Hot Drinks For Colds and Sore Throats

I have some bad, bad sick trying to attack me.
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It started when I wanted to go to bed last night at 9:30pm–the wrong side of a single digit bedtime. It got worse when I couldn’t go to bed until past midnight since my baby was being a jerk.

It started as a frog in my throat this morning, turned into a dry, hacking cough by this afternoon, and then slight chest pain accompanying a lost voice this evening. “Eff,” I thought, when I looked into my kitchen cabinet and found that I am out of my favorite herbal tea.

Yeah. That’s the one. *cough*HACK*cough*

I make this herbal tea with honey and lemon. It feels wonderful and heals your very soul. I think. The FDA is unclear on that one.

But I am out! The nearest place to get the tea is 50 miles away, and I’m just not going to make that trip any time soon. Here are a few drinks for colds that I can use instead of my regular standby to help me feel better and fight off this illness.

Herbal Tea

Yes, I can sub any other herbal tea in for my hibiscus. Peppermint tea helps clear nasal passages. Citrus-based teas (like lemon peel) get you one step closer. Don’t forget the squeeze of citrus: although lemon is traditional, you can use limes, oranges, or grapefruit. The important part is the Vitamin C and honey.

Fruit Cordials

It’s a traditional English remedy. Simply heat a draught of fruit cordial. Although I keep Chambord in the house for cooking, I don’t know if I can bear drinking it straight. Black currant, anyone?


It doesn’t get more traditional than several spoonfuls of whiskey to help that cold say “Uncle.” My parents never tried it on me, but I have friends who swear by whiskey.

Apple Cider

I’m not talking about the wimpy apple cider in the juice section of your grocery store. Wander over to the refrigerated juices department and check for a bottle of cider that looks cloudy. That’s the stuff. Even better, find a local farm or orchard that sells its cider. Heating that stuff is like circling your cold with a tire iron. Do it.


There’s a reason that people drink wassail in the winter, and it’s not always for the good cheer. Heat orange juice, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and nutmeg in a pot and let it steep. Add honey to taste when you serve. It makes your house smell amazing, which will make you happy, and makes your cold sore throat feel so much better.

Hot Chocolate

You heard me. Hot chocolate. This does not mean Swiss Miss. Seriously. How old are you? Put down the packets and pull out the cocoa powder from your pantry. Mix 1/3 cup of cocoa powder with 2/3 cup powdered sugar, a pinch of salt, and about two cups of milk (you want it to be the color of dark chocolate milk.) Check for sweetness, you might want more. Too sweet/bland? Add more cocoa. Cocoa and chocolates are packed with antioxidants and relieve coughing.

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To really kick up your hot chocolate? Bring four cups of milk up to a boil, remove from heat, throw in a dark chocolate bar, add a bit of dried chile, cinnamon sticks, and a couple cloves. Steep for 15 minutes, and then adjust flavor with sugar, cocoa, or more milk. I used probably half the chile shown and the drink was plenty spicy.

Milk and Honey or Almond Milk and Honey

Another drink with hot milk? YES. Phlegm is not my concern (and there have been some studies that show that milk doesn’t cause phlegm.) You can absolutely use almond, soy, or other dairy alternatives. Heat until comfortably warm and add honey. Honey has natural antibiotics and other awesome stuff that really does help beat your sick into submission.


Add slices of fresh ginger to any of the above drinks when you’re heating them. Ginger helps relieve inflamed membranes, sore throats, and all manner of nasty cold symptoms.

Hot Lemonade

Like wassail and herbal teas, you’re looking for a punch of vitamin C. If you’ve never tried hot lemonade, you’re missing out. This is another case where using a powdered substitute isn’t terrible effective. Squeeze lemons into a cup, add hot water and honey. The ginger I mentioned above would be especially delicious in hot lemonade.

Now, wish me luck at fending this cold off!

What areyourgo-to drinks to keep you from getting sick or staying hydrated when you are sick?



Homemade Hot Cocoa

Homemade hot cocoa is so much better than the watery stuff from a packet; it's like comparing the sole of a shoe with a steak.