Bottling Up History

Bottling Up History
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A herbal tincture popular in the ancient royal courts of Java is making a comeback, albeit with a twist. Jamu, a 9th-century elixir for wellness, made with ground turmeric, rhizomes, roots, fruits, bark and leaves, is an intrinsic part of Indonesian culture; however, the dwindling number of jamu-makers has led to the drink nearly disappearing from mainstream markets. According to an Indonesian Ministry of Health report, almost 50 per cent of jamu-makers are already 60 years old, with only one-third having apprentices.

The good news is a renewed interest in the medicinal drink that is said to heal the body, mind, and soul. Many new bars and young chefs in Indonesia are now incorporating the old flavours of jamu to create new drinks and even desserts. Jamu has also entered the local cocktail scene with many hip Bali clubs and restaurants concocting jamu-infused drinks. Coffee bars also serve this tincture in barista style, grinding the ingredients using a French press or a V60 coffee dripper.

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