6 pcs of wumei (add 2 more pieces if you prefer a strong smoky flavor)

3 liang (75 grams) dazao, dried red jujube

5 pcs of gancao, a sweet tasting herb which has a pleasing medicinal smell

9 cups of water

crystal sugar to taste

Rinse off the ingredients with cold water, then soak the wumei and dazao for just half an hour.

Bring a pot of water to a boil and then turn down the flame and simmer for an hour or more till the liquid turns a scarlet red; then add some crystal sugar to your liking.

Serve hot or cold. You can also strain it with cheese cloth before serving. The drink can be stored in a bottle and chilled.

This recipe is courtesy of my friend Audrey from Taiwan, where suanmeitang is something of a national drink.

酸梅 suanmeitang