Ease your cold and flu symptoms - with dessert?

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Influenza Sorbet: Cold Remedy Comes in Dessert Form
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Influenza Sorbet: Cold Remedy Comes in Dessert Form

It has been a record flu season so far, and people are doing whatever they can to avoid coming down with the ailment. But what can you do if you already have it?

Enter Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams. The Ohio-based company's Influenza Sorbet won't cure the flu, but it will definitely make you feel better, said Jeni Britton Bauer, the company's founder and president.

The Influenza Sorbet contains honey, ginger, orange juice and lemon juice. And if that weren't enough, it also has Maker's Mark bourbon and cayenne pepper.

The result is a soothing sorbet with kick. It might not be what the doctor ordered, but Bauer said it works.

"My mother and grandmother made something very similar to that as a drink when I was a kid, even with the whiskey," Bauer said Sunday. "Whiskey, honey and lemon juice and that was our cough medicine and they would thin it out and make it into a hot drink."

Her company makes ice cream, but she got the idea to add the sorbet to her product line in 2004.

"When the flu hit in 2004, it was like supposed to be the worst flu since 1918 and it was like all over the news people were dying from it. It was horrible and I thought, 'Gosh I could do this sorbet,'" she recalled.

The sorbet also contains pectin, which coats the throat. The honey lubricates the throat and the cayenne pepper helps clear the nasal passages, she added.

The result is a product that soothes irritated throats and relieves scratchiness, helping suffers get needed sleep, she said.

With the severity of this flu season, interest in the Influenza Sorbet is soaring, Bauer said.

But the sorbet is more than just a home remedy. It tastes good, she said.

"It is really delicious," she said. "The cayenne doesn't have flavor, it just has the kick, the physical property of the heat, and then all of the other ingredients are just so perfect together. You can just imagine it as a cocktail. A whiskey sour plus ginger.

"All those things go together so well and it really tastes great," she said, adding that she had customers who buy it when it's available and store it in their freezers so they can have it during the summer.

But don't just take Bauer's word for it. One food blog waxed poetic about the Influenza Sorbet.

In a 2009 post on thekitchn.com, a review said the sorbet was so good it was "almost worth getting the flu for."

Jeni's Influenza Sorbet will be available through February and into March. It retails for $12 per pint and is sold at all Jeni's stores in Columbus, Cleveland and Nashville, as well as on the company's website.

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