Photos by Max Tielman
It may have taken until the end of January, but winter has finally hit NYC. The Bellocq tea shop is just around the corner from the Design*Sponge office in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, but it was cold enough on Wednesday that Max and I were completely bundled up (there may have been some shrieking when the wind hit our faces) and ready for some hot tea. Since I’ve given up coffee, Bellocq has quickly become my favorite spot to visit. (See our tea shop tour here.) I’m always learning about a new way to use tea. (On my last visit, founder Heidi Johannsen Stewart taught me to add a little lapsang souchong to soup when it needs extra body.) So when we were looking for a drink that was warm and alcohol-free, we turned to Heidi. Heidi is absolutely passionate about tea, and she came up with a delicious tea recipe that is a little fancier than just dunking a tea bag in hot water. — Amy Azzarito
Bellocq Hibiscus-Ginger Warmer
Makes two 8-ounce drinks
Hibiscus is wonderfully refreshing and tart (and caffeine-free). The extra boost of vitamin C helps to bolster the immune system against the onslaught of winter colds and flus.
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 3/4 cups water
- 4 inches fresh ginger, chopped
- peel of 1 clementine
- 3 tablespoons Bellocq hibiscus tea
- rosewater, to taste
1. Put the sugar and 3/4 cup water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Add the ginger and clementine peel and remove from heat. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes. (The ginger-clementine simple syrup may be prepared up to a week ahead of time and stored in an airtight container.)
2. Bring the remaining 2 cups of water to a boil, add hibiscus tea and steep for 6 to 10 minutes. Strain the hibiscus and discard.
3. Add 4 to 6 tablespoons (or to taste) of the ginger-clementine syrup to the hibiscus tea. Divide between two generous mugs. Add rosewater, about 1 teaspoon or to taste.
4. Garnish with a slice of clementine peel.