A ginger beer a day keeps the evils away. And the doctors. When we traveled through Sri Lanka we grew addicted to this spicy drink, chock full of full-fledged ginger flavor and the secrets of Ayurvedic healing. Ginger beer is not ginger ale; it’s health and energy in a can (or bottle). Elephant isn’t the only brand sold in Sri Lanka, but it’s the only brand of Sri Lankan ginger beer I’ve found here in Chiang Mai (at Kasem).
This is the perfect time of year to take advantage of Ayurvedic wisdom and drink your ginger, particularly if you live in cold climes. There was another drink we consumed with regularity in Sri Lanka, and I confess I have forgotten its name. It, too, was a zippy Ayurvedic healing drink with ginger, peppercorns and a host of spices. We usually found it in dusty brown bottles sold at little hole-in-the-wall cafÃ©s. I’ve searched for a reference, and the closest I’ve come is a recipe for panakam, which is easily made at home. Panakam is a cooling drink in South Asia. But its medicinal properties, which combat stomach ailments and sore throats, would seem to make it an ideal drink during the northern flu season as well.