I don’t do drinks that often for you here because frankly, I’m not that creative when it comes to crafting them. I’m not a mixologist and really don’t drink much of anything on my own- alcohol or water. I’m the worst at getting those 8 glasses a day. I’m lucky if I get three. My insides are like the Sahara.
However, my Argentinian culinary travels would be lacking if I didn’t give a shout out to Yerba Mate. Plus, I like the name. YERBA MATE.
Ok, I’ll calm down. But what is this drink with supposed magical properties?
Yerba mate, pronounced mah-te, according to the website boasts “strength of coffee, the health benefits of tea, and the euphoria of chocolate” all in one beverage. Of the six commonly used stimulants in the world: coffee, tea, kola nut, cocoa and guarana, yerba mate triumphs as the most balanced, delivering both energy and nutrition. In fact, The Pasteur Institute and the Paris Scientific society in 1964 concluded “it is difficult to find a plant in any area of the world equal to mate in nutritional value” and that yerba mate contains “practically all of the vitamins necessary to sustain life.”
(P.S. Check the website for all sorts of fun facts and urban legends)
This tea isn’t merely served with milk and sugar the British way. With typical South American flair, sharing this drink has a little bit of ceremony, and is also a common social practice in Uruguay, southern Brazil and, of course, Argentina. Typically, yerba mate is prepared by filling a container, typically a gourd, with the tea and hot, but not boiling water, plus or minus sugar as desired. It can also be served cold, called tereré.
I confess that, when I drank it plain…I didn’t like it. I’m sorry, but I do like my black tea served with milk and sugar the British way. Plus, remember that I don’t like to drink anything? Well, I solved that problem pretty quickly by making this into a tea float.
Because you know I love ice cream.
So, I brewed this tea with a little bit of ginger and raw sugar, let it cool, added some sparkling water and vanilla ice cream and voila! Delicious. And refreshing!
Do you think it’s still healthy?
Probably not. Eh, c’est la vie.
I think this would actually be good just with the sugar and ginger without the ice cream, so if you want to add this to your summer iced tea repertoire, the yerba mate tea bags are quite easy to find. I found mine by accident at Whole Foods, but you can probably find it at health food stores as well because, you know, magical health properties.
- 1 Yerba Mate tea bag
- 1 cup water
- 2 TB raw turbinado sugar
- 1" fresh ginger
- 1/4 cup sparkling water, chilled
- 2 scoops vanilla ice cream
- In a microwavable glass measuring cup, add the tea, water and ginger. Heat for 3 minutes until boiling. Stir in the sugar, and steep about 10 minutes. Discard the tea bag and ginger. Put in the refrigerator to cool completely.
- In a tall glass, pour the chilled tea in the bottom. Add the ice cream, and fill to the top with the sparkling water. Add a straw and enjoy!