hours so that the tea doesn’t become bitter.
Genmaicha: This is my current favorite. Genmaicha is roasted rice mixed with a touch of green tea. Also known as “popcorn tea” it has a nutty rice flavor. Since it contains only a very small amount of caffeine, I love this one after a bath or after dinner at night. I buy it loose but you can also find it in bags in any Japanese Grocery Store or even Whole Foods. To brew the loos tea, place two tablespoons in a small pitcher. Cover with cold water and allow to steep for no more than 30 minutes. Strain and enjoy. If using teabags, leave them in for a few hours before removing.
One of my favorite summer weekend activities is to lounge on my roof with a glass of iced tea in hand, a bottle of Amayori's Orange Blossom Sake Face Mist by my side and with a good book that I can get lost in. It's so important to stay hydrated this time of year. I hope this has given you some new refreshing ideas.