After much experimentation, I have found the solution that works best for me when my throat decides play silly beggars. I don't mean a full-blown cold, but those times when you wake up with a sore throat and you feel as though a pointless cough might emerge at any moment - stressful when you have much reading out loud ahead.
Forgoing tea and coffee with milk is obvious (though heart-breaking), but I have found that herbal tea can actually exacerbate the tickle, even the 'throat comfort' type ones. So the magical formula is as follows:
Take the herbal supplement Wellness Formula - the maximum dose of 3 horse pills every 3 hours for a few days until the trouble has passed. (Wellness Formula are available online and in places like Wholefoods and Planet Organic.)
Sip hot water.
That's it. None of your honey or garlic or cough medicine or pastilles. Try it and see!