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!
Thankfully I remembered a fantastic little elixir Mel and I have enjoyed on more than one occasion at one of our favourite haunts in Melbourne; and it came to the rescue once again. The Vegie Bar in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy is one of the great vegetarian treasures of the city, serving up huge plates of raw and cooked vegetarian and vegan dishes to happy snouts far and wide.
This week I blended up my version of their “Ginger Lemon Tonic” which snouts enjoy 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 alkalising 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 alkalising 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 alkalising. 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!
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 is a s'blended saver.