The Dutch have a small variety of hot beverages that all seem to serve a purpose: anijsmelk (sweet hot milk flavored with anise) to lull us to sleep, zopie (warm Bock beer with cinnamon, sugar and eggs) to warm us up after hours of skating on the ice, and kwast to knock out the evil spirits of upcoming or lingering colds. Kwast especially is one of those beverages that has become a much-relied-on home remedy, a grandma staple, for when you're suffering from a cold. Whether it *really* helps or not is disputed - but the extra vitamin C and the increased body temperature that comes from drinking something hot while covered with blankets may have very well something to do with it.
Kwast is a hot beverage made with freshly squeezed lemon juice, boiling hot water, sweet, comforting honey and, for those that desire a bit more fortitude, a splash of alcohol. It's especially popular during this time of year when a good night's sleep, an extra dose of vitamin C and a way to sweat out those first signs of a cold are needed!
So without further ado, we're heading to bed, mug in hand. And while we sip our hot, lemony kwast carefully, we tuck ourselves in under het dekbed, the duvet, looking forward to a good night's sleep. Tomorrow is another day!
Sleep well and beterschap!
Half a lemon
8 oz water
1 heaping teaspoon honey
Optional: splash of whisky, rum or brandy
Juice the lemon half and add it to a mug. Bring the water to a boil, pour it over the lemon juice. Stir in the honey. Taste. If you'd like it sweeter, add a bit more honey. Stir in the splash of whisky, rum or brandy, if desired.
Sip slowly while covered with blankets,and feel better in the morning!