Recipes: Inspired by Lagos, a Turmeric-Spiked Citrus Health Tonic
The following is an adapted excerpt from My Everyday Lagos: Nigerian Cooking at Home and in the Diaspora by Yewande Komolafe.
Drinks can refresh, heighten, or neutralize our sense of taste. At their best, they give the palate another opportunity to engage with fresh ingredients. Along with the rest of the world’s cities, Lagos has recently been swept up in a cocktail craze. To Lagos’s benefit, the ingredients we can obtain locally add extraordinary complexity to popular drinks.
My cookbook is not the definitive guide to what Lagosians drink, but a sample of what I enjoy and have enjoyed while living in Nigeria. Just as we do with the rest of our cuisine, Lagosians (and Nigerians in general) approach beverages without a strict adherence to category.
You May Also Like: Bartenders Are Finding Cocktail Inspiration in Foraged Ingredients
There are many ways to incorporate this tonic into your routine: as an ingredient in a smoothie, an after-meal digestif or a simple refreshment.
I have become obsessed with tonics now that I have more access to greens and other produce from my friend Yemi’s farm. It seems that once we have our native herbs and greens within reach, we start to explore all the ways to center our health and nutrition in ancestral traditions. Whereas the greens Yemi grows are great for blood and cardiovascular health, this tonic shares many common ingredients of other immunity-boosting tonics. It is rich with vitamin C, digestive aids, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Citrus Health Tonic
Adapted from My Everyday Lagos: Nigerian Cooking at Home and in the Diaspora by Yewande Komolafe
- 3 oranges, sliced
- 3 limes, sliced
- 1 lemon, sliced
- 3-inch piece of ginger, grated
- 2 stalks of lemongrass
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- Honey, to taste (optional)
Serves 4 to 6
Combine the oranges, limes, lemon, ginger, lemongrass and turmeric into a large saucepan with 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let steep for 15 to 20 minutes. Strain through a large mesh strainer or chinois.
To serve, pour 4 to 6 ounces into a small glass and stir in honey, if desired.
Last Updated: November 1, 2023