We're sick. Well.....not full-blown sick, but we have a case of the sniffles and the coughs. And we're not feeling very good. We're a little bit ziekjes. And our throat also hurts a tiny little bit, too. So tonight we're going to bed early and see if we can sweat it out. Usually, we have a cup of anijsmelk as our night cap, but not tonight. Tonight, we're having a mug of kwast. Oma's orders!

The Dutch have a small variety of hot beverages that all seem to serve a purpose: anijsmelk (sweet hot milk flavored with anise) to lull us to sleep, zopie (warm Bock beer with cinnamon, sugar and eggs) to warm us up after hours of skating on the ice, and kwast to knock out the evil spirits of upcoming or lingering colds. Kwast especially is one of those beverages that has become a much-relied-on home remedy, a grandma staple, for when you're suffering from a cold. Whether it *really* helps or not is disputed - but the extra vitamin C and the increased body temperature that comes from drinking something hot while covered with blankets may have very well something to do with it.

Kwast is a hot beverage made with freshly squeezed lemon juice, hot water, sweet and comforting honey and, for those that desire a bit more fortitude, a splash of alcohol. It's especially popular during this time of year when a good night's sleep, an extra dose of vitamin C and a way to sweat out those first signs of a cold are needed!

So without further ado, we're heading to bed, mug in hand. And while we sip our hot, lemony kwast carefully, we tuck ourselves in under het dekbed, the duvet, looking forward to a good night's sleep. Tomorrow is another day!

Sleep well and beterschap!

Small lemon, half
8 oz water or lemon-flavored lemonade (240 ml)
1 heaping teaspoon honey
Optional: splash of whisky, rum or brandy

Juice the lemon half and add the juice to a mug or heat-resistant glass. Bring the water or lemonade to a simmer, pour it over the lemon juice. Stir in the honey. Let it cool a little bit and taste. If you'd like it sweeter, add a bit more honey. Stir in the splash of whisky, rum or brandy, if desired.

Sip slowly while covered with blankets, and feel better in the morning!


  1. Oh Nicole, ik hoop dat je je snel beter voelt. Colds are such a drag! Ik herinner me kwast als kind. Brrr, maar ik voelde me er wel beter van.

  2. My mother made this for me, her Dutch grandfather made it for her. It's pretty cool to see it on here.

  3. I always made this every winter to ward off colds, but without the alcohol, never knew it was a Dutch thing till now and will add a splash of something in it next time I make it. TY for the idea.

  4. My mom used to add a cinnamon stick when she made this, I'm not sick, but I might have one anyway! 😁


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