Salabat or ginger hot drink (technically not a tea, because it is not made of tea leaves) is a staple for us who stretch our vocal chords so that the churchgoer would be able to pray and aspire for loftier things. The dread of many church musicians is a sudden turn of the head and a puzzled annoyed look from an individual who should look at God, and not on us. When we get this gaze with a pursed lip ala Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada, we know what they mean: we don’t sing well and we don’t even approximate the choirs of angels.
But even those who love singing get bored by the usual salabat. So I remember putting something into salabat that made it a little exciting. If we don’t become glorious, at least, we are able to taste a little of that glory.
To serve around 8 people (a basic choir with two people per soprano, alto, tenor and bass), you can do this to a bottled salabat (though having it fresh is better). I’ll take the fresh anytime.
1 tablespoon of ginger (chopped)
2 teabags of hibiscus tea
5 tablespoons of brown sugar
a twist of calamansi or lemon
a slice or curl of a citrus peel like an orange, calamansi, dalandan or lemon
1. Put the first 2 ingredients into a pot of 9 glasses of boiling water. Allow to brew for 7 minutes. Remove the hibiscus teabag.
2. Add the brown sugar and stir until it dissolves. (You can add more sugar. I don’t like it too sweet because I am diabetic.)
3. Cool and chill.
4. Pour over ice and add a twist of calamansi/lemon/dalandan.
5. Garnish with a citrus peel or a slice of dalandan.
Variation: if you want a tall drink, you can put soda like Sprite or 7-UP on top.
WARNING: Do not serve this during the practices. This is ideal after the rehearsals, when people want to chill out, unwind, move around, socialize. After all, the choir is not just a music ministry, it is also a community.
The good thing: When you have leftover salabat, you can just add the other ingredients and you have a nice cooler. Good choir singing is usually the result of friendship.