Since I was little I have always seen my parents drinking infusions. My mum would always have a good variety in stock and my dad would always drink one after dinner, before going to bed. I adopted this habit from early times and continue to do it mostly every day, exactly the same way as my father does: before going to sleep. I also remember criticising him because he would add milk to any infusion and, for some inexplicable reason, I always thought it was not right. No matter which herb he used, milk would be added anyway. But years later I finally understood that the whole point for him was to enjoy a warm and soothing drink to end the day, not choosing the “right herb” –if any- to mix with milk or to follow any orthodox rule to prepare an infusion. It was his own private ritual what was important after all and that is something I have learnt to value with the pass of time.
Now I also share this ritual and guess what…? I do sometimes add milk to my infusion too. A little bit of unsweetened soy milk and voilà! I like traditional herbs (fresh or dry) like: chamomile, linden, peppermint, lemongrass but also good loose leaf blends from small independent brands, especially the “sleepy time, sweet dreams” kind because you get a nice mix of herbs and flowers like lavender, lime flower, verbena, oatflower all blended together.
I am not as meticulous with infusions as I am with tea, it is a warm drink that I like to keep as comforting and simple as possible. It goes perfect in a mug that I carry around the house and put over a book, on the bed, everywhere. However, I do have two “golden rules” to drinking infusions that apply for either infusions or tea. Rule number one: they cannot be artificially flavoured. Therefore, any artificial taste of berries, peach, vanilla must be kept away of my smell and sight. Rule number two: they cannot be artificially coloured. Herbs and flowers have their own natural colour. However, there are few flowers like the hibiscus for example that when brewed, gives a magenta tone that may look artificial at a glance but that is natural. But as a general rule, no lavender bud will turn your infusion blue or purple; likewise, no chamomile will turn it yellow. Most of them have a natural pale colour that is pleasant to our sight. I also like the Colombian versions of infusions called “aromáticas” where fresh fruits and herbs are brewed in hot water and then served.
The last time my mum and dad visited us we drank infusions every night. My dad would always ask: “anyone fancy an infusion? To which all of us would raise our hands enthusiastically and enjoy it together. It is the act of having our own rituals what makes a simple experience meaningful to us. I am sure each one of you has your own rituals whether it is before going to bed, when you wake up or when you leave home. All of them an essential part of our daily lives and of who we are… Drinking infusions before going to bed just happens to be one of my and family’s favorite pastimes. Do you like infusions? When and how do you like them?