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Honey Ginger Lemonade Health Tonic

Recipe At-A-Glance
Vegetarian, Gluten-Free15 Minutes
Part tasty drink and part heath tonic, this Honey Ginger Lemonade is the perfect option for sipping on when you’re fighting a cold.
A glass of Honey Ginger Lemonade sits next to ginger.

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I really struggled with what to call this drink. I think by calling it a “lemonade,” it sounds like it’s sugar-packed drink that kids sell for five cents a cup (actually, I have no idea what the going rate for lemonade is?) at a stand in their driveway. This isn’t that.

I thought about calling it a “tonic” or even a “health tonic,” but I felt like that was getting dangerously close to snake oil schlepping territory. I’m not trying to convince you that drinking this superfood-packed drink is going to make you the healthiest person ever. That’s not really my style. Although it is super good for you.

So, I’m calling it both of those things. Meet the Honey Ginger Lemonade Health Tonic.

A jar of lemonade sits alone.

So, what is a honey ginger lemonade health tonic? Well, it’s a lightly-sweetened drink brewed from fresh ginger and lemon. It’s tasty, refreshing, and my absolute favorite beverage to sip on when I’m fighting off a cold. You know how the doctor always tells you to drink plenty of fluids when you’re sick? This is the fluid I drink.

Growing up, when I got sick, we headed to the frozen foods aisle at the grocery store and picked up a smorgasbord of those little frozen fruit juice concentrates. We almost never had juice in our house, so the sheer novelty of the stuff got me to consume tons more liquid than I ever would normally. But now, I like to do my liquid consuming with a bit less sugar and no artificial colors or flavors.

A jar pours Honey Ginger Lemonade into a mason glass.

Ginger, lemon, and honey are the holy trinity of food-based home remedies for a head cold (although, garlic is really good, too, I doubt you want a honey, ginger, garlic lemonade—yuck, just add lots of garlic to your Chicken Noodle Soup). Why are these three things so good when you’re fighting the sniffles? Well:

  • Ginger: As a natural antibacterial and antiviral, ginger helps fight infections in your body, and helps boost your overall immunity. Ginger has been used for centuries to help fight the cold!
  • Lemon: The acidity in lemon (and other citrus) helps to cut through phlegm and help clear you out. Lemon is also packed with vitamin C—an excellent nutrient for boosting your immune system.
  • Honey: In recent studies, honey has performed consistently better as a cough suppressant in comparison to over-the-counter medicines. A little bit helps fight that scratchy, tickly throat. Like ginger, honey is also a natural antibacterial and antiviral, helping to boost your immune system.

Ingredients for lemonade sit together - ginger, honey and lemons.

I like to drink this lemonade/tonic cold. I know a lot of people like hot drinks when they’re feeling puny (and you can certainly heat this up and drink it warm), but I’m partial to the cold liquid on my scratchy throat. I also find I can drink a lot more volume when I’m drinking cold. I fill up a Mason jar, stick in a straw (I’m loving my stainless steel straws with EcoJarz lids), and just keep on drinking all day long.

A jar of lemonade sits alone.

When I’m sick, I set a goal for myself of drinking at least a half-gallon of this drink everyday. I mix it up in a half-gallon Mason jar, and stash it in the fridge. It sounds like a lot, but I truly believe that flushing out all of those yucky germs is a huge part of getting over an illness quickly. And hey, it helps that this stuff is delicious!

One caveat about using this drink as a home remedy for colds—many studies have shown that excess sugar can actually curb your immunity. It’s generally a good idea to stay away from added sugars when you’re fighting off a bug. That’s why this drink is only lightly-sweetened. If you’re drink it when you’re feeling well, you might want to up the honey a touch to give you more of that classic lemonade flavor.

Enjoy (and be well)!

Honey Ginger Lemonade Health Tonic

Honey Ginger Lemonade Health Tonic

Yield: 2 quarts
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Part tasty drink and part heath tonic, this Honey Ginger Lemonade is the perfect option for sipping on when you're fighting a cold.


  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • Juice of three lemons (about 1/3 cup)
  • Ice and water


  1. In a heat-proof bowl (or a glass measuring cup), mix together the ginger pieces, honey, and boiling water. Stir well until the honey is dissolved, and then let steep for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, fill a two quart pitcher with ice. Once the ginger is done steeping, strain liquid into the pitcher, and add in the lemon juice. Fill the rest of the way with water, and stir well.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 69Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 22mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 1gSugar: 16gProtein: 0g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

Cassie is the founder and CEO of Wholefully. She's a home cook and wellness junkie with a love of all things healthy living. She lives on a small hobby farm in Southern Indiana with her husband, daughter, two dogs, two cats, and 15 chickens.

Leave a Reply

17 Responses
  1. Nicole

    Yes… I was just hoping if someone could tell me if this is ok to be stored in the fridge at all? And if so, how long would it keep? U may have answered this in the article and I skipped over it somehow. But would appreciate any info. Thanks,!

    1. Danielle @Wholefully

      Hi, Nicole! Yes—we love stashing this in the fridge after we’ve made it. It will easily keep a week to ten days in there, but you’ll likely go through it much faster than that!

  2. Tammy

    I’m trying this recipe for my bursitis. I was told ginger also helps inflammation in the joints. I was surprised how good it tasted! Wish me luck!

  3. Lauren

    I love lemonade and I love ginger; an amazing combo for the winter months! Mom used to make cough syrup with honey and lemon and kept it in the freezer when I was growing up. I also love the sour so lightly sweetened is perfect.

  4. Mark

    Not sure if it’s a good idea keeping lemon (an Acid) in contact with “stainless steel” for any period time. Reason being,,, stainless steel contains nickel, which is known to be a soft, toxic metal that will undoubtedly be leached into the lemon tonic. Best to use Pyrex or glass.

  5. Heeral

    Hey Cassie! It’s so awesome you wrote about this! I was raised on this “tonic” and we also struggled on naming it lol. We kinda referred to it as homemade theraflu or “ginger water” but we drank it every morning as a preventative (and for good skin!). One thing we do differently is we add more ginger (it makes it spicy and literally carves a path down your sore throat) and only juice from half a lemon. The ratios were pretty much to taste but definitely lots of ginger, half a lemon, fill the rest of the glass with hot water, then added some honey to make it tolerable. When we did catch a cold, we added a pinch of turmeric powder. It’s the best antibiotic/cure all!

    1. Mindy

      I just made this and it smells fantastic but I’m not sure if I am supposed to wait for ice to melt before drinking or drink it before all the ice melts?

  6. We make something similar (we add lemon grass to it) but always drink it warm. I will have to try it cold next time we get sick in the summer months. Have you ever tried freezing it? I wonder if it would work as a popsicle for sick kids?

  7. Charlotte

    I’m a regular reader and one of the things that keeps me coming back is your excellent writing.

    However (unless I’m completely blind), in the recipe instructions, it doesn’t say when/where to add the lemon. Just a heads up!

    1. Cassie

      Sure doesn’t, does it? Adding lemon is a pretty integral step to making lemonade. Doh! I’ve fixed it. Thanks for letting me know. 🙂

  8. Michelle T

    I don’t need to be sick to want this! I heart lemon and ginger. I think I’d even add some shredded coconut for my daughter. Other than being lazy and shredding the ginger, I’d love to make this as is. <3

  9. I’m going to probably induce a major side eye when I tell you this but…frozen orange juice concentrate has more vitamin C than store bought orange juice, sliced oranges, and juiced oranges. Crazy right? One of my professors is the head of Vitamin C research in the country and the result of her studies is mind blowing. Anyway, I’m loving this lemonade/tonic and would take this over concentrate any day of the week!

  10. Leslie

    This is a great recipe, I use this when I’m sick all the time! Want to add though that raw honey is much much much better than regular boiled honey (there have been many articles on how little honey regular “honey” actually contains”), so I add it at the end to room temperature water or tea, since high temperatures destroy most of the health benefits of honey.

Meet Cassie
Meet Your Host

Hello. My name is Cassie, and I’m a healthy home cooking expert.

I'm a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, and I've been developing healthy recipes professionally for over 15 years. Food is my love language, and my kitchen tips and nourishing recipes are my love letter to you!

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