The Golden Years

Rainy days and hot tea are BFF's. In the winter. So what soothing drink do we reach for when it rains in the summer? Iced coffee, perhaps?

While cold-brewed coffee is definitely having its day in the sun, there is another beverage that everyone is talking about--something deliberately good for you, absolutely calming, incredibly delectable and the color of sunshine.

Say hello to your new BFF, golden milk. (Rain is not required.)

Whether you need to change up your morning coffee routine, wind down after a long, stressful day or encourage your brain to seek slumber, golden milk (also known as turmeric tea) can be served warm and as an iced latte and is a soft, welcome change.

An Ayurvedic beverage, turmeric is the main ingredient in golden milk. It is an anti-inflammatory ingredient that is good for skin disorders, digestion, facilitating a deep sleep and the list goes on. Known as the "spice of life" in India, turmeric is gaining attention and momentum as a superfood--thanks to the powerful compound and antioxidant curcumin, a revered ingredient with more than 150 potentially therapeutic properties. When I infrequently make rice, I usually add turmeric (ground or fresh, see below) turning it a shade of yellow as saffron does, but with significant health benefits and without saffron's high cost.
My affection for turmeric means that I have been tracking the trajectory of golden milk (coconut or plant-based milk with turmeric, ginger, perhaps cinnamon, a few black peppercorns and a bit of sweetener) for some time now, though I have never made it or tasted it. 

But judging by the fact I have amassed seven (7) different recipes for golden milk, I would say it's time to dive in. Thanks to the gentle nudge from last Saturday's Off Duty in the Wall Street Journal, an iced golden milk latte recipe from the wellness-centric Cafe Gratitude in LA stared me down and catapulted me to action.

Maybe it was the overwhelming number of ways to prepare golden milk that paralyzed me, but I finally decided to combine a few recipes and go for it. Some recipes use a mason jar, others a blender and many call for heating the milk and spices and letting it steep. Here's what I did.

After whipping up a quick batch of homemade coconut milk, I steeped the milk with fresh and thinly sliced ginger, added a few peppercorns and a cinnamon stick. Then I stirred in ground turmeric, some honey and voila. (Keep in mind turmeric leaves a bold yellow stain in its path--from spatulas to hands, kitchen towels to Vitamix blenders, you will learn to love the color and wear it as a health and wellness badge of honor.)

We have had golden milk both warm and cold and prefer it cold. At least now that it's still summer. So friends, I would like to introduce you to my new BFF, golden milk. The bright color alone will make you smile, and when sipped at night, help to coax relaxation and bring a deep sleep. If these two reasons don't inspire you to incorporate golden milk into your life, here are 29 additional reasons.

P.S. If golden milk actually does become your BFF, perhaps you would consider making a turmeric paste which could be added to smoothies, soups, rice, golden milk and more.

Buen provecho!
Golden Milk
The Cowgirl Gourmet slightly adapted this recipe from Cafe Gratitude and several others

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For iced coffee lovers, consider this a healthier cousin. Dairy-free and loaded with antioxidants from turmeric, there's not much golden milk can't do. You can enjoy this hot (if so, add a tablespoon of coconut oil per serving for added health benefits) or cold, it's up to you. Since it's summer, we prefer this cold. Once you fall in love with golden milk, take the next step and whip up some turmeric paste and add it to smoothies, curries, rice and, of course, to make golden milk.

Serves 2

2 cups homemade coconut or almond milk, if possible
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
1 (1-inch) piece ginger, unpeeled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons honey
8 black peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
Optional garnish, ground cinnamon

In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the nut milk of choice and add the cinnamon stick, sliced ginger, honey, peppercorns and turmeric and stir well to combine.
Let the ingredients steep and simmer for 5-7 minutes. Do not let it come to a boil. Remove from the heat, let cool a bit and then, using a fine-mesh sieve strain the solids from the golden milk.
Pour the golden milk into a glass container and place in the refrigerator to chill thoroughly.

When ready to serve, pour golden milk in a glass (ice is optional), sprinkle with a dash of cinnamon, if desired, and sip your stress away. Repeat often, share with friends and enjoy.
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