A Calming Tonic for a Busy New Year

Hannah Hudson Photography

Hannah Hudson Photography

By Susan Able. Photographs by Hannah Hudson.   

When Rano Singh welcomes you into Pansaari, her Indian spice store and grocery located on buzzy 17th Street's restaurant row, you know you have arrived someplace special.

Rano Singh, Pansaari

Rano Singh, Pansaari

The walls are covered with tiles imported from her native India, lined with long shelves of the freshest spices. Behind an inlaid marble bar, amazingly fragrant chai tea, South Indian coffee and her own kombuchas are served, as well as Indian food. A committed locavore, Singh buys her lemongrass and mint from a local farm, and the honey is from a beekeeper in Washington, D.C.

Pansaari feels more like the living room of a friend with very comfortable Indian furniture. It’s a place to linger in conversation and soak in the smell of fresh spice.

Singh explains that in India a “pansaari” is the spice grocery. The first consult for ailments is to the pansaari for spice-based remedies. Tonics, such as fennel water, are commonly used. On a cold winter night, Singh offered up a glass of 100 Jor Bagh, a calming tonic with a recipe unique to her family in Jaipur, India. Based in Ayurvedic nutrition, Singh considers this a balancing drink for digestion—all the various ingredients, which are steeped into a tea, have healthy and unique medicinal properties.

“I just feel better after I drink it,” explained Singh, who has a glass after her daily yoga. “It balances me.”

A Tonic Recipie:  100 Jor Bagh

Recipe by Rano Singh.  Makes 2 gallons.

A glass of 100 jor bagh. hannah hudson photography

A glass of 100 jor bagh. hannah hudson photography

This calming tonic is as tasty as it is soothing. It is important to add the ingredients in the proper sequence to preserve the essential elements. It makes 2 gallons, which will last up to a month if refrigerated.

  • 2 gallons spring water
  • 2 cups fennel seeds (if you have a choice, choose the largest ones)
  • 12 stalks lemon grass, washed and chopped—root, leaves and all
  • ½ cup cardamom pods, crushed
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 6 bunches mint
  • 1 cup honey
  • 4–6 lemons

Take a large pot, add the 2 gallons of spring water and bring it to just under a boil. Add the fennel seeds and chopped lemon grass. Bring to a full boil for 3 minutes and turn off the heat. Add the crushed cardamom and cinnamon and let it steep for an hour.

Bring the pot to a boil again and add the mint bunches; cover the pot and turn off the heat. Let the mixture steep for 6–8 hours.

Strain the solids out. To the liquid, add the honey and stir it well until it dissolves. Add the juice of 4-6 lemons, to your taste. Drink chilled from the refrigerator or slightly warmed as a tea, but no ice. It dilutes the mixture and is frowned upon in Ayurvedic tradition.

Pansaari is located on the lower level of 1603 17th St NW, Washington, DC. www.pansaari.com

Cheers to the Cocktails of Summer

Buckle up, roll down the windows and get ready for an amazing summer cocktail cruise. We are happy to share with our Edible DC readers the full lineup of amazing summer cocktail recipes and specialty drinks served at the Edible DC Cocktail Derby on May 9. The event featured top shelf distillers of whiskey, bourbon, gin and new local craft distillers of a Virginia scotch-style whiskey. Beverage artisans True Tonics and Runningbyrd Tea were on hand to provide samples and mixers. Horse racing season inspired the decor and attire; hats and snappy outfits were everywhere. The event was catered by Poste Modern Brasserie and held in the outdoor courtyard of the Hotel Monaco. Vendors included Whistle Pig, James River Distillery, Koval, Catoctin Creek, Copper Fox, Virginia Distillery and Bernheim Wheat Whiskey. Special thanks to Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants, Typecase Industries, Amarillyis Floral + Event Design, and Elizabeth Duncan Events. Many thanks to event photographers Christina Brown and Katrina Tavanlar.


Copper Fox Distillery - The Bismark

2 ounces Copper Fox Rye

1 ounce lemon orange blossom shrub 1 ounce Carpano Bianco ½ ounce lemonade Sparkilng water Lemon verbena

Shake, strain on ice and top with sparkling water and lemon verbena for garnish.

Poste Modern Brasserie - Le Parc


1 part Strawberry Shrub (or any shrub flavor) 1 part Dolin Blanc 1 part vodka Club soda

Pour first three ingredients over ice, top with club soda. Garnish with a half strawberry and sprig of fresh thyme.

James River Distillery - Negroni

1 ounce Commonwealth Gin 1 ounce Campari 1 ounce Sweet Vermouth

Combine all ingredients in an old-fashioned or rocks glass and stir. Garnish with an orange peel.

True Tonics - Caribbean Pharaoh


2 ounces Lyon White Rum 2 ounces grapefruit juice ½ ounce True Grenadine Club soda Sprig of mint

Combine rum, grapefruit juice, and grenadine over shaved or small-cube ice in an old fashioned glass, top with club soda, and garnish with a sprig of mint.

WhistlePig - Porky’s Smash

Porky's Smash_WhistlePIg

2 ounces WhistlePig Rye Whiskey 4 lemon wedges 4-5 mint leaves 3/4 ounce simple syrup 1 dash each, aromatic and orange bitters Fresh mint, for garnish

Muddle the lemon and mint in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and remaining ingredients and shake well; strain into a chilled old-fashioned glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with mint leaves.

Catoctin Creek -When Me Angry Gin Smash

Half a lime 4 to 6 mint leaves 1 3/4 ounces Catoctin Creek Watershed Gin 1 ounce pea purée* Mint for garnish

Muddle limes in a cocktail shaker. Add pea purée, mint leaves, gin and ice to the shaker and shake well. Strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with mint.

*Pea Purée: Take a cup of shelled peas, 1 oz of cold brew green tea, a teaspoon of sugar and a pinch of salt and place them in a food processor or blender until smooth. Strain the mixture using a fine mesh sieve.

KOVAL Distillery - Magna Fortuna

Named for a famous rescued Chicago racehorse

2 ounces KOVAL Dry Gin 1 ounce KOVAL Ginger Liqueur 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice 1 ounce spearmint infused simple syrup Club soda

Shake all ingredients with ice and pour into a glass. Top with club soda and garnish with a wedge of lime (optional: also garnish with mint).

Running Byrd Tea Co. - Spiked Runningbyrd Tea

Adapted from Cava Grill

1 jar Runningbyrd Apple Cider Tea, chilled 2 ounces whiskey 1 sprig of fresh mint 1 cinnamon stick 1 lemon twist for garnish

Pour the whiskey into the tea and shake a few times. Pair with a cinnamon stick and mint and serve.

Virginia Distillery Company - Virginia Highland Smash, or Highland Smash

1 ounce Virginia Highland Malt Whisky ½ ounce of rich honey syrup (2:1 honey/water) 1/4 wedge of lemon 5 spearmint leaves

In a cocktail shaker, gently muddle lemon with mint leaves, taking care to just barely bruise the mint leaves. Add honey syrup and Virginia Highland Malt Whisky and shake with ice. Strain into a rocks glass over one large ice cube. Garnish with two mint leaves slapped between your hands to release essential oils.

Bernheim & Domaine de Canton - The Gold Rush

1½ ounces Bernheim Original Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey 1 ounce Domaine de Canton liqueur ½ ounce fresh lemon juice

Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice; shake well and strain into a martini glass.

Catoctin Creek Distilling Company - Elemental Rye Julep


3 ounces Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye Whisky ½ ounce of Element Lemon Mint Shrub (more or less to taste) 6-10 fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish

Add mint to a rock glass with crushed ice, and muddle the mint to the ice. Add the rye and shrub and stir to combine, then garnish with more mint.

Thanks to Edible DC intern Avery Morrison for compiling the recipes and photos.