Whey cooler ingredients (+ organic cane sugar)
One of the best ways to cool off and break up cascading heat in the body is by putting mints in you or on you. And, one of my favorite ways of taking in mint is by drinking a whey cooler. Whey (a by-product of making queso fresco or cream cheese) is a thin liquid devoid of milk solids, however it still maintains the lactic acid producing bacteria needed for fermentation.
So, by making a rich herbal tea (or more properly called infusion) and adding sugar, a little sea salt and whey — you can make your own homemade soda…like many dairy-based cultures have done for centuries. Whey coolers not only are refreshing, they also provide electrolytes that are needed to balance fluids in the body during the heat of the summer. Further, they provide beneficial bacteria for the gut!
Making a whey cooler is simple. First, you need to have whey on hand. Once, separated from the milk solids, whey lasts in the fridge for up to 6 months. The easiest way to make whey is to take a quart of raw milk (or more if you need to) and let it sit out in room temperature for 3-5 days. The acid from the culturing of the milk will naturally separate the whey and the curds (milk solids). Strain this separated liquid through cheesecloth. The curds basically are cream cheese which will store in the fridge for up to 2 months.
Refreshing Rose-Fennel-Mint Whey Cooler
Makes 2 750 mL wine bottles (emptry screw tops the best) or two quart jars
1/2 cup whey
1/2 cup organic sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4-1/2 cup total of dried herbs (depends on how strong you want the taste)
2 quarts water
Heat up 1 quart of water in a pan. Turn off heat and add the herbs, sugar and salt. Stir and let sit for 10-15 min. Strain liquid out from the herbs into another pot. Add the other quart of water (to cool the batch down). When the brew cools down to room temperature, add the whey. Pour into two screw-top wine bottles or 2 quart jars and screw the lids on tightly. Set in a warm place for 3-7 days. Taste the brew and see if it is fizzy and ready. If it is still too sweet for you, let it sit out more so that it will culture more. When ready to drink, transfer to the fridge and serve cold.
(Warning: be careful when opening! These drinks get REALLY fizzy and a lot of foam will pour out of the bottle!)