Amber Rose Ostaszewski
I recently made an “herbal IPA” drink for my husband, and people were really interested in the recipe, so here it is!
IPA stands for India Pale Ale, which is a type of beer that is usually strongly flavored with hops and SUPER high is alcohol content--on average they are usually around 5.5-7.5% alcohol, but I've seen them get up to 12% in some brews which is more than double than the “typical” beer that is around 4%. The pungent hops flavor is due to a beer brewing technique called “dry hopping” which involves adding hops to the beer once it’s cooled for added taste. Yes, that involves getting the hops wet, which seems a little contradictory, but sometimes you need to just roll with the jargon. I’ve even heard of some brewers who will add hops directly to the bottle before final processing for a UBER hopped taste.
The benefits of this "Herbal IPA" recipe are many. First, it doesn’t have any of the calories that an actual beer has, nor the alcohol, which is great for anyone looking to cut back on either of those in their diet. Additionally, the herbs have some really great physiological benefits:
Hops flower: a powerful sedative that can help with insomnia, and overall relaxation.
Lemon balm: another relaxing herb (nervine) that helps with stress relief and digestive upset (carminative).
Chamomile: yet another relaxation herb that is known for decreasing inflammation.
Orange peel: Adds a great citrusy taste to the brew while also fighting heartburn & improving digestion.
Recipe for Herbal IPA
3 parts hops flower (you can also use hops pellets, I think citra hops would be great for this!)
2 parts lemon balm
2 parts chamomile
1 part orange peel
Soda Stream or other carbonation device
Using a mortar and pestle, break down each herb so that they are about the same size. Doing this will ensure that when you mix the herbal blend together, that 1 scoop of it will have the ingredients consistently, uniformly mixed.
Mix all the ingredients together. I like to put them into a jar with a lid and then shake them so that they are well blended.
You can brew this using 1 tablespoon of the mixture to each cup (8 fluid oz.) of water like you would a tea. My preferred method is to bring water to a boil in an electric kettle, let sit for 10 minutes to cool off a bit, and then add to herb mix in a large pitcher to steep. Once cool (about an hour or so), I’ll place it in the fridge to infuse overnight. My other preferred method is to brew like sun tea, by putting all the ingredients in a large covered pitcher and letting steep in the sunlight outside or in a sunny window for a day. *Note hops get bitter with lots of heat and length of steeping, which is why I prefer an infusion over other types of methods like boiling it down like a decoction.
Once you're satisfied with your infusion, strain the herbs out and make sure that the infusion is COLD.
Pour your infusion into your carbonation device (I use a Soda Stream) and carbonate to your liking!
To serve you can drink right away, chill longer in the fridge, or serve over ice. I like adding a lemon, lime, or orange slice for some extra flavor.
Herbal IPA should keep well for a few days in a closed container in the fridge.
*Herbalist disclaimer: Please be mindful of any allergies, contraindications or sensitivities when using herbs. Especially:
-Hops is not recommended for those with estrogen-dependent conditions or those with depression, as it can make depression symptoms worse.
-Lemon balm is not recommended for those with thyroid conditions.
-Orange has some contraindications with certain antibiotics and medications.
-Chamomile is not recommended for those with ragweed allergies.
Always consult your professional medical advisor before using herbs both internally and externally. I am not responsible for any adverse reactions related to this post.