Home remedies for colds, particularly those that hearken back several generations, often contain whiskey as a primary ingredient. The alcoholic beverage soothes sore throats, quiets coughs, clears stuffy noses and encourages sleep. Though these whiskey-based cold remedies can be helpful for adults, they are not recommended for children or teens.
A hot toddy is soothing for those who are feeling achy and congested, and its warmth and alcohol content will quickly put you to sleep. To make a whiskey-based hot toddy, measure 1/4 cup of whiskey, 1/4 cup of honey and 1/4 cup of fresh-squeezed lemon juice into a mug. Microwave the mixture until it's hot, then sip it until it's gone. If the hot toddy tastes too strong, add 1/4 cup of boiling water to the mix. The type of whiskey you should use depends on your symptoms. Use bourbon if you're just treating congestion or a sore throat. If you have a persistent cough, use Irish whiskey.
Whiskey cough syrup is an old-fashioned cold remedy that contains no drugs or chemicals. The sticky sweet syrup takes a bit of time to make and can be stored in a cool, dry spot for up to a month. Combine 1 cup of rock candy, 1 lb. of raisins, 1/2 cup of white sugar or honey and the juice of 3 lemons in a half-gallon canning jar. Top off the mixture with whiskey, stopping about 2 inches from the top of the jar. Screw the top tightly on the container, shake it to combine the mixture and let it sit in a cool, dark place for one to two weeks. Strain the cough syrup with a fine mesh sieve and store it in an airtight jar. Take 1 tbsp. as needed for coughs and chest congestion.
Sore Throat Remedy
This simple sore throat remedy harnesses the power of fresh citrus and whiskey to numb the burning sensation that often accompanies a cold. Slice a lemon in half and remove all the seeds. Measure out about 1 oz. of whiskey and pour it slowly over the flesh of the lemon halves, allowing it to absorb. When the fruit will not absorb any more liquid, suck on the halves until you've consumed all of the juice and whiskey.
- "1,801 Home Remedies"; Editors of Reader's Digest; 2004
- "The People's Pharmacy Guide to Home and Herbal Remedies"; Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon; 2001