The “Cough Syrup” Our Grandmothers Used To Give Us Is Making A Comeback Because It Works

When cold and flu season hits, most people are looking for a remedy to cure the illness or at least relieve some of the more annoying symptoms. For anyone who has suffered a nagging cough that lingers beyond the cold, they know how truly frustrating it can be, as no cough syrup ever seems to completely control a cough.

There is an old cough syrup that’s making a comeback and with good reason — it works. It’s super easy, but be aware, this one isn’t for the kids, it’s definitely an “adult” remedy.

It’s called Bourbon Cough Syrup and, as you’d expect, it has a healthy dose of alcohol that’s been known to soothe coughs. Combine that with other tried and true cough calmers, honey and lemon, and you’ve got a sure fire way to quell a throat tickle.

This is especially helpful if you are finding it difficult to sleep because a constant cough is keeping you up at night. If you don’t enjoy bourbon, it can be skipped and instead you can sip on hot water with honey and lemon, but the alcohol certainly helps with soothing things.


The recipe comes from and includes the following ingredients:
2 oz Bourbon
2 oz lemon juice (about half a lemon)
2-4 oz water (optional)
1 tbsp honey

Combine the first three ingredients in a glass and heat in the microwave for 45 seconds. Next, add the honey, stirring well, and return to the microwave for another 45 seconds.

Sip the homemade remedy before bed and hopefully, it will bring some relief.

Many commenters on social media shared that they are familiar with a similar magical combination, as one person noted: “My mom gave us a little whiskey and then we drank hot lemonade! Then she greased us up with Vick’s Vaporub and off to bed! If we still had a cough then we had Vick’s Formula 44 cough syrup!”

Another commenter joked: “Yum! Just did this the other night. If one doesn’t make you feel better, try three. By that time you won’t care.”

Still another commenter remarked: “they say this is an ‘adult remedy’… guess ‘adult’ meant ‘elementary school’ 40 years ago.”

Another person shared that this was definitely a go-to cold remedy from their youth, noting: “My Dad made this every winter and when you were getting a cold/sore throat (or had one) this is what they used (not much, a teaspoon or two, based on how old you were). Worked almost always.”

Others offered their own spin on the concoction, with one commenter including another ingredient you can add if you’re feeling stuffy: “Add 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Amazing for congestion.”

One person even remarked how a doctor recommended the bourbon cough syrup! They explained: “I used to get bronchitis really bad as a child (still do as an adult) with 105 fevers. My doctor used to make my mom give me hot toddies to help sweat it out.”

Have you tried this DIY cough syrup before? If not, do you have another trusted remedy when a cough keeps you up at night?