As a child, my grandfather would make his “special cough syrup” each year to help us get over our illnesses faster. In an old Mason jar, the cough medicine would sit at the top of our refrigerator (which at the time seemed so tall). All I could see was the bright red cherry floating and bobbing around the jar and it was all I could do not to spoon that sweet cherry out and devour it.
Recently, as the flu epidemic  still continues to rage on, and health officials admitting the influenza vaccine is only 10% effective, it’s time we took matters into our own hands. For those of you suffering through this year’s influenza season, I have the answer you’ve been hoping for – you must eat ice cream. But not just any ice cream, an ice cream that will help strengthen your immune system, gently clears nasal passages, soothes your sore throat, increases inner warmth and comforts you all at the same time.
I was recently inspired by an ice cream flavor from Jeni’s ice cream shops , “Hot Toddy Sorbet” and added my own twist based on my grandfather’s special concoction. The next time you find yourself coming down with the flu, settle yourself into your favorite chair and indulge in the influenza sorbet – because you deserve it.
- 2 cups fresh orange juice (I used juice from clementines)
- 1 chamomile tea bag
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 cup honey
- 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
- One 3-ounce packet liquid fruit pectin or 5 tablespoons powdered pectin
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
- 2 to 4 tablespoons Jack Daniels Whiskey – optional
- 5 maraschino cherries, cut into halves – optional
1. Combine orange and lemon juices, sugar, honey, ginger and chamomile tea bag in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and remove the tea bag. Tip: For a child-friendly version of this treat, omit the whiskey.
2. Add the pectin, cayenne, and bourbon, if using. Add halved cherries. Pour into a bowl, let cool, and then cover and refrigerate until cold.
3. Freeze in an ice cream machine until it is the consistency of very soft whipped cream. Then pack into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment paper directly against the surface (this is Jeni’s very good suggestion to keep your sorbet from forming ice crystals!), and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze until firm, at least 4 hours. Tip: If you do not have an ice cream maker, simply transfer to a freezer-safe container, and place it in the freezer. Periodically, stir up the mixture to maintain a creamy, soft texture. The sorbet may take several hours to reach the desired consistency.