Sujeonggwa (???), a refreshing traditional Korean dessert tea. A burgundy colored aromatic brew that unfolds with the patient infusion of Ginger (SaengGang(??) and Cinnamon (GyePi(??). On cooling down to room temperature dried figs are added and allowed to soak and the tea is then chilled for a good amount of time. Three little pine nuts float atop each glass for luck, texture, taste and to grace the glass.
My house helper walked in at his routine time saying the corridor walk from the elevator to my doorstep smelled of the tea.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find much on the history of this drink other than this mention found on Wiki.
The earliest mention of sujeonggwa dates back to 1849 in the book Dongguksesigi (?????, ?????), a book of seasonal customs written by scholar Hong Seok Mo (???). The sujeonggwa recipe mentioned in the book is a dried persimmon brew with added ginger and pine nuts.
Sujeonggwa is known to have been prepared in the Goryeo era by palace women on New Year’s Day. Then they were boiling ginger and adding persimmons to the brew. (Wiki)
Ginger has antiviral properties that relieve the common cold and improve the immune system to prevent recurrence of colds. Ginger also reduces cholesterol levels in the body.
Cinnamon helps people suffering type two diabetes by stimulating insulin receptors in the body and deactivating enzymes that inactivate these receptors. (http://www.livestrong.com/…/544272-what-are-the-health-ben…/)
In spite of the drink being served cold, each sip provides warmth and a touch of spice, brought about by the lovely combination of sliced ginger and cinnamon.
I served my husband the tea when he was in between morning calls and work. He took one sip of the drink and walked to his reclining chair saying “Idhoke padhukae enjoy cheydhae kudikanam”(Malayalam) which when translated means “such drinks should be enjoyed slowly and peacefully”. He described the feeling to be surreal, peaceful, almost like he was in a temple.
I don’t think I could describe it any better than that : )