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Does Whiskey Help A Sore Throat? (2024 Updated)

Does Whiskey Help A Sore Throat

Last Updated on March 13, 2024 by Lydia Martin

Aside from a runny nose, having a sore throat because of a cold is truly uncomfortable and inconvenient.

There is a long list of home remedies and medications, but did you know that moderate alcohol consumption can actually relieve you of cold symptoms? 

Recent studies show that some medical whiskey claims may not just be an old wives’ tale. Read on to find out, does whiskey help a sore throat?

Does Drinking Whiskey Soothe a Sore Throat?

The Macallan whisky

Yes, moderate whiskey drinking soothes sore throats and coughing. Cold or flu caused by viral infections can make our throat feel irritated, dry, scratchy, or sometimes burning.

Home remedies such as hot tea, honey, lemon, warm water, or even Hot Toddies can make us feel better.

Hot Toddy ingredients such as whiskey contain a high amount of alcohol that functions as a vasodilator, opening blood vessels to let the blood pass through.

This alcoholic drink helps your muscles relax and relieves common cold symptoms like a sore throat.

Check out these alcoholic drinks to soothe coughing and sore throat

How Whiskey Can Help

How Whiskey Can Help

1. Contains Infection-Fighting Antioxidant

Ellagic acid is an organic compound in whiskey that helps fight viral and bacterial infections that can cause sore throat or cold.

It is an antioxidant that neutralizes harmful radicals, decreases levels of inflammation, and removes toxins in the body, protecting us from different diseases. 

Excessive free radicals can damage your body’s proteins, making us more vulnerable to cold. 

2. Dilates Your Blood Vessels

We mentioned inflammation before, which causes the reddening of the skin.

Whenever we have injuries, wounds, or infections, our body naturally responds by carrying more blood and nutrients to these particular areas.

The blood concentration causes swollen blood vessels that can be painful sometimes.

In case of sore throat, moderate whiskey consumption helps dilate mucus membranes, allowing the blood to circulate normally and deal with the cold or infection easily. 

3. Alcohol Numbs Pain

It is probably the oldest medical claim about drinking alcohol. Researchers found through modern studies that alcohol indeed dulls pain signals going to the brain.

An experiment in 2016 conducted by Trevor Thompson of the University of Greenwich, London, provided his team with enough evidence to conclude that alcohol is an effective painkiller [1]

Having a shot or two of whiskey can relieve you of sore throat and headaches caused by a cold. You can order a Whiskey and have it delivered to your home.

What Experts Say

Pikesville Rye Whiskey

Experts believe that overconsumption of alcohol can lead to more serious health diseases. Whiskey can relieve a sore throat, but sometimes, it is also the cause of having one.

Prolonged exposure to alcoholic drinks will weaken the immune system and build up tolerance against the potential benefits of whiskey in the body. 

In addition, combining alcohol with cold medicines like Tylenol, cough syrup, or any other medical remedies can cause irreversible damage to the liver.

Does Whiskey Kill Bacteria In The Throat?

No, whiskey can not kill bacteria in the throat. Most alcoholic drinks like whiskey, tequila Blanco, brandy, and vodka, have at least 40% ABV.

But the alcohol content needed to kill germs and bacteria has to be 60% to 90% concentration [2]

However, even if some whiskey brands contain more than 60% ABV, the alcohol concentration lowers once it enters the bloodstream.

You also have to limit your drinking with this alcohol content because it can be fatal. So, is whiskey acidic?

What’s The Best Whiskey To Soothe A Sore Throat?

Dark Lure Single Malt Whiskey

The best whiskey type to soothe a sore throat is a Single Malt.

Scotch Whisky is the most famous single malt, but countries like Canada, Japan, Ireland, and even the United States also produce single malt expressions. 

According to Dr. Jim Swan, a renowned whiskey consultant, single malt whiskey has higher ellagic acid than wines because of using barley during its production process.

Related Posts:

Why You Shouldn’t Drink Too Much When You’re Sick

You shouldn’t drink too much alcohol when you’re already sick because it can dehydrate your body.

Having a dry or sore throat is already a sign of dehydration, and drinking alcohol can worsen its effects on the body.

You can take at least one standard shot of whiskey and drink water to prevent this situation. 

You can also mix whiskey in a warm cocktail like Hot Teddy. It amplifies the antibacterial properties and anti-inflammatory benefits of its alcohol content.

Hot Toddy Recipe

Hot Toddy



It is a great decongestant to relieve mucus membranes in and around your nose.

The alcohol content lets you relax for a much-needed rest while soothing sore spots in your throat. 

Having whiskey in a Hot Toddy dilutes its alcohol concentration to a beneficial level for your body.

Lemon Juice

The vitamin C in lemon juice may not entirely clear infections, but it can help reduce phlegm and strengthen the body’s immune system for faster healing.

It does not only add a flavorful taste to the Hot Toddy, but it also provides a comforting aroma to relax you when you’re sick.

Hot Water

Sipping hot liquids such as hot water or hot tea can relieve a sore throat caused by nasal congestion or colds.

There is also research suggesting that inhaling hot vapor relieves symptoms of nasal congestion.

You can also inhale the warm steam in Hot Toddy to unclog your sinuses.


Mixing honey in a Hot Toddy provides anti-inflammatory properties to help relieve throat inflammation.

It is one of the most available home remedies when you’re sick, along with lemon juice and hot water.

It can also reduce coughs and colds caused by upper respiratory tract infections.

Here are the best bourbons for a Hot Toddy recipe.


Bring water to a simmer using a teapot or saucepan, then pour it into a mug. Add whiskey, two teaspoons of lemon, and two teaspoons of honey. Stir until the honey dissolves into the blend. 

Garnish the cocktail with a lemon slice or cinnamon. Add ginger or orange juice to the Hot Teddy for more health benefits. Enjoy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Does whiskey also help cough and cold?

Yes, whiskey can help with the symptoms of cough and cold. But there is no scientific evidence to prove that it can cure infections.

Can whiskey cause sore throat?

Yes, drinking too much whiskey can cause sore throats. Drinking alcohol can cause dehydration, leading to dry mouth and sore throat.

What should you not drink with a sore throat?

When dealing with a sore throat, it’s advisable to avoid beverages that may exacerbate irritation or discomfort. Some drinks to avoid include:

Acidic Drinks: Citrus juices, like orange or grapefruit juice, can be harsh on a sore throat due to their acidity.

Caffeinated or Carbonated Drinks: Coffee, tea, and carbonated beverages may cause further dryness or irritation.

Alcoholic Beverages: Alcohol can dehydrate the body and irritate the throat, potentially prolonging the healing process.

Spicy or Hot Drinks: Spicy beverages, as well as drinks served at high temperatures, can worsen throat discomfort.

Does alcohol help tonsillitis?

Alcohol is not recommended as a remedy for tonsillitis. In fact, it may worsen the condition. Tonsillitis is often caused by a viral or bacterial infection, and alcohol can irritate the inflamed tissues, potentially causing additional discomfort.

It is advisable to focus on rest, hydration, and seeking medical advice for appropriate treatment, which may include antibiotics for bacterial infections.

Is alcohol OK for a sore throat?

While some people may consider using alcohol, such as whiskey or honey-infused spirits, as a throat remedy, it’s essential to approach this cautiously. Alcohol can have a drying effect on the throat and may not be the most soothing option.

Additionally, alcohol can interact with medications and may not be suitable for everyone. It’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice on managing a sore throat.

Will alcohol make my sore throat worse?

Yes, alcohol can potentially make a sore throat worse. The dehydrating effect of alcohol can contribute to dryness and irritation of the throat, leading to increased discomfort.

Moreover, alcohol may interfere with the body’s ability to heal and fight off infections.

It’s generally recommended to avoid alcohol when experiencing a sore throat to promote a faster recovery.

What kills a sore throat fast?

Several remedies can help alleviate a sore throat:

Hydration: Drink plenty of fluids, such as water, herbal teas, and clear broths, to stay hydrated.

Warm Saltwater Gargle: Gargling with warm saltwater can help soothe a sore throat and reduce inflammation.

Throat Lozenges or Sprays: Medicated lozenges or throat sprays with soothing ingredients may provide relief.

Humidifier: Using a humidifier can add moisture to the air, relieving throat dryness.

Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers: Non-prescription pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, may help manage pain and reduce inflammation.

If symptoms persist or worsen, it’s crucial to consult a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and treatment.

Why is whiskey better cold?

The preference for cold or warm whiskey is subjective and depends on personal taste. Some people enjoy the warmth of room temperature or slightly chilled whiskey, as it allows the flavors to unfold more prominently.

However, serving whiskey cold can have its merits. Chilling can mellow the flavors and reduce the intensity of alcohol, making it more approachable for those who may find neat whiskey too strong. Additionally, cold whiskey can be refreshing, especially in warm weather.

Ultimately, whether whiskey is better cold or at room temperature is a matter of individual preference.

What alcohol is the healthiest?

When it comes to alcoholic beverages, moderation is key, and the healthiest choice depends on individual preferences and health considerations. Lighter options, such as certain types of wine or spirits with lower alcohol content, may be considered “healthier” than beverages with higher alcohol content.

Red wine, in moderation, has been associated with potential cardiovascular benefits due to its antioxidant content.

However, it’s crucial to consider individual health conditions, and consulting with a healthcare professional is advisable.

Is Coke good for a sore throat?

Coke, or any carbonated and caffeinated beverages, may not be the best choice for a sore throat. The carbonation can be irritating, and the caffeine may contribute to dehydration.

Additionally, the high sugar content in regular Coke may not be suitable for soothing a sore throat.

Opting for non-caffeinated, non-acidic, and non-irritating liquids, such as water, herbal teas, or clear broths, is generally recommended for throat comfort.

What can make a sore throat worse?

Several factors can exacerbate a sore throat, including:

Smoking or Exposure to Secondhand Smoke: Tobacco smoke can irritate the throat and worsen inflammation.

Dry Air: Dry environments or inadequate hydration can contribute to throat dryness and irritation.

Alcohol: Alcohol, especially in excess, can dehydrate the body and irritate the throat.

Spicy Foods: Spicy or hot foods may aggravate throat discomfort.

Talking or Whispering Excessively: Straining the vocal cords through excessive talking or whispering can worsen a sore throat.

What liquids make a sore throat worse?

Certain liquids can exacerbate a sore throat, including:

Acidic Drinks: Citrus juices and acidic beverages may irritate the throat.

Caffeinated or Carbonated Drinks: Coffee, tea, and carbonated beverages can contribute to throat dryness.

Alcohol: Alcohol can dehydrate the body and irritate the throat, potentially worsening discomfort.

Hot or Spicy Drinks: Extremely hot or spicy beverages may aggravate throat irritation.

Choosing soothing and non-irritating liquids, such as water, herbal teas, or broths, is generally recommended for relieving sore throat symptoms.

Final Verdict: Does Whiskey Help A Sore Throat?

Studies show how whiskey helps our body fight infection whenever we’re sick. Alcohol dilates blood vessels, but it has a varying effect depending on the person, the type of sore throat, and the cause of inflammation.

However, alcohol can irritate some people. For these cases, you can drink herbal tea, mix honey and lemon, or gargle salt with warm water as another easy relief from a common cold.

You can also make a Hot Toddy by following our instructions or just what your doctor ordered. In the end, don’t forget to consult a physician if your cold persists.


  1. Study finds ‘robust evidence’ that alcohol is a very effective painkiller
  2. What to Know About Using Alcohol to Kill Germs
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