Food + Drink

A Cold Elixir to Help Ease Flu Season

The cold and flu season is here in full force. If you or a loved one are feeling under the weather, try this Cold Elixir from Julia Turshen’s Small Victories cookbook. Here’s what Turshen has to say about it:

“Whenever I get a cold, I make endless batches of this mixture. While it might just be something to do while I’m sniffling and shuffling around in thick socks, I feel like ever since I’ve started drinking it, my colds don’t last as long. Small victory: A natural remedy that works. I like to make this in a big batch and store it in the refrigerator (for up to 2 days) and heat it up as I need it. This is also good cold and served over ice (which can help soothe a sore throat).”

Cold Elixir recipe

Cold Elixir

Serves 4


  • 3 cups [720 ml] boiling water
  • One 3-in [7.5-cm] piece fresh peeled ginger, crushed
  • ¼ cup [60 ml] apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup [85 g] honey (preferably raw)
  • Two 3-in [7.5-cm] cinnamon sticks, each broken in half
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of kosher salt

In a large bowl or jar, combine the water, ginger, vinegar, honey, cinnamon sticks, cayenne, and salt and stir until the honey dissolves. Strain and drink immediately.


  • For a fresh ginger stomachache soother, double the ginger and leave out the vinegar and cayenne.
  • I once read that rosemary can help with headaches. If you find yourself with a bad headache, try steeping a roughly chopped branch of rosemary in boiling water. Stir in a bit of honey, too.
  • For extra Vitamin C, add the grated zest and juice of a lemon and/or an orange to the elixir.
  • To help you sleep, add a chamomile tea bag or a little dried lavender to the elixir. Leave out the cayenne.

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Rest up! For more home cooking recipes, you can find Small Victories here.

Small Victories by Julia Turshen

Jenna Homen

Jenna Homen

Content and Community Manager at Chronicle Books. When she's logged off, she can be found painting, cooking, camping, or petting her dog Harley. You can follow her on Twitter at @jn_na.
Jenna Homen


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