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5 July 2012

Warm winter drinks and immunity teas + some cool thirst quenchers

I'm lucky that I'm really healthy and rarely get sick. I like to have a few tonics handy during winter though, just in case. I thought some of you may like to try some of these little pick-me-ups if you come down with a cold or just feel a bit under the weather. I think these drinks work because they're hot, so they warm you up, and they often contain citrus, herbs and honey which can counteract cold-like symptoms with their antiseptic properties. I also believe they work partly because of the careful and slow ritual of making them and because you know you're taking time out to look after yourself. The mind plays its own tricks on us at times.

And for all of my northern hemisphere friends, who may we fanning themselves under elder or pecan trees, here are some of my recipes for cold summer drinks and elder flower cordial.

My favourite pick-me-up drink in winter is plain black tea with lemon and honey. You just brew the tea as you like it and add as much or as little lemon and honey as you like.

The immune activating tea and winter virus drink were sent to me by my good friend Susan.

  • Brew 500mls of strong black tea in a plunger
  • Add 1 lemon finely sliced (plus peel)
  • 1/2 orange finely sliced (plus peel)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • You can add honey to taste
Allow to steep and drink hot to raise the core temperature of the body. Keep warm in a thermos or reheat by adding a small amount of hot water. 

Take a lemon and slice an indentation all the way around it, so it can expand in the oven. Put it in the oven in a baking dish and bake until the liquid starts to come out. Take it out and let the lemon cool a little. Put the whole thing in a blender and then add the same amount of water to it, so that what you end up with is half lemon, half water. Add honey to taste and take by the teaspoon 3 times a day or more if required.

Warm apple cider with mint leaves and pineapple sage flowers.


1 cup of non-alcholic cider or good apple juice for every person, zest of one lemon. Put in saucepan and gently warm for five minutes. Serve straight away.

WINTER LEMON TEA - makes 2 cups
  • Juice and rind of 2 lemons
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1½ cups water
  • Lemon verbena or mint leaves for garnish - optional

  • 6 fresh lemon verbena leaves
  • Water
  • Honey, if you want to sweeten the tea
Place lemon verbena leaves in a cup and pour over boiling water. Allow to sit for five minutes, remove the leaves, sweeten with honey, if desired.


Recipes are from Dale's wonderful Dilly Bag site. Dale is a local Sunshine Coast indigenous chef, a good friend of Bev, who has catered for a couple of Neighbourhood Centre events. She's a great cook. Look for her lemon myrtle recipes down the page. Bev tells me that lemon myrtle has more antiseptic properties than tea tree.

 If you have a good winter drink recipe, please share it with us.


  1. I like peppermint tea made with fresh mint leaves :-) I'll be trying some of your recipes too!

  2. I like the one "For Winter Virus". I have never heard of baking the lemon before but I would imagine it yields very well. Here is my recipe for Rosehip cordial, full of Vitamin C and lovely with cold soda water or sipped hot mixed with boiled water. It makes a very thoughtful gift for a sick friend and brings back fond memories of Delrosa for us big kids.

  3. Hi Ronda I hope it's ok to share this link here as I know you prefer us not too but one of our favourite warm drinks is chai and another is a ginger tea which readers can see recipes for here thanks for your ideas, hope we don't get another bout of sickness this winter.

  4. will have to try at least one of these though I think I need a few nights good sleep and a few easy days in between.

  5. Some very timely recipes here for me at the moment Rhonda, as I am fighting a nasty chest infection. I will try the Immune Activating and Winter Virus brews and see if they help. Thank you.

  6. Ay.. Good old Delrosa.

    We are in central England..UK and, apparently, are about to receive over a month's rainfall in two days. Would be nice if we could send it to the people suffering those terrible heatwaves.

    Our allotment plants have just copped it Can't cope with this mad weather. You can tell it's Wimbledon time:o)

    My brother-in-law swears by heated up lemonade for his colds. Has to be the 'proper stuff' though. None of this cheap commercial gubbins. I like ginger, grapefruit... and honey (for the sweetness). Manuka honey is BRILL. Well worth the money, as it is expensive. Beware, if you are on certain medications, then you shouldn't take citrus. My mum can't.

  7. I especially like the sound of the Immune Activating Tea. Thank you for sharing. I've just recovered from the flu so think I'll start drinking it regularly.

  8. I've used this recipe for a few years. It sounds awful, but really clears congestion and helps me sleep. I always make it when I'm hit with colds and sniffles.
    Juice of 1 lemon, 2 cloves crushed garlic, 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger, pinch cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon honey. Top with boiling water and drink before bed.

  9. FishcakesfisherJuly 05, 2012 8:25 am

    Our very old family cold (most people would say flu) drink is the same as many others with black tea, fresh ginger, garlic, lemon and manucka honey to which we add some port. It is warming, comforting, gives you a good nights sleep and you feel great the next morning.

  10. Thanks for the tea recipes, I'm sure to try some out next time we are feeling a bit under the weather.

  11. Love natural rememdies and will now add these good ones to my list.

  12. Our winter flu drink recipe is fresh lemon juice, honey, boiling water and a good shot of whiskey. Tastes aweful when you're not sick but wonderful when you are.

  13. Garlic! I love our TLC Tea which we make with garlic, lemon, ginger, honey, and sometimes fennel seeds. Works wonders.

  14. On our subzero mornings I've been having hot lemon and honey drinks with my breakfast: Juice of one lemon + 1 tspn honey in a teacup filled with hot water. It helps clear the sinuses and throat, and is both soothing and warming. A great way to start the day, I think!

  15. Rhonda, did you check out Little Home in The Country today? Wow! what a compliment.

  16. Thank you so much for all the recipes. That is certainly something to try when it is Winter here ; )
    Have a great day.

  17. Those teas do sound good. Today we have a cooling trend so wanted, and mild rain. It's a very nice summer day..yesterday HOT.

  18. Yes Lynda, I did. I wrote a reply but it didn't go in and I didn't have time to rewrite it. I'm really flattered.

  19. We have elderberry cordial with hot water (the recipe I use has cloves in it) or hot lemon and honey, with or without Southern Comfort or whisky, depending on the time of day!

    Hot Toddie :
    250 ml Boiling water ,1 teaspoon honey ,1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 tablespoon SCOTCH Whisky ,mix together, take with a couple of paracetamol ,guaranteed to give you a good night's sleep.
    Margaret in Tas

  21. My 'go to' cure all is my spiced ginger tea. I usually don't get through a winter without it. However my family prefer my ginger and honey tea (no spices) But I'm looking forward to trying some of these recipes both on your blog and in your comments. I wish I had read this earlier and could have bought some lemon verbena from the garden expo that I was at yesterday. Some of that lemon verbena tea would be perfect right now. My tea recipes can be found here:

  22. g'day rhonda
    thanx for all those lovely tea ideas, i've used just the lemon & honey mostly but when i'm really hurting with a cold or flu which hasn't been for a long time, i also add chopped fresh chillies to the mix, works wonders at clearing anything up.
    hope you & hanno have had a great weekend
    cheers :))
    selina from kilkivan qld

  23. Hi Rhonda

    I love Rooibos tea, an all time favourite South African herbal tea, thats caffeine free and you can drink it with a slice of lemon or milk and sugar/honey if you prefer. It is available in Australia, found it in all my local grocery outlets, big and small.

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