Thursday, November 18, 2021

How to Make Cough Syrup - Three Easy Recipes

 How to make cough syrup for a natural way to reduce the symptoms of cough and cold.  I have three natural cough syrup recipes that you can make at home to reduce coughing.  These recipes use the medicinal properties of whiskey, honey, and peppermint for natural relief.

Old Time Cough Syrup Recipe

There are few things more annoying than not being able to stop coughing.  Before that thing that went around, I had a cough that lasted over two months.  

I tried the over the counter cough medicines, and I even got a prescription to stop the coughing.  

Nothing helped.  So I turned to a homemade cough syrup with whiskey and peppermint.

Now, I’m not much of a whiskey drinker.  Give me a White Claw over a shot glass any day, but a home remedy cough syrup with whiskey works better for a cough for me than anything from the store.

I have three old time cough syrup recipes: a whiskey, honey, and lemon recipe, the traditional hot toddy, and a homemade cough syrup with whiskey and peppermint.

These recipes are easy to make, and they are shelf stable.  Label the jars and put them in a cupboard away from children.

These are a homemade cough syrup with alcohol, so they are for adults 21 and over.  Don’t give them to children.  Don’t drive or otherwise operate heavy machinery.

Always consult a doctor.  This is not medical advice.

I like to keep track of recipes like these in my printable natural home binder.  It has space for home remedies, food, skin care recipes, and more!

For more natural home recipes, check out these posts:

What is a Good Natural Cough Syrup?

There are several ingredients that you can use to learn how to make cough syrup.  Here are some common ingredients:

  • Honey has been used as a natural remedy for decades.  In a 2018 study, honey relieved coughing better than over the counter medications. 
  • Probiotics won’t give you immediate relief, but a study found that taking probiotics may reduce the number of upper respiratory infections that you get. 
  • Pineapples have an enzyme called bromelain that can reduce allergies and sinusitis to relieve coughing.  It may help reduce inflammation to reduce coughing. 
  • Peppermint may also help relieve cold symptoms.  You can inhale the vapors for the menthol or drink a peppermint tea.
  • Marshmallow root is soothing on irritated tissue in the throat and sinuses. 
  • Thyme can reduce the severity of coughing due to the flavonoids that relax muscles in the throat and reduce inflammation. 
  • A salt water gargle can soothe a sore throat from coughing.  It can also help break up mucus.
  • Ginger can break up phlegm to reduce coughing. 
  • Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory that can reduce inflammation in the whole body, including the lungs. 

Will Whiskey Help a Cough?

I couldn’t find any research about making a home remedy cough syrup with whiskey.  However, there are a lot of anecdotal stories about it helping.

Personally, it helps me a lot.  Sometimes it’s the only thing that helps me.

Your blood vessels dilate when you drink alcohol, which acts like a natural decongestant to clear mucus.

If you drink your natural cough syrup recipe hot, the steam from the cup also helps act like a decongestant.   

Whiskey also helps relax you, and it can slow down your heart rate and respiration rate.  It’s not a lot, but it can help reduce coughing.

When you’ve been coughing for hours, you get stressed.  Alcohol can help reduce stress temporarily so you can relax.

How Much Whiskey Should I Drink for a Cough?

You don’t need to slam back shots to get relief.  One to two ounces of whiskey is usually enough for relief.

Which Alcohol is Best for a Cough?

When making a homemade cough syrup with alcohol, you can choose which alcohol to use.  I don’t keep a lot of spirits in the cabinet, so I use what we have.

You can substitute rum or bourbon for the whiskey.

More Natural Cough Remedies

There are several teas that can help reduce coughing and congestion.  Here are some to try:

Here are some other home remedies that can help reduce cold symptoms and coughing:

Easily make your own herbal remedies with my DIY infusion kits.  They have the dried ingredients that you need, so you just need to add water or apple cider vinegar and honey.

How to Make Cough Syrup

I have two homemade cough syrup recipes and then a hot toddy recipe that you can use the syrups in.

Homemade Cough Syrup With Whiskey and Peppermint

I like this homemade cough syrup recipe because it has peppermint for more flavor.  I used peppermint candies for flavor.  They aren’t really healthy, but they are easy to store and easy to use. 

Ingredients and Supplies:


  1. Put 3 or 4 peppermint candies and lemon slices in the jar.
  2. Add half of the raw honey.
  3. Place another 3 to 4 peppermint pieces on top of the honey.
  4. Add the rest of the honey.
  5. Add whiskey to fill the jar.  
  6. Place the lid on the jar and shake gently.  Let sit for 8 hours.  Shake it every few hours to help it mix.
  7. After 48 hours, remove the lemon slices.

To use, take 1 tablespoon every 4 hours.  You can also add 1 tablespoon to a cup of hot tea.  This is shelf stable for several months.

Home Remedy Cough Syrup With Whiskey, Honey, Lemon

If you’re not a fan of peppermint, try this easy recipe. 


  • ½ cup whiskey
  • ¼ cup raw honey
  • 1 lemon cut into slices
  • 8 ounce canning jar


  1. Place the cut lemon slices in a jar.
  2. Pour the whiskey over the lemon and add the raw honey.
  3. Place a lid on the jar and shake gently.
  4. Let sit for 8 hours, shaking every few hours.
  5. Remove the lemon slices after 48 hours.

Take 1 tablespoon every four hours.  You can also add 1 tablespoon to a cup of hot tea.

How to Make a Hot Toddy for Cough

The hot toddy is perhaps the most popular homemade cough syrup with alcohol.  You can use one of the above recipes in place of the whiskey.


  • 1 cup hot water or hot tea
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons of the homemade cough syrup recipes above or 1 ounce whiskey, 1 tablespoon raw honey, and 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


  1. Place the homemade cough syrup with alcohol or the whiskey, honey, and lemon juice in a mug.  
  2. Cover with hot water or hot tea.  Stir well.

Now you know how to make cough syrup!  Hope this helps you find relief!

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1 comment:

  1. Does this have to placed in the refrigerator after it sits overnight or can it be kept at room temperature?