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The juice that cures the cough

My colds generally take a very standard progression: A runny nose leads to a sore throat and then to a cough that could take two to three weeks to completely disappear. Sometime in the early part of this century, I started throwing sinus infections into the mix, like the bad maraschino cherry in the Shirley Temple of my illnesses.

But this week? This week it’s been all about The Cough. It came out of nowhere late last week, and I ignored it as best I could, struggling through 90 percent of a friend’s visit to the area and a trip to Tahoe and back, determined to beat whatever I had before it beat me. On Tuesday, I succumbed, left the office early, and spent from then until Thursday morning alternating between the couch and my bed.

In a Thursday morning email (ostensibly about an unrelated topic) to my parents, I informed them of my convalescence. My Dad’s response included a tale of a former coworker of his, who recommended “the juice from a bottle of Jack” for such maladies. (I should note, for the record, that Dad, himself, did not offer that as recommendation, but simply, information.)

And thusly and therefore, Thursday night, after a particularly annoying coughing fit as I was trying to watch the season premiere of Lost on my laptop, I decided it was time to mix up a cocktail. A medicinal cocktail. One which, as it turns out, indeed halted my coughing spell.

The keys to this? Honey syrup made from raw honey, not the Safeway house brand that comes in a plastic bear. Get the good stuff, because that’s what has all the antibiotic and soothing properties. The same goes for fresh lemon juice. Your cold deserves only the freshest dose of Vitamin C.

Second, this is not a cocktail to be served colder than room temperature, or it might shock the body into further illness. Keep the ice away.

Third, and finally, if you drink one every four hours, it’s medicine. As with Dimetapp, when taken as prescribed, it’s a tasty treat that makes you feel better. But overdose, and you’re just partying, and if you feel well enough to party, you probably feel well enough to go back to work. I’m just sayin’.

Medicinal whiskey sour
(Serves 1)

1.5 oz. honey syrup*
1.5 oz. bourbon
The juice of one lemon

  1. Add all ingredients to a highball glass and stir to combine.
  2. Enjoy, slowly, preferably while watching bad television in your pajamas.

* To make honey syrup, take equal parts raw honey and water and simmer over medium heat until the honey has dissolved. Remove from heat, cool, and store in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.

13 Comments on “The juice that cures the cough”

  1. #1 Medicinal whiskey sour « Blog Archive « 365 in 2009
    on Jan 24th, 2009 at 2:04 am

    [...] The result: a medicinal whiskey sour that requires nary a spoonful of sugar to go down. The recipe appears on The Inadvertent Gardener. ‹ [...]

  2. #2
    on Jan 24th, 2009 at 2:14 am

    “…the bad maraschino cherry in the Shirley Temple of my illnesses.”

    TFF!!! *cough* *hack* Hmmm..I’m feeling a little under the weather myself. Thanks for the remedy. ;)

  3. #3 Ree
    on Jan 24th, 2009 at 7:01 am

    I never thought someone would make me want to get a cough. ;-)

  4. #4
    on Jan 24th, 2009 at 10:12 am

    Sorry to hear you’re feeling under the weather!
    But, it looks like you’ve found the perfect remedy. Nothing like a bit of bourbon & honey to put a cough to sleep!

  5. #5
    on Jan 24th, 2009 at 10:56 am

    I prescribe multiples of those until you get better — or fall into a catatonic state! Hope that cold takes a hike.

  6. #6 uranium
    on Jan 24th, 2009 at 11:26 am

    Hi Genie,

    A couple questions:

    (1) What effect did this elixir have on your cough?

    (2) I don’t think I’ve ever seen honey in my life in anything other than the Safeway plastic bears (or other plastic containers). Where does one get raw honey?



  7. #7 inadvertentgardener
    on Jan 24th, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    Sally, happy to provide you with it! :-)

    Ree, there’s not necessarily any reason why you have to WAIT to get a cough to try this. Consider it field research.

    Foodhappens, it’ll heal up, for sure. Just a matter of time…and bourbon. :-)

    Lydia, I like your prescription!

    Uranium, the cough calmed down after the drink, but that was probably more to do with the soothing properties of the honey than anything else. Still, cough syrup used to be not much more than alcohol, so that probably had something to do with it, too. As for the raw honey, great sources for that are your local farmer’s market — no matter where you live, I’m sure there’s someone raising bees and making really good raw honey — or a health food store/Whole Foods/Trader Joe’s/etc. Many big grocery stores are starting to carry higher quality and raw honey, too — just look around the plastic bear to see what else might be there, and read the labels closely.

  8. #8 Kimmen
    on Jan 24th, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    I’ll send my sister over here. She’s been fighting a cough which was just diagnosed as whooping cough- apparently it is reaching near epidemic stage in some areas of the country this year.


  9. #9 inadvertentgardener
    on Jan 25th, 2009 at 10:44 am

    Kimmen, I heard that from a friend who works for a public health department out here, too. Yikes. I hope your sister feels better soon!

  10. #10 rosie
    on Jan 26th, 2009 at 7:42 am

    Hi Eugenia! Catching up on your blog. Sorry you’ve been so sick. Doesn’t seem fair when you’re in the warm(ish) weather you’ve so longed for. Will definitely file and share the medicinal whiskey sour recipe–there are several congested friends who might be appreciative at the moment. Will also look forward to trying the Lemon Kale Risotto recipe, perfect for this time of year.

  11. #11 inadvertentgardener
    on Jan 26th, 2009 at 9:38 am

    Rosie, it’s way better to be sick in warm weather than in chilly…so I’m grateful nonetheless! Enjoy those recipes! :-)

  12. #12
    on Jan 26th, 2009 at 10:06 am

    hey there Ill Heen,
    awesom recipe. and i like your use of as Shirely Temple metaphor – nice :) might i also add that if you lose your voice entirely, an almost instant cure is hot sake. it’s a miracle-worker.

    the luvs,
    el gee

  13. #13 inadvertentgardener
    on Jan 27th, 2009 at 7:48 am

    El Gee, hot sake, huh? Good to know…so far I haven’t gotten to the point of needing to employ that, but I’m putting that in the mental folder!

    :-) Heen

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