All Natural NyQuil

As much as you’ll hear us brag that we never fall ill (largely due to copious amounts of garlic, onions and vitamin C) we do — once in a blue moon — get sick. And yes, we have chased the green dragon. NyQuil, DayQuil, other sorts of new fangled drugstore opiates in their generic versions. We will fess up. The stuff works!
But not this year. When one of us woke up last week with a throat tickle that blossomed into a gnarly case of the flu, we took it on with fresh produce, organic sweeteners and thimbles of liquor.
In place of Acetaminophen (pain and fever reliever), Dextromethorphan HBr (cough suppressant), and Doxylamine succinate (sleep aid) we used green chile, ginger, citric acid and booze — all herbal, if subtler, forms of the chemical stuff. A couple shots, errr, doses, of the stuff is perfect for sitting on the couch in a sweatshirt and sweating out your germs. Take that Big Pharma!

Natural “KniQuil”
(One day’s dose)

2 cups fresh mint leaves
1 cup water
1 cup agave nectar (sugar, honey work)
1 small ginger bulb
1 lemon
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs. roasted green chile
2 shots Pastis
2 shots Southern Comfort
1. Start off making a mint simple syrup. Pluck 35-40 mint leaves off their stems, this should yield about 2 cups of mint. Roughly chop half the mint (set half aside for later use) and add to a saucepot with 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil and let simmer for about 5-8 minutes. Remove from heat and strain the leaves out. Put just the mint tea back on a medium heat and wait until back to a full boil. Add agave nectar, mixing, and let cook 1 minute before removing. Set aside to cool.
2. Ready your other veggies for the blender. First peel the ginger and slice into matchsticks. Next, zest your lemon, place the zest into a small dish and cover with 1 tsp. of good quality olive oil.
3. Toss the ginger, green chile and remaining cup of fresh mint to the blender. Add lemon juice. Finally add half the mint syrup, setting the rest aside for garnish. Pulse thoroughly for up to a minute. (Note: If you do not have the luxury of having authentic green chile, try subbing in a roasted jalapeño. Remove the seeds and use half in place of green chile.)
4. Strain the mixture into a bowl. Use a spoon to slush it around, allowing it to pass through the sieve or fine mesh strainer. Now you have the fresh juice part of your elixer! Taste it with a spoon, if it seems too tart or spicy, add more mint syrup one teaspoon at a time.
5. Mix. The basic proportion is one-part juice to one-part pastis to one-part whiskey. For a single dose: measure out a tablespoon of each into a cocktail shaker. Add a teaspoon of lemon zest oil. Complete with 3 ice cubes and shake fervently. Pour into a shot glass or desert wine snifter.

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43 Responses to All Natural NyQuil

  1. evan says:

    you guys are evil, evil geniuses

  2. Best entry I have ever seen! Hilarious and amazing!

  3. Heidi says:

    I love you for this. Perfect timing.

  4. I might just start drinking this every day, for preventative purposes!

  5. Elyse says:

    Holy cow, thank you thank you thank you.

  6. Anonymous says:

    So… you could drink 2 Tbs of DayQuil in about 5 seconds… or spend like 4-5 times more money on the materials for this, and then spend a half hour making it… why exactly?

  7. alex says:

    No Fun Anon!
    This isn’t supposed to be a 1:1 kind of deal, just like Seitan isnt exactly like steak.
    Anyway, thanks for the note and thanks for visiting. Maybe the next time you’ve got a sick day you might humor us (and yourself) and try this jam out. I bet if you slam down a couple shots of this with your DayQuil your inferm trip would rule!

  8. EVAN says:

    We’ve heard this outcry before: why on earth spend time grilling a tomato garnish for a hangover cure if you feel like shit ( but we’re not convinced. We believe in the health benefits of meaningful work. Also we’re not sure sitting on your ass or driving to CVS really makes you feel any better.

  9. katie says:

    had the sore throat feeling start today and i had just about everything needed so i gave it a shot. just drank it and wow! i have to say it packs a punch!
    i didn’t have any green chili’s, but i had an opened can of chipotle’s just sitting in my fridge, so i used two of those. i actually really liked the flavor of the ‘fresh juice’ part and thought it might make a fantastic marinade! lol… i was a bit disappointed that this flavor was completely overtaken by the anise/whiskey flavor but it tasted just like a cough medicine and hopefully will ward off the evil cold coming on.
    thanks for the post guys! :)

  10. Keith says:

    Katie, do let us know if it works for you – I’ve come down with the same, and someone linked me to this page.

  11. haapi says:

    Wicked. Would liquid cayenne pepper extract stand in for the roasted chiles?

  12. Di says:

    I almost wish I hadn’t gotten the H1N1 vaccine so that I could look forward to a hacking cough and an excuse to brew up this brilliant-looking potion!

  13. sandy says:

    hey! this sounds pretty effective :> i dont have Pastis, can i use Absinthe in its place?

  14. EVAN says:

    Yes and yes. Absinthe would be magical. You could use cayenne if you don’t have green chile, or a jalapeno or a sereno (but not as much obviously, maybe 1/2 tsp.) We steered clear cuz cayenne, lemon and sweetener might hasten flashbacks to a boring master cleanse week.

  15. Molly says:

    One question – can I use it on my kids?

  16. Nina says:

    LOVE IT! I hope there’s more where this came from!

  17. Runtmc says:

    Help, I can’t see.

  18. Fiona says:

    How does this keep? I’d like to make it in advance before I get the flu :)

  19. EVAN says:

    Fiona, blend and strain a couple doses of this stuff without the booze – just the mint syrup, lemon, ginger and chile. It kept fine for 5 days in our fridge. Pour a shot or two as needed.

  20. Chris says:

    When not available fresh, Green Chile can be found frequently in the frozen food section. Anaheim chile is a 1st cousin of New Mexico green chile and slightly milder in capsaisan.
    The Santa Fe Barman

  21. Claire says:

    you’re the coolest

  22. Kat says:

    If you’re the one who’s sick, there’s no way you’re going to leave the house to get the ingredients and then take the time to make this. However, if you were to make this for a sick friend, I bet they’d appreciate it!

  23. Victoria says:

    As someone mentioned, I don’t think that if I were sick enough to need this, I would spend the time (and energy!) making it. However, I’m sure that sometime this winter, my husband will be on the receiving end of this particular kitchen experiment.
    This is a quick remedy for a cough, especially that nagging one you get at night just after your cold has started to go away:
    * 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    * 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
    * 1 Tablespoon honey
    * 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
    * 2 Tablespoons water
    Mix and take 3 teaspoons at a time

  24. nancy ladner says:

    sounds delightful. Feeling too bad to go get ingredients so will resort to the good ‘ole southern “Hot Toddy” tonight. There are variations, but I make one or two cups of tea, add lemon,ginger, honey, and lots of whisky. Tonight I think I’ll add anything else I have from your recipe. Thanks.

  25. dalas v says:

    Might also consider subbing Chartreuse for the Pastis. Chartreuse on its own is a good pal during a cold.

  26. Noah Wilson says:

    I have my own version – more of a condiment than an elixir, but god almighty, does it work! Like antibiotics, but delicious. (keeps the vampires away, too…)
    Combine, in a mortar and pestle (my style), or a food processor:
    *equal parts fresh ginger and fresh, potent garlic (adjust to taste) – (1 inch of ginger = 3-4 medium garlic cloves)
    *fresh red chile to taste (ripe is important – it adds the fruitiness that really makes this dish sing) – Habaneros work too, if you can handle the heat – just seed them out. I generally use about 1 whole fresh red cayenne chili, seeds and all, per inch of ginger root. But I like it hot ;)
    *1/2 tsp honey – local wildflower honey is better, as it has antiallergenic and immune boosting properties; honey is important, as it helps cushion all the harsh heat and aid absorption of the good stuff.
    *1/2 tsp neutral oil (safflower is fave)
    *1 tsp good sea salt (more/less to taste – coarse sea salt is recommended if you’re using a mortar and pestle, as it helps with the grinding)
    *1/4 tsp sherry or cider vinegar, or 1/2 tsp lemon juice
    And that’s it! It’s a great thing, and like all homebrew concoctions, is really something you play with until you get it where you like it. just remember to keep everything fresh, the chiles ripe, and have fun.
    Add toasted sesame oil and scallions for classic Chinese chicken accompaniment; cilantro and toasted cumin for a tasty Mexican inspired topping; sub in coconut oil and throw it onto a bowl of dhaal or channa for some tasty Indian treats, etc… have fun! It makes a great side/topper for roasted winter squash, hot from the oven…
    p.s. – don’t eat in crowded spaces. and if you’re taking it on the plane… keep it in a sealed container, and be careful/sneaky, cuz TSA might consider it a dangerous “gel”. I put it on a kimchi style salad when I had to fly recently: julienned napa cabbage, carrots, and daikon, with extra oil and salt – it was delicious, and security friendly! It also got better as it sat, up to a point…

  27. Noah Wilson says:

    Forgot to say above: the recipe is for 1″ of ginger. Scale it to fit with the rest of the stuff. And it micht have been a little heavy on the salt, and a little low on oil; I’m generally splashing the stuff in and going, “nah, not quite” or, “spot on!”
    As with anything salt, I always go a little at a time, and season each step lightly. that’s just good kitchen practice.
    play, practice, and enjoy! It works best at onset of illness, at the “uh-oh” stage.

  28. Shannon says:

    I guess this is cool, but when you’re sick you don’t want to have to go to the store (the same one you can buy nyquil at) to buy ginger bulbs and such, only to have to cook it, let it cool and drink it. Definitely a pre-illness concoction.

  29. christine says:

    i made this last night for myself (not so sick) and my boyfriend (pretty sick). we used a poblano pepper and a lovely absinthe. let me just say that it was a magical, delicious elixir of the gods. it made me feel funny. in an entirely delightful way. thanks!

  30. christine says:

    oh, and it was completely worth all the effort. times ten.

  31. Reshma says:

    Great recipe

  32. golddiga says:

    very nice article. I also appreciate ginger and chili recipes for curing cold deseases – nothing is better. There is also a good anti-biotic recipe in China.
    1 small piece of garlic
    thats all – eat it as a dip – and keep away from your girlfriend

  33. That cocktail is pretty awesome!

  34. Elora says:

    This is basically just a slightly altered version of a Hot Toddy — which works wonders. Three cheers for the publicity!

  35. (jah) wobbly says:

    People are saying when you are ill you don’t want to goto the store to buy these ingredients – but they are staple kitchen items anyway!

  36. Absinthe would be magical. You could use cayenne if you don’t have green chile, or a jalapeno or a sereno (but not as much obviously, maybe 1/2 tsp.) We steered clear cuz cayenne, lemon and sweetener might hasten flashbacks to a boring master cleanse week.

  37. k says:

    I don’t think ‘opiate’ means what you think it means.

  38. Gwen says:

    I bet you could make a big ole batch of the syrup base (sans alcohol) and freeze in an ice cube tray. When you get sick: toss in the blender with alcohol.
    We ♥ garlic as a powerful and natural antibiotic…super simple to use:

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