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Ginger Lemon Cold and Flu Tonic

Smoothies, Shakes & Drinks
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OK, so I arrived back in The United States and was basking in the glory of the fabulous Californian sunshine and the company of my wonderful friends and family. But while I was in Ojai California, I succumbed to the famous “Ojai allergy plague” which resulted in a sore throat that invited an aggressive non-sleeping frog suffering from ADD into my throat. This pesky little beast wouldn’t stop scratching and tap dancing on my vocal cords, until I lost my voice and was coughing up green slime that would offend even the most seasoned doctor. Fortunately, I did not have any other symptoms and felt wonderful. But I find myself being a very good listener this week!

This Ginger Lemon Tonic has been a lifesaver. You can enjoy this warm or cold all year round to soothe a restless warrior, or just as a delicious treat. Thankfully, it left my little froggy friend over-refreshed. He has heavy feet and is now sleeping. So I offer this quick and easy lemon tonic to all of you Australians facing a harsh cold and flu season. Think of this lemon cold remedy as my parting gift until I get back for Christmas. As the infamous Melbourne wind blew in with gusto, I left many friends and family with colds, as Melbournians strapped in for the bitter Winter chill. This drink is a quick and easy remedy for a cold or sore throat. This tonic can be enjoyed over ice as a zesty Summer treat. But the heating power of the ginger makes this more appropriate for colder months.

We all know that lemons are loaded with Vitamin C and have incredible antibacterial and alkalizing properties that fight infections. They, along with the heating properties of the ginger, help to increase perspiration which assists in breaking fevers associated with colds. Add in the honey to take the edge off, and you have a lemon cold remedy to combat a throat attack! It certainly hit the spot for me this week and helped me find my voice again! But feel free to enjoy this lemon tonic drink if you are not under attack. It makes a really pleasant zesty refresher as well.

I always prepare this drink with warm water so as not to heat the honey too much and release toxins. I always use raw local honey, which contains many of the phytonutrients contained in the hive, and preserves the rich nutritional profile and enzymes that are so easily destroyed with heat. If you heat honey beyond about 40 C / 100 F it becomes highly acidic and loses its healthy benefit.

Raw honey has natural anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties that have a powerful affect on the body. Raw organic honey is also a wonderful immunity booster and is alkalizing as long as you don’t heat it to extreme temperatures. It is also best to get local honey, as the bees have pollinated on plants in your area, which really helps with allergies etc.

You could sweeten this lemon tonic with Stevia, which is also alkalizing. But I like the viscous soothing effect honey has on the throat, and so let the raw honey flow! I have listed the amount of ginger and honey that works for me. I think it is absolutely delicious. But feel free to increase or decrease the ginger and sweetener. My blend does have a bit of bite! Add the cayenne pepper for an even bigger kick! This fiery red pepper is incredibly detoxifying and stimulates the lymphatic system boosting immunity.

In a former life, a good gin and tonic was my elixir of choice. I have never been a big drinker, but I always enjoyed the company of “the blue lady”– AKA Bombay Saphhire Gin. Bring her together with a good quality tonic water, a few cubes of ice, and a good squeeze of lemon juice, and my taste buds danced with zesty joy. My friend Martyn introduced me to her many years ago with a gentle disclaimer, “she’s not for amateurs”! These words of wisdom from a seasoned drinker pierced my temple like an ice pick while the room spun above me as I paid homage to the toilet bowl after my first indulgence. I learnt early on what a cruel mistress she can be if not treated with respect. I now only invite her out for very special occasions with friends. I am now more familiar with mocktails than cocktails and my liver thanks me every day.

Fortunately this tonic is a drink that can be enjoyed every day without the need to “coat-check your liver” or write any letters of apology. It is a gentle soothing mistress that will be your friend no matter how much you indulge, or how sick you are.

My disclaimer - "be gentle on the ginger for sensitive taste buds, or there will be tears!"

If you are bogged with the frogs, give this lemon tonic a go. It's a s'blended saver.

Lemon Tonic - Lemon Cold Remedy

Ginger Lemon Cold and Flu Tonic

  • 3 cups warm filtered water
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup raw honey (local if possible - read my note in the post) or liquid stevia to taste
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • pinch cayenne pepper (optional but recommended)
  1. Dissolve the raw honey in the warm water.
  2. Place everything in your blender and pulse a few times until completely combined.

This recipes makes about two 16-ounce glasses. Sip, enjoy, and heal!

Tip: the best way to store lemons

Lemons continue to respire and ripen after they have been harvested. The faster they respire the more carbon dioxide they produce, and the quicker they spoil. Store your lemons in the fridge to slow this down and they should keep for up to about ten days. Make sure you do not store them in plastic bags where they are on top of each other. When there is limited oxygen, the ethylene gas gets trapped, causing them to rot. Always bring them to room temperature to get the most juice out of them.

Thankyou for this recipe Tess


Sydney is so cold right now..I can’t wait to try this out..I refuse to get sick this winter!


I made this last night in order to help ward off an upper resp infection/sore throat/cough and let hubby try it, as he was feeling crummy too. Today I took the leftovers to work with me to sip on, and hubby calls and says “I’m going home to drink more of the lemon stuff.”  Long story short, I’ll be making more tonight.  :)  As a variation - I used Chestnut blossom honey (v.dark) and it was very good.


Hey Courtney,
I LOVE dark chestnut blossom honey. YUMMO!

Such a comforting warming drink, even when your not sick, just to keep the nasties away. I love it :-)


Yes, I agree. This is so comforting.

After 3 weeks of trying to kill the back trotters of the flu I was put onto your Lemon tonic by a good friend. Within 2 days I feel the best I have in what feels like forever and slept through the night without “grunting”. You are my new official idol Piggy. Thank you so much.


Olive and Liz
I am so pleased you are enjoying this drink.
It is so comforting and really does help. Oink!

I downed the entire thing before I read that it cant be heated more than 40 degrees. juggling a baby and dirty dishes ,...I let it get too hot..  :’(  I need to get better. out of lemons now, out of luck.


You can absolutely heat this mixture more if you like, and it is fine. I just prefer not to to preserve all of the amazing live enzymes and goodness in the raw local honey as it helps with allergies etc.

Would this be ok while pregnant?


I am not a health care professional, but I don’t see why not? It is just lemon, honey, and ginger. It is SO comforting. Always check with your doctor, but it should be fine.

This drink really works. My mom had been sick for quite a while with the “super cold” that’s been going around. I made her this drink for 3 days and she said she felt noticeably better. She wants to keep drinking it bc of how great it makes her feel. Great recipe!


Oh, I LOVE hearing that. Yes, I have been drinking this for YEARS and swear by it. SO happy that you have found it useful. Thankyou so much for taking the time to share your experience. Happy New Year.

Taste great!!!  Enjoyed so much…but I didn’t realize I was allergic to ginger…my face has a rash all over it ;(


Oh No!!! So sorry to hear that. I hope you are feeling better now. Just so you know, this drink tastes fabulous with wonderful health benefits without the ginger. Actually in the warmer months, it is actually preferable to omit the ginger, as it is a very heating food.

I have a question.  How does this recipe only make 2 glasses when it calls for 3 cups of water, plus the other stuff?  Just curious?


Angie, 1 measuring cup only fills about 1/2 an 8-ounce glass. Sorry if it is confusing. So, the mixture when blended up fills about 2 standard glasses.

Hmmmm, here in Canada, 1 measuring cup = 8 ounces, not 4 ounces.  That’s why I was confused.

Angie, Please accept my profound apologies. I had terrible jet-lag when I posted this comment, and it appears brain freeze when I wrote this post! Yes, you are correct. 1 cup = 8 ounces. I work off 16-ounce glasses. So, this mixture makes two 16-ounce glasses. I apologize for any confusion. I have also amended the post. Thankyou SO much for bringing this to my attention.

Thank Goodness…I thought I was going crazy!  LOL Thanks for clearing it up for me.  By the way, I made this recipe up and it was awesome!  I want to make it again.  And it DID make two 16-ounce glasses!!!  0:-)

I’m am new to Ginger.  I do have a tube of “fresh” ginger that I used for a salad dressing recipe.  Is this ok to use?  Thanks.


Fresh is really best for this recipe to get the full benefits. However, if that is all you have, then you can of course enjoy this drink with that. It is best if it doesn’t contain any additives or sugars etc.

@Angie - I am so pleased you enjoyed this recipe, and that it made the specified amount. You ROCK!


Ya know I bet this would be good on general principals for a person such as me that has horrible icky allergies.  Think I’ll be drinking one of these at nite to clear the mucus.  Thanks!!  If this works I owe you for a Dr visit huh?!?  ;)


LOL! Yes, this tonic is great for allergies and for colds. It is also just YUMMY!

So wonderful and effective! Thank you. I hate relying on OTC meds for colds, so once I feel a scratchy throat or runny nose, I mix this up, take a little zinc, and with in a day or 2 I’m back to my old self. Thank you for sharing…. And it delicious too ;)


Oh, you are so welcome. I am so pleased you find it useful. It is so simple and so effective. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience.

I’m on my second helping of this today as the littles have brought home the back to school ickies.. I’m alternating your tonic and my homemade elderberry syrup. I’m hoping to have this kicked by in the morning.

Thanks so much for posting this! I found you through Pinterest!!


Wonderful! I am so glad we connected through pinterest and your are enjoying this blend. LOVE Elderberry blends too.

i heard from a nurse that if i get coughing i should stay away from lemon, orange, things with acid citric?


Kim, you should do whatever your health care professional tells you. Every body is different and responds differently. Lemon is acid out of the body, but alkaline once digested because of the mineral salts. I like it for colds. I don’t drink orange juice (which has a much higher natural sugar content) but I do like lemons. But, do what feels right for you and what your doctor/nurse tells you.

I made this using pomegranate honey.


Oh YUM! My mouth is watering just thinking about that blend. Thanks for sharing.

Would I need to grate the ginger, or could I just throw a chunk in the vita mix with everything else?


You can absolutely just throw a piece of ginger into your Vitamix. I only list it grated to get an accurate measurement for people and for those without high speed blenders. Enjoy

This tonic is a keeper!  Thank you so much—it is a great tasting, comforting drink.


Yes, I agree. This one is a wonderful staple.

I’ve never been able to boast on recovering from a cold in 24 hours or so. Now I can, thanks to this recipe. If we could inject this stuff i’m sure it would only take a few hours to work ;) Thank you for sharing! Recommending to all. It’s a keeper!


Oh…..that is awesome! Yes, I have been drinking this for years and it is so effective. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience.

I have made this for my husband who has the flu. Do I store the leftover in the fridge or on the counter in a sealed jar? He can only handle about a cup at a time, but I plan to have him drink it 3 times/ day. Thank you.


Sorry for my delayed response when your hubby was sick. I hope it made him feel better. Next time, store it in the fridge until you need it.

Seing all your lovely recepies makes me frustrated :)
‘Cause i live in Sweden and we measure everything in deciliters and liters. Too tired now to try and translate the recepy tonight :)
At work my boss works with a bad cold so we all are getting really sick.
Tomorrow is another day för math :)
Thanks for the recepy. I hope it will ease my cold :)


Oh, I am so sorry. I am Australian and am used to working with metric measurements, too. I have metric conversions in my books and app. I need to do it here, too. If you use metric cups and spoons in this recipe it works great!

Problem solved! :)
Online i found a nearby store selling american measure cups :)

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