Whiskey Honey Lemon Cough Syrup is an old fashion homemade cough syrup recipe and natural remedy to help calm coughs using only three pantry ingredients.
When the cold and flu season hits, it is never convenient. It is not something you plan for. As an adult, we have work and the kids to care for. No one has time to be sick or lose sleep.
There is nothing worse than coughing, hacking, can’t sleep and then at 0200 (2 am) find out that you are fresh out of cough syrup. Don’t fret! You might have everything you need right in your pantry to get feeling better straight away.
Not only is our Whiskey Honey Lemon Cough Syrup recipe effective for reducing cough, but it is also delicious. Please don’t judge! Back in the day, our parents used to give us a dose before we went to bed when we had a bad cold or cough. We slept like a rock and our coughs subsided. Heck, it tasted so good, it was almost worth getting sick just to get a dose. (smiling)
3 Ingredients needed to make Whiskey Honey Lemon Cough Syrup
- Whiskey or bourbon
- Lemon juice
History of Whiskey as a Medicinal Tonic
This Whiskey Honey Lemon Cough Syrup is a recipe that has been in our family for 100’s of years passed on from our great great grandparents. Back in the day, there were not fancy medicines to treat illnesses and the basic ones were not so easy to obtain. Local folks used what they had on hand to treat the symptoms. Heck, penicillin was not even invented into 1928. During the Prohibition, in the 1920’s, it was difficult to buy liquor, but it was sold as a tonic in drug stores as medicinal whiskey. It was said to cure everything from toothache to the flu.
Alcohol and Proof
Do you know that burning or warming sensation you experience down the back of your throat, esophagus and in your belly when you drink alcohol? You won’t necessarily notice this with beer or wine because it is so very low in alcohol content. Alcohol proof is a measure of how much alcohol (ethanol) is contained in an alcoholic beverage. For example, an 86-proof whiskey contains about 43% alcohol. Whereas, beer alcohol content is only usually between 3-12%. The more ethanol, the bigger the burn.
How does Whiskey help with a cold and cough?
So now you may be asking why that is a "good burn".
1) That burning warming feeling is happening because it is dilating your blood vessels. It will also dilate the blood vessels in your sinus region, and it may help your breath better during your cold.
2) In addition, whiskey was used as an antiseptic on the battlefields as medicine was hard to come by.
3) As you know, a little alcohol, in moderation can help you fall asleep faster. The word moderation is the key. If you drink in excess, you will be feeling even worse in the morning with a hangover. The goal is just to help you get some sleep so you can tackle your day.
Honey for Throat pain and Cough
Honey not only sweetens this little shot of deliciousness, but it also coats a scratchy throat, a natural antiseptic and help calms a cough. If you are looking for more natural ways to calm a cough, be sure to check out our recipe for Chinese Pear Dessert Soup. Delicious, cools your throat and helps with cough. .
As we are currently in unprecedented times, we used whatever kind of honey we could get our hands on. However, if you have organic raw honey go for it!
Lemon juice for a boost of Vitamin C
Fresh lemon juice is best for this recipe but in pinch you can use the kind of lemon juice in a squeeze bottle or even a little lemonade. After all, this is a pantry recipe and if it is 0200, use what you have on hand. Lemon juice provides a little extra dose of vitamin C and antioxidants and gives this little recipe the perfect balance between sweet and sour.
Standard dosage of Whiskey Honey Lemon Cough Syrup
These little shot glasses we have hold 3 teaspoons. Dosage is 1-2 tablespoon for adults every 4 – 6 hours or as needed. Equal amounts of Whiskey or bourbon, fresh lemon juice and honey. We like to just stir in up and drink it in a shot glass. However, if you are craving something a little warm you can add it in a cup of hot water or your favorite herbal tea and enjoy a steamy cup.
Kid Friendly Version of Homemade cough syrup
According to Evan Ashkin, MD and Anne Mounsey, MD, children under the age of 12 months, should not eat honey because Honey contains toxic bacteria that may cause infant botulism. This is a serious form of food poisoning. Older children and adults are immune to this bacterium.
However, for children older than 12 months of age if you mix a little honey, a little lemon juice (if no allergens) in a little warm water (please, skip the whiskey), this may help reduce their cough and sleep.
How to store your Homemade Cough Syrup
As a food photographer, we must pick the prime time for lighting reasons to get the best shot. Our window of time for best lighting is between 9 am and 10am. So, what is one to do with a delicious Whiskey Honey Lemon Cough Syrup shot at 0900? We could drink it, but this recipe stays fresh in the refrigerator with fresh lemon in a sealed container for up to 3 days.
Stay Well and Take Care
Some of the most basic things that mom told us are true to get us back to health.
- Sleep as much as you can. Naps are fabulous.
- Hydrate as it helps to thin your secretions and helps replace the insensible loss due to fever. Warm liquids like our Nourishing Slow Simmered Beef Bone Broth and our Tranquil Lemon Ginger Tea helps to thin your secretions.
- Use a humidifier as it helps to moisturize your nasal, throat, and lung passages, making it easier for air to pass through.
- Immune Boosting Chicken and Rice Soup and Golden Spiced Noodle Soup are warm and therapeutic cozy cold and flu fighting bowls of deliciousness.
- If your condition does not improve, you have a high fever or difficulty breathing get seen by a medical professional.
This recipe does have alcohol in it, and it is NOT recommended for children or those with liver disease. We have also included a kid friendly version of homemade cough syrup for children older than 12 months of age and have no other allergens in our recipe card below.
As always, before starting any new home therapy, you must discuss this homemade cough syrup idea with your primary care physician before initiating self-treatment. You need to make sure this is okay for your condition, any pre-conditions you may have and to make sure that it does not react with any medications that you are currently taking. (okay, the nurse is now stepping down from her soap box). We love you guys and we just want you to be safe!
Disclaimer: The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.
Whiskey Honey Lemon Cough Syrup
- 1 tbsp whiskey
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp lemon juice fresh or lemon concentrate
- 1 cup warm water or herbal tea optional
Adult Homemade Cough Syrup
- Mix whiskey, honey and lemon juice together and stir well.
- Dosage for adults is 1 -2 tablespoons every 4-6 hours or as needed for cough. We like to drink it straight up. However, if you desire, you can place ingredients in either a cup of warm water or herbal tea, mix and sip on it. If you like it sweeter, add a little more honey to the mix.
Children older than 12 months old Homemade Cough Syrup
- Mix 1 teaspoon of honey and 1 teaspoon lemon juice together. DO NOT ADD Whiskey. Mix together and can be taken straight up or mix in a little warm water. Do not give honey to children less than 12 months of age.