Cold and Flu Elixir

Cold and flu elixir is made with honey, apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, and cayenne for a homemade alternative to terrible-tasting and over-priced store-bought cold medicines.

Glass jar with a cold and flu drink with a cinnamon stick, a spoon with ginger

This cold and flu elixir is our favorite remedy to soothe a sore throat, stop sniffles, or settle an upset stomach. But besides its remarkable honeyed-ginger flavor that’s lovely as can be and no contest compared with those blechy-tasting, over-priced, store-bought, brand-name cold medicines, we love the fact that you probably already have everything you need to make it in your pantry, which means no run to the store. And a little extra money to pay for that mountain of tissues you’re using, wadding up, and tossing in the trash.–Angie Zoobkoff

Cold Elixir

  • Quick Glance
  • 5 M
  • 5 M
  • Makes 4
Print RecipeBuy the Small Victories cookbook

Want it? Click it.


  • 3 cups boiling water
  • One (3-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and crushed
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey, preferably raw
  • Two (3-inch) cinnamon sticks, each broken in half
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of kosher salt


  • 1. In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil.
  • 2. Meanwhile, place the ginger, vinegar, honey, cinnamon sticks, cayenne, and salt in an uncracked jar or bowl.
  • 3. Pour in the boiling water and stir until the honey dissolves. Strain and drink immediately.

Elixirs for Health Variations

  • The above recipe is fantastic for treating common cough and cold symptoms. If you’d like to tailor the elixir to help with other symptoms, try one of the variations below…
  • To settle an upset stomach, double the ginger and leave out the vinegar and cayenne.
  • For a vitamin C boost, 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 and omit the cayenne.

#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Back to Cold and Flu Elixir on Leite's Culinaria