Tag Archives: shrubs

A Tonic for What Ails You


I often think about what raising kids was like before you could hop online and instantly connect with moms everywhere. Was it lonelier? Harder? Or was it better? I’ve heard my mom and aunts talk about raising their kids along with all the other women on their block. When they reached out for companionship or advice, they picked up the phone or knocked on a door.

Which isn’t to say that it wasn’t isolating at times. There are days when every mother feels trapped by the constant needs of their little ones. And it’s true that the Internet is a nice little peephole out into the world. But it’s also true that the Internet is just one more thing to do, one more thing demanding my time and attention.

Your computer isn’t like your TV. You can’t just turn it off and stop thinking about it. It’s always there, pulling on your skirt, wanting more from you. I’m grateful for this public space I have that forces me to write and allows me to share, but not updating a blog constantly is just one more thing that gnaws away at me late at night when I can’t sleep. Why don’t I post every week? Why, despite my best intentions, is my Instagram account updated like a slow drip from a faucet? Why don’t I have any desire at all to tweet or be tweeted to? I should really read that one article someone posted…I should email her back…I should be more interesting….

I’m suffering from a case of Internet Fatigue. There’s just too much, of everything. And there’s a lot of the same thing, over and over again. But everyone just seems so into it and so adept at navigating it and so damn gung-ho about participating.

Maybe I don’t need to abolish the Internet entirely. Maybe I just need a good night’s sleep?

I’m on the tail-end of a cold that the baby and I have been sharing. Miraculously, it was not brought home by my preschooler, who’s immune system seems to be getting stronger as mine gets weaker. In addition to not catching this cold, she also didn’t catch the stomach flu going around last month, but I did. How does that happen?

This past winter, I started making batches of thirst-quenching, immunity boosting beverages to drink in the afternoon instead of coffee, which I really only like to drink in the morning. And I think they helped me avoid one or two bugs that went around. If nothing else, they tasted good. So I’ve started making the elixirs again, and all of them are refreshing enough for any season, not just winter.

My main go-to is Bon Appetit’s Classic Tonic with many variations. I skip the Swedish Bitters and added elderberry syrup instead. Sometimes I used fresh herbs, sometimes not. And I don’t add ginseng. My typical blend (with no measurements) is lemon or lime juice, a little bit of orange juice, unsweetened cranberry juice, elderberry syrup, echinacea and chilled chamomile tea. I keep a jar of this blend in the fridge, then mix a little with sparkling water before I drink it.


Berry Shrub

You’ve probably heard about shrubs (the drink, not the plant) making a comeback. A shrub is basically flavored vinegar that’s topped off with sparkling water. I make them with fresh berries and apple cider vinegar (for the purported health benefits) and less sugar than usual. Here’s a basic shrub recipe to get you started.

This Lemon-Ginger Brew is also great.

Now get off the Internet and get outside. Summer is calling.








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