Warm “golden milk” is all the rage, from coffee shops and restaurants to home kitchens. Mugs of the creamy concoction have graced the cover of hundreds of magazines, each touting a favored recipe. Affectionados claim it is soothing, “soul restoring,” and helps with sleep. Natural health folks focus on the numerous benefits of the flavorful spices, with turmeric the shining star as a proven powerful anti-inflammatory. Ginger and cinnamon each have unique benefits as well.
When Starbucks jumps on the turmeric bandwagon, you know it’s a trend. Their new offerings include packaged ground coffee with added turmeric, and a sugary Iced Golden Ginger Drink that features turmeric and ginger.
While it might seem like a new concept, golden milk has been consumed in the East for centuries, often as a drink for sick children or to help them sleep, as well as simply being enjoyed.
So what’s the big deal, and what’s in it? The big deal is that if you like the spices (and that’s a big if), you have a pleasant way to consume their medicinal and healing properties. It’s also a caffeine-free drink. One caveat is that some people are allergic or sensitive to cinnamon, and a lesser number react to ginger and turmeric.
Classic ingredients in Golden Milk
- Whole milk or substitutes like oat, almond, or coconut milk.
- Ground turmeric
- Ground or stick cinnamon
- Freshly grated ginger root or ground
- Black pepper
- Sweetener of choice, often honey or maple syrup
Ingredients for a starting recipe
This recipe for Golden Milk goes easy on the spices, in case you need to develop a taste for them. If you aren’t concerned about that, double the spices and see how you like it.
- 2 cups whole milk, coconut, oat or almond milk
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger or 1/4 inch ginger root, peeled and grated
- A generous pinch of ground cinnamon
- A not-so-generous pinch of black pepper
- 1 teaspoon honey, maple syrup or other sweetener
Whisk all ingredients together in a small saucepan and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 5 to 10 minutes until it is fragrant. Using a fine mesh strainer, strain as you pour into two cups. Garnish with additional cinnamon, if desired. If you only want a single serving, store remaining Golden Milk in the refrigerator for up to a few days, or simply halve the recipe.
A word of advice
Last year I wanted to treat myself to this nourishing beverage so I read up on all the tips I could find. The most important one I found was to use quality spices, rather than rely on the typical ones sold in the baking area of grocery stores. Second, was to use Ceylon cinnamon instead of the more common and stronger cassia cinnamon (but both are really OK). And the third was to go organic.
After spending way too much time researching options online, I purchased a pound each of organic Ceylon cinnamon and organic ground turmeric on Amazon. Together they cost about $25, but it seemed cost effective compared to the price of multiple small containers at natural food stores.
Well, it might have been cost effective if I could possibly have used up the spices—a pinch or teaspoonful at a time—before my wonderful stash lost its freshness.
But the biggest problem was that I found I really dislike the taste of turmeric outside of its use in Indian meals. I still wanted the anti-inflammatory benefit, though. Solution? I switched my recipe to use a generous amount of cinnamon, just a hint of turmeric, and kept the other ingredients as is. And I bought a turmeric supplement.
My suggestion is to start small and go easy, adding more spice as you go along. And, if you truly don’t like it, don’t torture yourself. We don’t all have to be drinking Golden Milk.