By Cassie Johnston
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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.
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.
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:
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.
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)!
4.5 from 2 reviews
Part tasty drink and part heath tonic, this Honey Ginger Lemonade is the perfect option for sipping on when you’re fighting a cold.
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I love this! I will definitely save this for next time I’m not feeling well.
….and my daughter had a lemonade stand last summer-we charged 50 cents a cup. :)
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.
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!
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
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!
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. :)
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?
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!
I don’t really like ginger because it’s too strong but I might try this!! It looks amazing
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.
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.
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!
Best of luck!
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