Virginia's 2018 Governor's Cup Gold Medalists Announced

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VA wines awarded highest number of gold medals in one of US' toughest wine competitions

By Susan Able, Edible DC

The finalists for the VA Governor's Cup were announced Friday, Feb. 8 and it was a big year to shine for whites, chardonnay and the iconic Virginia expressions of viognier and Petite Manseng. 

Considered to be one of the toughest wine competitions in the country, there was a total of 442 entries of red and white wines, from 100 different Virginia wineries. According to a release from the Virginia Wineries Association, "Ninety-nine of the wines scored a 90 or higher on a 100-point score range. This is the highest number of gold medals ever received for this prestigious competition." 

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam will announce the overall winner of the Governor’s Cup at the Virginia Governor’s Cup Gala on February 27, in Richmond. The 12 top scoring red and white wines will make up the 2018 Governor’s Cup Case®, which is used to market and promote Virginia wines to top wine critics and tastemakers.

Jay Youmans, Master of Wine and founder of DC's Capital Wine School, is the Judging Director for the Governor's Cup. He said of this year's competition, “There are several factors that contributed to this banner year for the Virginia Governor’s Cup. Several judges commented that the white wines really stood out this year. In addition, the overall caliber of wines were outstanding. The scores of wines that were sent to the final round of judging from the preliminary round were on average, two points higher than in previous years. This is a significant difference. Combined, the end result is an exceptional year for wines in this competition.”

Lucie Morton will receive that 2018 Virginia Wine Lifetime Achievement Award. Ms. Morton, a Virginia-based author, viticulturist, ampelographer, lecturer, consultant, and research collaborator. Based in Virginia, Morton studied viticulture in Europe, but has gained her experience in Virginia working as a vineyard manager on her family’s farm in King George County and has become one of the most important consultants to the region's wine industry. She has worked with Black Ankle, Sugarloaf and Boxwood Wineries on vineyard management. She's currently working with scientists to improve soils and better understand the impact of fungi on fruit clusters.

Frank Britt, the original publisher of the online magazine and e-newsletter, Official Virginia Wine Lover, will be posthumously named 2018 Virginia Wine Person of the Year. Mr. Britt, a businessman from Lynchburg, passed away in May 2017 and was a passionate promoter of the Virginia wine industry. His wife will accept the award on his behalf. 

Tayloe Dameron, owner of Upper Shirley Vineyards, winner of a Gold Medal for their 2015 Tannat. 

Tayloe Dameron, owner of Upper Shirley Vineyards, winner of a Gold Medal for their 2015 Tannat. 

2018 Governor’s Cup Gold Medalists

  • 868 Estate Vineyards, Cabernet Franc Reserve, Cabernet Franc, 2015
  • 868 Estate Vineyards, Meritage Reserve, Meritage, 2015
  • Afton Mountain Vineyards, Chardonnay Estate Reserve, Chardonnay, 2016
  • Afton Mountain Vineyards, Tradition, Meritage, 2016
  • Barboursville Vineyards, Octagon, Meritage, 2012
  • Barboursville Vineyards, Paxxito, Dessert, 2013
  • Barboursville Vineyards, Paxxito, Dessert, 2014
  • Barboursville Vineyards, Octagon, Meritage, 2014
  • Barboursville Vineyards, Octagon, Meritage, 2015
  • Barboursville Vineyards, Vermentino Reserve, Vermentino, 2016
  • Bluestone Vineyard, Inc., Cadenza, Meritage, 2014
  • Bluestone Vineyard, Inc., Petit Manseng, Petit Manseng, 2016
  • Bold Rock Hard Cider, Crimson Red Vintage Dry, Cider, NV
  • Bozzo Family Vineyards LLC, 2nd Act, Meritage, 2016
  • Breaux Vineyards, Meritage, Meritage, 2015
  • Breaux Vineyards, Nebbiolo, Nebbiolo, 2015
  • Casanel Vineyards & Winery, Petit Verdot, Petit Verdot, 2015
  • Castle Hill Cider, Serendipity, Cider, 2016
  • Chateau Morrisette, 2015 Petit Verdot, Petit Verdot, 2015
  • Chisholm Vineyards at Adventure Farms, Viognier2016, Viognier, 2016
  • Cooper Vineyards,53rd Winery and Vineyard Petit Verdot, Petit Verdot, 2015
  • CrossKeys Vineyards, Ali d'Oro, Dessert, 2015
  • Doukenie Winery, Petit Verdot, Petit Verdot, 2015
  • Doukenie Winery, Vintner's Reserve, Meritage, 2015
  • Doukenie Winery, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Franc, 2015
  • Ducard Vineyards, Petit Verdot, Petit Verdot, 2014
  • Ducard Vineyards, Signature Viognier, Viognier, 2016
  • Early Mountain Vineyards, Eluvium 2014, Meritage, 2014
  • Early Mountain Vineyards, Eluvium 2015, Meritage, 2015
  • Early Mountain Vineyards, Quaker Run Chardonnay, Chardonnay, 2015
  • Early Mountain Vineyards, Chardonnay 2016, Chardonnay2016
  • Early Mountain Vineyards, Novum 2015, Meritage, 2015
  • Effingham Manor & Winery, Tannat, Tannat, 2014
  • Flying Fox Vineyard, Trio, Meritage, 2015
  • Flying Fox Vineyard, Viognier, Viognier, 2016
  • Fox Meadow Winery, Le Renard Rouge, Meritage, 2015
  • Glen Manor Vineyards, Hodder Hill, Meritage, 2013
  • Glen Manor Vineyards, Hodder Hill, Meritage, 2014
  • Glen Manor Vineyards, Hodder Hill, Meritage, 2015
  • Granite Heights Winery, Lomax Reserve, Meritage, 2012
  • Ingleside Vineyards, Virginia Gold, Meritage, 2014
  • Ingleside Vineyards, Left Bank, Meritage, 2014
  • Jefferson Vineyards, LP, Meritage, Meritage, 2014
  • Jefferson Vineyards, LP, Viognier, Viognier, 2015
  • Jefferson Vineyards, LP, Viognier, Viognier, 2016
  • Keswick Vineyards. Cabernet Franc Estate Reserve, Cabernet Franc, 2016
  • King Family Vineyards, Meritage, Meritage, 2014
  • King Family Vineyards, Mountain Plains, Meritage, 2015
  • King Family Vineyards, Loreley, Dessert, 2015
  • King Family Vineyards, Viognier (Small Batch Series), Viognier, 2016
  • King Family Vineyards. Chardonnay, Chardonnay, 2016
  • Lost Creek Winery, Reserve Chardonnay, Chardonnay, 2015
  • Michael Shaps Wineworks, Michael Shaps L. Scott, Tannat blend, 2013
  • Michael Shaps Wineworks, Michael Shaps Meritage, Meritage, 2014
  • Michael Shaps Wineworks, Michael Shaps Petit Verdot, Petit Verdot, 2015
  • Michael Shaps Wineworks, Michael Shaps L. Scott, Tannat blend, 2015
  • Michael Shaps Wineworks, Michael Shaps Petit Manseng, Petit Manseng, 2015
  • Michael Shaps Wineworks, Michael Shaps Chardonnay. Chardonnay, 2015
  • Michael Shaps Wineworks, Michael Shaps Meritage., Meritage, 2015
  • Michael Shaps Wineworks, Michael Shaps Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Franc, 2015
  • Michael Shaps Wineworks, Michael Shaps Petit Manseng, Petit Manseng, 2016
  • Mountain and Vine Vineyards and Winery, dba Delfosse Vineyards and Winery, Grand Cru Reserve Meritage 2016
  • Muse Vineyards, Thalia, Marsanne, Roussanne, and Viognier, 2016
  • Naked Mountain Vineyard, Tannat, Tannat, 2016
  • Narmada Winery, Yash Vir, Meritage, 2014
  • North Gate Vineyard, Petit Verdot, Petit Verdot, 2015
  • Paradise Springs Winery, PVT, Tannat blend, 2013
  • Paradise Springs Winery, Meritage, Meritage, 2015
  • Paradise Springs Winery, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Franc. 2015
  • Paradise Springs Winery, Petit Manseng, Petit Manseng, 2016
  • Paradise Springs Winery, Chardonnay, Chardonnay, 2016
  • Pearmund Cellars, Ameritage Reserve, Meritage, 2015
  • Pearmund Cellars, Petit Manseng, Petit Manseng, 2016
  • Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards, Vintner's Meritage Reserve, Meritage, 2013
  • Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2015
  • Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards, Merlot Reserve, Merlot, 2015
  • Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards, Viognier, Viognier, 2016
  • Pollak Vineyards, Meritage, Meritage, 2013
  • Pollak Vineyards, Meritage, Meritage, 2014
  • Pollak Vineyards, Cabernet Franc Reserve, Cabernet Franc, 2015
  • Potomac Point Winery, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Franc, 2016
  • Stinson Vineyards, Chardonnay, Chardonnay, 2015
  • Tarara Winery, Nevaeh Red, Merlot/Syrah Blend, 2015
  • Thistle Gate Vineyard LLC, Petit Verdot, Petit Verdot, 2015
  • Trump Winery, Sparkling Blanc de Noir 2012, Sparkling, 2012
  • Two Twisted Posts Winery LLC, Thomas Great, Meritage, 2014
  • Upper Shirley Cellars, Upper Shirley, Tannat, Tannat, 2015
  • Valley Road Vineyards, LC, Viognier, Viognier, 2015
  • Veritas Vineyards & Winery, Petit Verdot, Petit Verdot, 2015
  • Veritas Vineyards & Winery, Vintner's Reserve, Meritage, 2015
  • Veritas Vineyards & Winery, Viognier, Viognier, 2016
  • Veritas Vineyards & Winery, Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, 2016
  • Virginia Cellars, The Barns at Hamilton Station, Petit Verdot, Petit Verdot, 2015
  • Virginia Cellars, The Barns at Hamilton Station, Meritage, Meritage, 2015
  • Virginia Cellars, Hamlet Vineyards, Petit Verdot, Petit Verdot, 2015
  • Virginia Cellars, Brix & Columns Vineyards Viognier, Viognier, 2016
  • Virginia Cellars, Nicewonder Vineyards Viognier, Viognier, 2016
  • Whitebarrel Winery, Fig Wine, Fruit Wine, NV
  • Willowcroft Farm Vineyards, Willowcroft Assemblage Select, Meritage, 2015


About Virginia Wine

The rapid growth of Virginia's vibrant wine industry has made it one of the fastest growing agricultural sectors in the state. Today, there are over 280 wineries in Virginia, and 300 vineyards that cultivate over 3,800 acres of grapes. Virginia wines have been gaining praise among wine critics for caliber of wines being produced and for the dramatic increases in wine quality in recent years. Both the Governor's Cup® Competition and the resulting Governor’s Cup Case® boost the visibility of the Virginia wine region through various marketing programs and exposure to top wine critics and tastemakers.

For more information about the Governor’s Cup or events, tours and tastings, visit the Virginia Wine Marketing Office’s website at or call 804‐344‐8200.





Whee, its a V-DAY x Mardi Gras Roundup!

By AJ Dronkers

Whether you want to celebrate your love and/or let the good times roll with friends, this year the convergence of Mardi Gras and Valentine's Day has given us reasons to rejoice. (Not to mention the Olympics!) Rest assured, our talented food and beverage folks are pulling out all the stops. Get your calendars out, our guide to the upcoming madness follows.

Valentine Events, Multi-Course Meals, + Gift Ideas

Osteria Morini Pasta is for Lovers Cooking Class Class
Hands on pasta experience with Chef Ben Pflaumer followed by 3-course lunch, $105/person.

Watergate Hotel’s Chalet Winter Wonderland
Think an après-ski scene straight from the Swiss Alps! There will also be a romantic chocolate bar in the evenings.


The Hay Adams has the Perfect Proposal Package
Think fresh flowers, chocolate covered strawberries, a bottle of champagne with a three-course dinner at The Lafayette. The package also includes a private two-hour tour of the National Mall before or after dinner.

Goodstone Inn & Restaurant
Escape to Virginia wine and hunt country with a romantic dinner and staycation at the Goodstone Inn & Restaurant. In fact you get 25% off your stay if you book dinner and a stay!

Iron Gate's Tunnel of Love
The Iron Gate Carriageway Bar has been restyled into an over-the-top heart-shaped, candle lit, flowered tunnel of love. No reservations required and a custom V-DAY menu is a la carte.


Multi-course Valentine's Day Meal specials: 

  • Tico Caribbean seven-course menu $75/person
  • The Riggsby four-crouse prixe fixe $95/person or $160/person with wine pairings
  • Rasika West End (Indian) four-course prixe fixe $85/person or $125/person with wine pairings
  • Le DeSales (French) four-course prixe fixe $65/person
  • Bibiana (Italian) four-course prixe fixe $85/person or $130/person with wine pariings
  • Blue Duck Tavern four-course prixe fixe $125/person
  • Equinox four-course prixe fixe $87/person or $125/person with wine pairings
  • BRABO six-course prixe fixe $95/person
  • CORK Wine Bar six-course champagne dinner $100/person
  • Requin five-course meal $125/person

Gift Ideas

Buttercream Bakeshop – Women Crush Wednesday Bars

Raresweets  - Love Song Lyric Cookies

UrbanStems - Get 20% off with code "VDAY20"

Grape Intentions + Harper Macaw = Wine + Chocolate

Mardi Gras Round Up

Next week is Fat Tuesday but there are a variety of events happening across the region starting this weekend. Let the good times roll:

BlackJack Bayou Bottomless Brunch on Sunday 2/11

The Royal on Monday 2/12
Celebrating Worldwide Carnival Traditions from New Orleans to Trinidad. Think King Cake and Ramos Gin Fizzes, Hurricane Sazeracs, Rum Punch for $8.

Brookland’s Finest Tuesday 2/13
Louisiana cuisine with crafted cocktails from One-Eight Distilling. $35/person

Mardi Gras Extravaganza Tuesday 2/13
Union Market Dock 5. 6-10 PM. 20 chefs serving their best take on New Orleans classics and 10 top bartenders serving up a twist on the Hurricane cocktail.

King Cakes. Here's where to order one:

Blackwall Hitch – The Perfect Valentine’s Day

Sponsored by Blackwall Hitch.

Sponsored by Blackwall Hitch.

Love is in the air with an evening getaway & a 4 course dinner

Ahoy, lovers. We know you’ve been looking for a special place to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Someplace with great food, character and beautiful modern nautical design, tucked away in a charming location near the water?

We’ve got you at Blackwall Hitch, the fine dining establishment with locations in Old Town Alexandria, Annapolis’ famed Eastport neighborhood and everyone’s favorite getaway, Rehoboth Beach.  

All three locations will celebrate Valentine’s Day with an exclusive 4-course menu for $65 per person. And if you can’t make it on Valentine’s Day, don’t worry. The special prix fixe menu will also be available along with the full dinner menu through Saturday, February 17th. The Annapolis and Alexandria locations have live music every weekend, and have developed a strong following with the locals as the place to go for a great weekend night out. The live music schedule can for Annapolis is here and here for Alexandria.


An added bonus? Consider booking Blackwall Hitch’s Old Town location, a spectacular setting that overlooks the Potomac. Guests who make reservations and dine in Alexandria for Valentine’s Day dinner will be entered in a contest where the winner receives Blackwall Hitch’s “Brunch for 2”, a romantic bouquet from Bloom Fresh Flowers and a couples massage from Serenity Day Spa.

The Blackwall Hitch 2018 Valentine’s Menu:

First Course

Fresh Field Greens mixed with Cherry Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Red Onion & Shredded Carrots dressed in Red Wine Vinaigrette

Fresh Mango & Red Beets tossed with Baby Spinach, Candied Walnuts & Radish dressed in Lemon-Poppyseed Dressing

Decadent cream soup featuring a rich, savory Shellfish Broth & Aromatic Vegetables blended until velvety smooth garnished with Chive Cream & Lobster Oil

Second Course

Four lush Oysters served on the half shell topped with Cucumber Salsa & Caviar

Lightly floured & fried golden accompanied by Cajun Aïoli

Sliced Green Tomatoes breaded with Cornmeal-Panko Breadcrumbs fried golden & accompanied by Roasted Corn Salsa & Cherry Pepper Remoulade

Third Course

Heritage-Bred, Pan-Roasted half Chicken paired with Butternut Squash Risotto with Fava Beans & Crispy Ham finished with Cracked Pepper & Parmesan Cream Sauce

5oz Filet Mignon grilled to desired temperature with Butter-Poached Lobster Tail served over Truffle-Garlic Butter Whipped Potatoes & Roasted White Asparagus paired with a Red Wine Sauce

Topped with Jumbo Lump Crab, Lemon Butter & Garlic Toast Crumbles over creamed Lentils & Wilted Spinach

16oz bone-in goodness grilled to perfection topped with Merlot Butter & Whole Grain Mustard Steak Sauce accompanied by Twice Baked Potatoes with Scallions

Fourth Course

Housemade Yellow Cake layered with Roasted Strawberry-Brandied Cherry Jam, Vanilla Whip Cream & White Chocolate Shavings

Dreamy Milk Chocolate Cheesecake enrobed with luxurious Dark Chocolate Sauce lavished in decadence with Toasted Marshmallow, Graham Cracker & Hazelnut Chocolate Cookie

Fresh Berries alongside Mint, Caramelized Figs, Apple & Banana

For reservations:

Annapolis 410-263-3454 | Alexandria 703-739-6090 | Rehoboth  302-226-0550

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Quarterback A “Wellness” Super Bowl Party

Delicious Ideas to Stay Healthy and Have Fun

By Lina Salazar, Health Educator & Coach, Founder, LiveWell

Tom Brady is famous for his rigid diet plan which he feels is an critical part of his longevity as one of the top quarterbacks in the game. So whether you are an Eagles or Pats fan, you can “party like Brady” and host a fun Super Bowl party knowing that eating healthy and enjoying good food are not mutually exclusive. Healthy doesn’t mean eating chunks of lean chicken breast and a fun Super Bowl isn't necessarily about overeating junk food.

This year it’s my turn to host the Super Bowl and I’m excited to show my friends that the words “healthy”, “delicious” and “Super Bowl” can be used in the same sentence. 

We can all relate to the feeling of eating too much or overindulging on foods that we don’t normally eat and ending up feeling slow and heavy the next day. Overeating does have an impact our body, especially if it’s processed food, generally high in sodium and added sugars. When our bodies are overloaded with a combo of sugar, carbs, fat, and calories, we transform excess glucose into fat, our insulin levels spike, and inflammation is triggered, which is one of the reasons we end up feeling so bad, physically and mentally.

The solution is not to avoid temptation. Being healthy is not about deprivation or discipline. The key is to create healthier options with a few simple tweaks.

Here is how I’m transforming traditionally unhealthy Super Bowl dishes into more nourishing alternatives:

  • Bake your chicken wings: You still have delicious chicken wings; the difference is that baked chicken wings have less sodium and fat, which is what activates the reward system in your brain to want more of the unhealthy foods.
  •  Switch from cheesy nachos to crunchy tortillas and salsa: This is a great way to “have your cake and eat it too”. I will be offering a big bowl of tortilla chips and chunky salsa. The key here is to avoid highly processed products, and to go for ones with fewer ingredients. Garden of Eatin’s organic blue corn tortillas or Siete’s grain free tortilla chips, are great alternatives. Pair them with Whole Food’s 365 delicious red chipotle salsa. I also love making this edamame guac that will make everyone lick their fingers.
  •  Low sugar booze: stay away from sugary cocktails and high-alcohol craft beers! Vermouth, Champagne, white and red wine or straight liquors (the less sweet ones) are better alternatives. If you feel you’ll miss a cocktail, try a fruit mojito. Simply replace the sugar with agave or fresh fruit!

Remember it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.  You can enjoy the Super Bowl and be healthy with some advanced planning and a few simple tweaks.

For more practical tips on how to be healthy without feeling deprived, sign up for Lina’s newsletter at: or follow her on Instagram @live.well.way 


Lina is a health educator & coach. She left a career in international development to found LiveWell, a platform to support women who want to make peace with food and their bodies. She's also an advocate for fair food systems, and is a member of the board of Community Foodworks

Host a “Buy Local” Super Bowl Party from Dawson's

Dawson's kitchen team is ready for you. From left, Natalie Walker, Executive Chef Rich Stafford, and Marina Gagikyan. 

Dawson's kitchen team is ready for you. From left, Natalie Walker, Executive Chef Rich Stafford, and Marina Gagikyan. 

Park & Party Prep in 30 Minutes at Dawson’s Market in Rockville

A gem of a grocer, Dawson’s Market is a local foods purveyor that is well worth an excursion if you love shopping at a store whose mission is “Celebrating Community through Local and Organic Food.” In every aisle, whether it is produce, dairy, wine, meat or their prepared foods, you’ll see local products front and center. 

We gave store manager, Bart Yablonsky, this challenge:  Can a busy person park, shop, pay and be on their way with Super Bowl party food and drinks in 30 minutes and under—all while eating natural and local food?

He took the challenge. And the answer is yes.

Park in the ample free parking in front of their Rockville Town Center store. Walk through the doors, and make your first stop at the prepared foods counter. Hors d’oeuvres will be available from Dawson’s service case, but save even more time by pre-ordering party platters 48 hours in advance of pickup. Bart’s suggestions include Dawson’s Buffalo Wings using Bell & Evans all-natural chicken, house made MD blue crab cakes, spiced shrimp platters and Thai chicken meatballs, a great twist to regular cocktail meatballs, these spicy balls are a top seller. And, if you aren't as concerned about local, but really want your party's focus on a "regional" theme, there are also Philly Cheesesteak Platters and New England Lobster Roll platters to be had. Dawson's also has a cold salad bar and a hot bar, if you want some other choices.

Dozens of local beers are available in cans, growlers or to try on tap at Dawson's. 

Dozens of local beers are available in cans, growlers or to try on tap at Dawson's. 

Conveniently enough, the beer and wine section is right behind you. Dawson’s has dozens of local beers on tap, in growlers or cans, including 7 Locks brewery (just 10 minutes from the market) and Brawling Bear Bare Knuckle IPA from Gaithersburg.

The Dawson's wine section has many local MD and VA wineries represented should your crowd prefer a white or a red. House made snacks and bread, lots of organic chips and salsas round things out, with a stop for some area cheeses and pickles to finish out the snack zone. Fisher's Popcorn from Ocean City is stacked high in buckets, grab one and know that you will be a hero for passing around their caramel corn. 

And now to the checkout. Because you’re ready for your party and on your way. 

Dawson's makes their commitment to local and organic front and center. 

Dawson's makes their commitment to local and organic front and center. 

Dawson's Market, 225 N. Washington St., Rockville, MD 20850

Open daily 8 AM – 9 PM. For catering orders, email or call 240.428.1386. Dawson's Market is the northern sister store of Ellwood Thompson's Local Market in Richmond, Virginia.

A Calming Tonic for a Busy New Year


Words by Susan Able and photographs by Hannah Hudson.

When Rano Singh welcomes you into Pansaari, her recently opened Indian spice store and grocery, you know you have arrived someplace special.

The walls are covered with intricate Indian tiles, 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.

Rano Singh in Pansaari. 

Rano Singh in Pansaari. 

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

100 Jor Bagh

Makes 2 gallons.

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 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 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.


This story first appeared in the January 2015 issue of Edible DC.