Caitlin Kelly’s Recipe for Success

Caitlin Kelly HSAudible Approved Producer Caitlin Kelly recently appeared in an episode of ACX University and talked about the importance of vocal health. Her secret? A special tea that soothes her vocal chords. We invited Caitlin to share it with you today.

I have one “go-to” for when my voice is fatigued. It could be from a particularly rigorous recording session or from a night out with friends and a few cocktails. So, when I have vocal swelling from overuse or dehydration, I turn to a hot cup of apple cider vinegar and honey. This elixir was introduced to me in college by my vocal performance teacher, Alix Korey – a broadway diva who drinks coffee and smokes cigarettes all day – and it has been part of my vocal care regimen ever since. I think of it as hot bath and a warm hug for my throat. Here’s how I make it:
Caitlin Recipe

The heat will relax and soothe the muscles in your throat. Use 4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, or however much you can stand (this stuff is strong for the uninitiated). I use Bragg, which is unfiltered and raw. Shake up that bottle, and dump it in the hot water. The sediment is good for you – it’s called “the mother,” and it’s said to help in a number of ways: aiding digestion, balancing the pH of the body, and supporting the immune system. I swear by it to care for my voice. Honey is a humectant, which means it retains moisture. It will coat your throat and protect it while you rest your voice.

You might also try adding lemon juice. If you have mucus, the citric acid can help cut through it. A touch of cinnamon adds anti-inflammatory properties. Play around with the measurements. These are not hard and fast ratios or anything; just my own preference.

Now, I’m going to be honest with you: this stuff smells like feet. But it will make your vocal folds so happy, you will see the strong smell as a small discomfort compared to the restorative effects of the tonic!

What are some of your favorite tricks for resting and/or healing tired vocal folds?

Caitlin Kelly has been doing voice over since 2009. She got started in VO while living in Tokyo, Japan. Since diving into audiobook narration in 2014, Caitlin has recorded over 35 books. Caitlin can be heard daily reading the news on and weekly in the Time for Kids app. To hear more from Caitlin, check out her site

15 responses to “Caitlin Kelly’s Recipe for Success

  1. I’ll have to try that, Caitlin. I use Throat Coat tea, which uses slippery elm as the soother…and works just like it sounds! Also not much on flavor, but it works for me.

  2. Great tip! Thanks. T.

  3. I’ve been drinking the smelly feet tea since I first heard Caitlyn’s ACXU broadcast. Once one gets past the smell and the liquid gets to work, it’s relief indeed for vocal cords needing rejuvenation.

    Thanks for sharing Caitlyn and thanks to ACXU for another excellent season of learning.

  4. Thanks for this…I also sleep with a steam machine at night, and the humidity helps enormously.

  5. Since hearing of your recipe on ACX U-I tried the recipe and it’s fantastic! Like velvet on your throat. Thanks for sharing Caitlin.

  6. I do a lot of singing, which requirements the same vocal health as for narrating. Daily vitamin C helps my voice, but it has to be a food-based supplement derived from citrus pulp, rather than a synthetic one. Also, sipping my way through a large glass of warm water about an hour before a singing session to hydrate the vocal cords helps. I try to avoid acidic foods before singing, too, as they repeat on me and irritate my throat. Goat’s milk is better than cow’s milk, as it produces less mucus.

    As for actually soothing the voice once it’s exhausted, the answer is to resist talking or singing for a while, reading a book, watching television, or sleeping! A homemade sage gargle can help a throat that’s sore as well as tired, or a spoonful of Manuka honey. Cider vinegar doesn’t soothe my throat at all, but makes it worse, even if the vinegar is of the raw organic variety. Cinnamon is good, though. I have a pinch of it in my porridge every morning. It is very warming and helps keep flu and colds away.

  7. It’s vocal cords.

  8. Reblogged this on The Doctors Audio Adventures and commented:
    Although of course down under its different; Adam asked for ‘gritty’ and battle weary in Ep15/16 – so basically in australia we like you to lacerate your vocal cords first to achieve the required tone 🙂

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