You’ve got a case of the “itchy-swallows.” You know what I mean…you swallow and it feels like there are ants crawling around in your throat. You have to scratch that itch, so you cough. And it doesn’t work. Coughing a little just makes your throat itch more…coughing more doesn’t help, and then you end up with a headache. And an itchy throat. Ugh!
Hot lemonade can be a GREAT choice for soothing a sore throat because it doesn’t just help ease your pain; it also has many healing benefits. Before we dive into those benefits of hot lemonade, it is important to note that this beverage should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment, especially if your sore throat is accompanied by other symptoms such as fever or difficulty breathing. If your sore throat persists or worsens, it’s best to consult with a doctor or healthcare provider.
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The Health Benefits of Hot Lemonade
Hot lemonade is a warm and comforting drink that can offer several health benefits whether your throat is sore or you’re just trying to keep warm during a cold winter night. Some of these benefits include:
- Vitamin C: Hot lemonade is made with lemon juice, which is a great source of Vitamin C. This essential nutrient is important for maintaining a healthy immune system and fighting off infections, especially during the winter months when colds and flu are more common.
- Antioxidants: Lemons contain antioxidants, which help to protect the body against damage from free radicals. Antioxidants are especially important during the winter months when our diets may be lacking in fresh seasonal produce.
- Anti-inflammatory properties: Lemons have anti-inflammatory properties which can help reduce inflammation in the body and support overall health.
- Soothing properties: The warmth of hot lemonade can help to soothe a sore throat, relieve discomfort, and promote healing. Additionally, the honey used to sweeten hot lemonade can act as a natural cough suppressant and help to soothe the throat.
- Relaxation: Drinking hot lemonade is a relaxing and calming experience that can help to reduce stress and promote feelings of well-being.
Hot Lemonade Variations (for Added Benefits)
There are many ways to vary the traditional hot lemonade recipe to add extra flavor and health benefits. Here are some popular variations:
Mint: Adding a handful of fresh mint leaves to hot lemonade can add a fresh and invigorating flavor. Mint may also help to soothe a sore throat and promote digestion.
Turmeric: Adding a pinch of turmeric to hot lemonade can help to boost the drink’s anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric is also a natural pain reliever and can help to soothe a sore throat.
Ginger: Adding a slice of fresh ginger to hot lemonade will add a warm, spicy flavor. Ginger is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties and can help soothe an upset stomach.
Cinnamon: Adding a cinnamon stick to hot lemonade will lend it a warm and cozy flavor. Cinnamon is also known for its antibacterial properties and may help fight off infections.
Cloves: Adding a few cloves to hot lemonade will add a warm and spicy flavor. Cloves are known for their antibacterial and antiviral properties, making them a great addition to hot tea or lemonade during cold and flu season.
Rose petals: Adding a few dried rose petals will give your hot lemonade a delicate and floral flavor. Rose petals are known for their calming properties and can help to reduce stress and promote relaxation.
These are just a few of the many variations that will add extra flavor and health benefits to your hot lemonade. Feel free to experiment with different ingredients and find the combination that works best for you.
Vegan substitutes for Honey
If you don’t consume honey, don’t worry! Try sweetening your hot lemonade with one of these instead:
- Maple syrup: Maple syrup is a natural, plant-based sweetener that can be used as a substitute for honey in hot lemonade. It has a slightly different flavor profile than honey, but it still works well in this recipe.
- Agave nectar: Agave nectar is another popular alternative to honey that’s made from the sap of the agave plant. It’s sweeter than honey, so you’ll need to use less of it.
- Coconut sugar: Coconut sugar is made from the sap of the coconut palm and has a slightly nutty, caramel-like flavor. It’s a good option for those who are looking for a more natural, unrefined sweetener.
- Rice syrup: Rice syrup is a sweetener made from cooked rice. It has a mild, slightly nutty flavor and is a good option for those who are looking for a more neutral-tasting sweetener.
These are just a few of the alternative sweeteners that can be used in place of honey in hot lemonade. Each sweetener has its own unique flavor and sweetness level, so you may need to experiment to find the one that works best for you.
without further ado, let's get to that hot lemonade recipe!
- 8 cups filtered water
- 1 cup raw local honey or vegan substitute
- 6-8 lemons
- Juicing lemons: Start by juicing the lemons. You can use a manual juicer or an electric juicer to extract the juice. For best results, use fresh, organic lemons that are firm and heavy for their size.
- Measuring ingredients: Next, measure out the ingredients. For every cup of lemon juice, you will need 1 cup of honey (or alternative sweetener) and 8 cups of water.
- Making the lemon syrup: In a medium saucepan, combine the lemon juice and honey (or alternative sweetener). Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the honey has completely dissolved. Remove the saucepan from the heat and set aside.
- Adding water: In a large pot, bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Once the water has reached a boil, add the lemon syrup to the pot and stir to combine.
- To make sure you get the most juice out of your lemons, roll them on the counter with the palm of your hand before juicing them.
- When measuring the lemon juice, it's important to be precise so that the hot lemonade has the right balance of sweet and tart flavors.
- When heating the lemon syrup, be sure to stir constantly to prevent the mixture from burning.
Storing Hot Lemonade
Nobody wants to cook when they’re sick (even if it’s just making something to drink!). Fortunately, this recipe makes more than one serving and can be easily stored. To make sure that your hot lemonade stays fresh for as long as possible, store it in an airtight container and keep it in the refrigerator.
- Cooling: Before storing the hot lemonade, let it cool to room temperature. This will help to prevent bacteria growth.
- Containers: Pour the cooled hot lemonade into an airtight container. You can use a pitcher, a mason jar, or a bottle with a tight-fitting lid.
- Refrigeration: Store cooled hot lemonade in the refrigerator. It’s best to keep the drink in the main part of the refrigerator rather than on the door, where temperature fluctuations are more frequent.
- Shelf life: Hot lemonade will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. If you’re using a perishable ingredient such as fresh mint, it’s best to consume the drink within 1-2 days to ensure maximum freshness. You can also add such ingredients to individual servings when you heat them.
A few more tips: If you’re not sure if the hot lemonade has gone bad, look for signs such as a sour or off flavor, a change in color, or the growth of mold. If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to discard the drink.
By following these simple steps, you can store hot lemonade and enjoy it for 2-3 days.