Whiskey Rose Cough Remedy

Whiskey Rose Cough Remedy
A few days ago, one of my nieces brought a beautiful rose back from her grandfather’s house and presented it to my brother. He made a joke to her about giving it to me so I could make something from it. I admit I MAY sometimes go a bit overboard on creating things from flowers and was deserving of the teasing! :) But, anyway, I did make him something from it!

Almost every winter it seems he gets some kind of cough that won’t go away, so I whipped him up a batch of Whiskey Rose Cough Remedy.

I based this recipe on one that I found in several places around the internet, but was most commonly attributed to Kiva Rose. It called for brandy, but I used whiskey instead. I also added a little bit of lemon for a color, flavor & nutrient boost.


jar of rose petals, lemon, whiskey

Whiskey Rose Cough Remedy:

  • fresh roses
  • honey
  • a lemon
  • whiskey (or brandy)

Fill a  pint jar with rose petals and slices of lemon peel, fill the jar about 1/3 full of honey (more or less to taste) until the petals are saturated, then top with whiskey. This is potent stuff! I like to put a little layer of plastic wrap between the mixture and the metal lid as a precaution. Shake well.

Store in a dark cabinet for about six weeks, shaking periodically, then strain. Dispense by the spoonful as needed for coughs and sore throats.

I mix this with generous amounts of honey to cut the burn, but individual dosing will vary depending on tolerance. You don’t have to be overly precise – I use a kitchen tablespoon to measure it out. Start with one spoonful of honey mixed with one spoonful of cough remedy. If needed, add another spoonful of either honey (to cut the burn more) or cough remedy (for a stronger dose.) You can take this every hour or two, or as needed.

I treat this strictly as a grown-up remedy, not for kids! Also, please don’t take before driving! This is simply a retelling of a home remedy that I’ve found success with; no medical advice for your particular situation is implied. Serious illnesses may require professional medical care, if in doubt, ask your doctor.

For a non-alcoholic version, simply omit the alcohol and use all honey. (Another good non-alcoholic cough remedy is Violet Leaf & Honey Cough Syrup.)


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Jan Berry is a writer, herbalist, soapmaker, and bestselling author of The Big Book of Homemade Products, Simple & Natural Soapmaking, and Easy Homemade Melt & Pour Soaps. She lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains with her family and a menagerie of animals, where she enjoys brainstorming creative things to make with the flowers and weeds that grow around her.

  • Jill says:

    Visiting from the Frugal Ways link up.
    So…is it something in the roses that suppresses the cough…or is it the whiskey that makes you forget you’re coughing in the first place? Ha ha!

    Seriously, I was just noticing how well my roses are coming in so I think I’m going to try this.

    • Jan says:

      hahaha I think the whiskey has a lot to do with it. ;) I mix it with so much honey, I don’t taste the whiskey much, but the roses do contribute some germ fighting power and throat soothing.
      I wish my roses were coming in now! They are pretty much faded away except for the occasional bloom I greedily snatch up! I’m glad you get to enjoy yours though! :)

  • Marmepurl says:

    if I could only have a little luck growing Roses..

    • Jan says:

      Some of them sure can be tricky to grow! I stick with the old fashioned kinds, for the most part. Those types seem sturdier and can handle my complete lack of attention to them! :)

  • Tanya says:

    i know a lot of folks around here who swear by moonshine for their cure!

    • Jan says:

      I bet that would work too! Though I can’t say I’ve ever tried any! :) I do have to wonder if the alcohol kills germs…. never really scientifically studied it!

      PS Tanya – I really enjoy your blog & your photographs – I’ve been subscribed via Google Reader for a while now. I’m in VA too. :)

  • Lisa @ Two Bears Farm says:

    I think I’d have to be in a pretty rough way to try this ;-)

  • Nancy says:

    Well, that’s just very cool! I imagine it’s a pretty cough syrup. I’definitely have to try! :)

  • collectables says:

    Hi, I would like to subscribe for this webpage to get hottest updates,
    thus where can i do it please help.

    • Jan says:

      Hi! Thanks for your question! It appears that I somehow deleted the box on the side that lets someone subscribe via email. I will try to add that back, as soon as I figure out how I did it in the first place! In the meantime, if you scroll to the top of this page and look under the search box you’ll see little “F” in a blue box for Facebook, then a “P” in a red box for Pinterest, then right beside it is a green box with a little pink flower on it. If you hit that, it will take you to where you can subscribe via RSS. There’s an option in the box that appears on the right that says “Get The Nerdy Farm Wife delivered by email” If you click that, it should let you sign up. I hope that works for you! If it doesn’t please let me know. Thank you so much for letting me know the email subscription form was missing. I’ll fix it very soon. :)

  • Favorite Cold & Flu Remedies - The Nerdy Farm Wife says:

    […] I have my children take a spoonful of plain, raw honey for this, as needed. For the grownups, Whiskey Rose Cough Remedy works wonders (you can use dried rose petals or other herbs if you wish), and for all ages, […]

  • Rosa Rugosa Soap Recipe (Palm Free) - The Nerdy Farm Wife says:

    […] projects I’ve made with roses such as Rose Petal Vinegar, Rose Face & Body Cream, Whiskey Rose Cough Syrup, and Rose Petal Peppermint Drops can be found on my DIY Herbals & Recipes […]

  • INGRID says:

    hi how long can these tinctures last for ? do they have expiry dates or can they last for many years due to the alcohol

    • Jan says:

      They should last for many years, however most guides will say one year. I keep mine for a little longer though or at least until I’m able to make fresh batches.

  • Jennsuprgrl says:

    Can you used dried rose petals for this?

  • lynn says:

    Are there any cold remedies without citrus fruits involved.

    • Jan says:

      Hi Lynn! You can leave the lemon/citrus out of many cold remedy recipes or you can sometimes replace it with a little apple cider vinegar. I actually added lemon to this one, but the version most commonly found around the internet uses just roses and brandy. One of our favorite remedies for sore throat & feeling icky in general is to mix a spoonful of raw honey with a sprinkle of powdered ginger & take several times over the course of a day. Both can be found in your local grocery store. Also, Sambucol is some of the best stuff around for colds & flu – I wrote about it here: https://thenerdyfarmwife.com/favorite-cold-and-flu-remedies/

  • RhodaEdwards says:

    Hi Jan I made the brandy version that I got from the book “Things to do with roses” I am happy to say it was a winner at our house. We had a bad bout of the flu and no one had to go to the doctor. Thanks for your help.

    • Jan says:

      That’s wonderful to know it was helpful for your family! I’m sorry that you were all sick and I hope everyone is 100% better now!

  • Alexandra says:

    Hi! I absolutely love your site (I’ve just stumbled across it) and I’ve been bookmarking so many of your recipes. My question is (and it may be a silly one) – do you need to make sure any roses you use haven’t been sprayed/have been grown organically?


    • Jan says:

      Hi Alexandra, That’s a great question! Yes, you do want to make sure to use unsprayed roses for cosmetic or internal use since most pesticides for flowers aren’t tested as being safe for humans.

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