I came up with this tisane several years ago when plagued by a terrible sore throat. It quickly became very popular at work as it's effective and it tastes good. It's also easy to use, since it's prepared in advance and added to hot water when needed. I haven't made it in a while, not having had a really awful sore throat. But, recently a sick friend asked me to make some for her. So, I tweaked the recipe and measured everything. Thus, I give you
Otherwise known as Lemon Ginger Syrup.
- 1.5 pounds honey - a lightly flavored variety is best.
0.5 pound fresh ginger, grated
6 lemons (or more) - juice (about 1.5 cups or more) and zest
2 c. water.
Grate the ginger into a large non-reactive pot. Don't bother peeling the ginger, just make sure there's not dirt caught between branches of the 'hand.'
How fine you grate it influences the resulting syrup. Finely grated, it will release more starches and resins and the resulting syrup will have more bite or heat. It can be downright bitter. Grating it coarsely means it will need to steep longer, but will have a softer, smoother ginger flavor. I prefer the former for its taste, but the latter is better for a really raw throat, go with your preference.
Use a potato peeler or paring knife and remove the zest from the lemons. Coarsely chop the zest and put it to one side. Juice the lemons. Don't bother to fish out the pulp or seeds. Everything is going to be strained in the end.
Add the honey and water to the ginger, stir a bit until the honey is melted, and bring to a strong simmer over medium heat. If the ginger was coarsely grated, turn off the heat and let it steep for about 15 minutes, and then bring it back to a simmer and continue. If it was finely grated, proceed immediately.
Once it simmers, add the lemon zest, give it a quick stir, and bring it back to a simmer.
Immediately remove it from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.
Strain through a fine mesh strainer, pressing the pulpy mess to get out all of the juice. Bottle it and refrigerate. Makes about 4.5 cups, and is best within 3 months although it keeps for about 6 months with no problem.
To Drink: Add about an ounce of the syrup (to taste, really) to a mug of hot water, and drink while still hot.
Something to keep in mind: Ginger is a bit of a stimulant, it tends to get one's juices flowing. This drink is wonderfully warming if you're chilled, especially if your circulation is poor. However, I've inadvertently kept myself awake drinking this before bed. That said, it's not a caffeine substitute, so don't rely on it to pull you through an all-nighter.
The honey and lemon juice are there for your throat, and the ginger is there for your stomach and circulation. The zest is there for flavoring. All the ingredients are ball park quantities so adjust them to suit your own tastes.