Gula jawa (Indonesian palm sugar), which gets its slightly smoky taste from the fire over which the sugar is processed, becomes mushy (and easy to measure) when sliced.
2" piece of ginger
3 cassia sticks
3 whole cloves
1⁄2 cup gula jawa (or dark brown sugar)
1. Peel ginger and bruise it with the smooth side of a meat mallet until it becomes juicy. Put the ginger, 4 1⁄2 cups water (preferably filtered or spring), cassia sticks, and cloves into a medium pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently, partially covered, until the spices thoroughly infuse the water, 8–10 minutes. Add gula jawa and stir well until dissolved.
2. Remove the pot from the heat, strain the liquid through a sieve, and discard the solids. Serve warm, at room temperature, or over ice.