When I lived in a co-op house in college, one of my housemates was known for making this nasty brew and leaving it in the fridge when battling a cold. I believe it contained honey, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, and cayenne pepper. Now, despite his penchant for tie-dye, "stank noises," and occasional drug use, this housemate was one of the healthiest people I've ever known. I adopted the use of this brew (as has even my mom), but until now I hadn't thought much about why it might be a good idea. As it turns out, the brew has "real science" behind it: lemon, garlic, ginger, and cayenne are some of the most anti-inflammatory foods out there, and honey has its own antibacterial health benefits. I'm sure you could use agave instead, but then it would be just for the taste.
Oh, you still want to know what it tastes like? Like really good lemonade that got garlic in it. It's sort of pleasant if you pretend you're drinking it and eating something garlicky at the same time... I suppose you could omit either the garlic or the honey and have a straightup sweet or savory drink, but when you want to get better, you pull out all the stops. Even the garlicky ones.
ginger, grated or minced
filtered water, boiling
InstructionsIn a jar, mix together ginger, garlic, cayenne, and honey. Add hot water to fill partway and mix well (until honey dissolves). Add lemon juice and water as needed to fill, then cover. To serve, mix equal parts brew (strained--you can put the ginger and garlic chunks back in the jar) and water. I find hot water to be the most soothing, but you could also drink it at room temp or cold.