Honey Cough Medicine

Between honey and whiskey, I definitely have more honey readily available.  A recent gift of a large Missouri whiskey bottle made me think of this old cough medicine and whiskey sour drink recipes.

I had my first ever whiskey sour drink as a prescribed remedy.  I had been working in Southampton, England many years ago. We were dead tired and soaking wet from a late rainstorm that drenched us before we headed back to our hotel.

By the time I made it to the bar, there was a whiskey sour waiting for me, prescribed by our resident doctor, who said it would help with my cough, sore throat, and laryngitis.  At first I stuck to my cup of hot tea.  Eventually I was enticed to try it and then down it quickly in the interests of a fast recovery. The things we have to do in the interests of research.  My, that whiskey sour tasted good!

The combination of lemon with honey—that’s what they said they used at the bar—was very similar to this old cough syrup recipe with honey:


Old Beekeeper Cough Syrup Recipe

1 teaspoon whiskey

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Take 1 teaspoon (of combined ingredients) very hour as needed for cough.


Whiskey Sour Recipe


“Combine bourbon, lemon juice, and simple sugar syrup in a cocktail shaker.  Fill shaker with ice, cover, and shake vigorously until outside of shaker is very cold, about 20 seconds. Strain cocktail through a Hawthorne strainer or a slotted spoon into an old-fashioned or rocks glass filled with ice.”

This is an old prescription for a honey whiskey cough medicine. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

I was told by a beekeeper I met several years ago that this is also a favorite old beekeeping recipe. He said he takes it as a “preventative.”  You know, just in case he might get a cough.


Charlotte Ekker Wiggins is a gardener, beekeeper, and sometimes cook.  For more, visit homesweetbees.com.  Published by Kaleidoscope Weekly with permission. Copyright 2018, all rights reserved. This column may not be copied, published, reprinted, rewritten, or redistributed. Contact Charlotte at gardeningcharlotte@gmail.com.

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