a bit time consuming (2 days? COME ON!), but well worth it. one sip and you’ll be eternally grateful for this recipe. for a festive touch, wet the rims of tall glasses and dip in a mixture of finely chopped crystallized ginger and sugar.
1 piece fresh ginger, 3 inches long, peeled and coarsely grated
10 cups water
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup loose tea leaves such as english breakfast or earl grey
place the ginger in a large, nonaluminum bowl. pour in 4 cups of the water, cover and let stand undisturbed for 48 hours.
line a sieve with cheesecloth and place over a saucepan. strain the ginger water through the sieve, then add the sugar to the saucepan. bring to a boil over high heat, stirring, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer, undisturbed, for 10 minutes. remove from the heat, stir in the tea and cover. let steep for 5 minutes. strain into a large, heatproof pitcher and pour in the remaining 6 cups water. stir well, cover and refrigerate until well chilled. pour over cracked ice in tall glasses.