As a child, my grandma would me one of those old fashioned peppermint sticks. The fat, straight porous ones. If my parents were around, she'd give me a small cup of lemon juice, and have me suck the juice through the peppermint stick. If my parents weren't around, the lemon juice would be replaced with a wee bit of brandy. Either one worked pretty well for the cough. Though I felt extra special when I got the brandy, which also distracted me from feeling poorly.
These days I use hot teas and soups. Saltwater gargles. My personal favorite is a pot of boiling water. Add a spoonful of Vick's, and breathe deep through the mouth.