Bourbon cocktail resting on table

40 Bourbon Cocktails to Master

Bourbon cocktails are some of the best drinks out there. They’re easy to make, perfect for summer sips or cozy Christmas evenings, and here’s how to enjoy them even more.

Step aside, Scotland and Ireland; bourbon is America’s whiskey champ! Did you know it’s made mostly from corn and can only be named ‘bourbon’ if brewed in the U.S.? Some even say its name comes straight from Bourbon County in Kentucky. Whether that’s a tale or truth, bourbon’s magic in drinks is undeniable. Imagine sipping a sweet Old Fashioned on a chilly winter evening or enjoying a Kentucky Mule under the summer sun. When fall arrives, the bourbon Sidecar is the drink everyone wants. And when Christmas bells ring, bourbon cocktails are the heart of the party.

The 40 Best Bourbon Cocktails

Our DrinksWorld experts have put together a list of famous bourbon cocktails for you to try. We’ve personally mixed and tried each one, focusing on recipes that bring out the best mixes.

Old Fashioned

A side shot of an Old Fashioned cocktail in an old-fashioned glass on a coaster placed on a beige table with a bar spoon and an orange twist on the side.

The Old Fashioned is a timeless cocktail that takes you back to the basics. It’s made with whiskey, sugar, water, and bitters. Many enjoy it because it’s straightforward yet full of rich flavors.

Mint Julep

A side shot of a Mint Julep cocktail in a julep cup on a black stone coaster surrounded by sugar cubes, a straw and mint leaves, placed on a white marmol table, with some cocktail tools behind in front of a white wall.

The Mint Julep is a refreshing drink especially loved in the South. Fresh mint leaves, sugar, and water are its main ingredients. It’s famously linked to the Kentucky Derby horse race, where it’s the official drink.

Whiskey Sour

A side shot of a Whiskey Sour cocktail in a Old Fashioned glass with some oranges in the background

The Whiskey Sour is a delightful mix that perfectly balances sweet and sour. It combines whiskey, lemon juice, and sugar. Some even like to add an egg white to give it a smooth, frothy top. It’s a drink that’s both simple and full of zest.

Manhattan

A side shot of a Manhattan cocktail in a cocktail glass on a brown wooden table with a plant on the side and a bar spoon and mixing glass on the background.

The Manhattan is a classy cocktail named after the famous New York City area. It’s made sweet vermouth, and bitters. Many say it captures the city’s elegance and energy in a glass.

Boulevardier

A side shot of a Boulevardier cocktail in an old fashioned glass with an orange twist and plant leaves on the side on a brown wooden table, some oranges behind and a yellow wall as background.

The Boulevardier is like the American cousin of the Negroni. It blends whiskey with sweet vermouth and a splash of Campari, an Italian liqueur. Its vibrant red color and unique taste make it a favorite for those looking for something different.

Kentucky Mule

A side shot of a Kentucky Mule cocktail in a highball cocktail with a ginger pieces and a bar spoon on a wooden tray placed on a white marmol table and a shaker, a lime and a plant on the background.

The Kentucky Mule is a fun twist on the famous Moscow Mule. Instead of vodka, this drink uses whiskey mixed with ginger beer and a squeeze of lime. It’s often served in a cool copper mug, making it a hit at summer parties.

Brown Derby

A side shot of a Brown Derby cocktail in a cocktail glass on a wooden board on a wooden table surrounded by a green cloth, a strainer, two orange wedges, and a shaker.

The Brown Derby is a delightful cocktail that combines the sweetness of honey with fresh grapefruit juice and whiskey. Named after the famous Brown Derby restaurant in Los Angeles, this drink is a taste of Hollywood’s golden age.

Bourbon Smash

A side shot of a Bourbon Smash cocktail in an old fashioned glass on a wooden coaster placed on a dark grey table surrounded by a white cloth, a beige place mat, and a wooden board.

The Bourbon Smash is a citrusy and refreshing drink perfect for warm days. It’s made fresh lemon, and mint, all muddled together. Think of it as the cooler, more laid-back cousin of the Mint Julep.

Hot Toddy

A sido shot if a Hot Toddy cocktail in a mug on a brown wooden table with a cinnamon stick on the side and orange slices behind.

The Hot Toddy is like a warm hug in a mug. Made with whiskey, honey, lemon juice, and hot water, it’s a go-to drink for cold nights or when you’re feeling under the weather. Some even swear by its magical cold-curing powers!

Bourbon Rickey

The Bourbon Rickey is a bubbly and bright drink. It’s a simple mix of whiskey, lime juice, and club soda. It’s said to have been a favorite of many writers and politicians in Washington, D.C., back in the day.

Check out: more Simple Mixed Cocktails.

Gold Rush

A side shot of a Gold Rush cocktail in an old fashioned glass on a wooden board surrounded by a strainer, two lemon pieces, a shaker, and a white striped cloth

The Gold Rush is a sweet and tangy mix that’s hard to resist. Made with whiskey, lemon juice, and honey syrup, it’s like liquid gold in a glass. The name might make you think of the famous gold-seeking adventures of the past!

Lynchburg Lemonade

A side shot of a Lynchburg Lemonade cocktail in a highball glass surrounded by lemon wedges on a blue table, with some cocktail tools behind and in front of a yellow wall.

Lynchburg Lemonade is a zesty and refreshing drink named after the hometown of a famous whiskey brand. It combines whiskey with lemon-lime soda, triple sec, and a splash of lemon juice. Perfect for sipping on a porch swing!

Seelbach

A side shot of a Seelbach cocktail in a champagne flute on a white marmol table surrounded by a jigger, a bar spoon, and a striped white cloth

The Seelbach is a sparkling and sophisticated cocktail. Made with whiskey, Cointreau, champagne, and a dash of bitters, it’s named after the Seelbach Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, where it was first created. It’s like a party in a glass!

Bourbon Lift

The Bourbon Lift is a creamy, dreamy drink that will lift your spirits. It blends whiskey with coffee liqueur, almond syrup, and a touch of cream. It’s like a dessert and a drink all in one. Perfect for those who love a hint of sweetness!

Bourbon Daisy

The Bourbon Daisy is a vibrant and refreshing cocktail that’s a burst of citrusy goodness. Made with lemon juice, and grenadine, it’s like a blooming daisy in a glass. The “daisy” in cocktail language often refers to a mix of spirit, citrus, and a sweet element, making this drink a classic example.

Revolver

A side shot of a Revolver cocktail in a coupe glass on a coaster placed on a wooden table with a red cloth and a jigger.

The Revolver is a cocktail with a bang! Combining whiskey with coffee liqueur and a hint of orange bitters, it’s a drink that packs a punch. The name might make you think of the Wild West, and with its bold flavors, it’s sure to leave an impression.

Bourbon Renewal

The Bourbon Renewal is a rejuvenating mix that’s perfect for those looking for something a bit different. Made with Crème de Cassis liqueur, lemon juice, and bitters, it’s a tart and sweet drink. The name suggests a fresh start or a revival, making it perfect for a new beginning or celebration.

Paper Plane

A side shot of a Paper Plane cocktail in a cocktail glass on a wooden coaster placed on a blue table with a white cloth, a jigger, and two lemons

The Paper Plane is a modern classic that’s taken the cocktail world by storm. Made with Aperol, Amaro, and lemon juice, it’s a balanced and delightful drink. Its name is inspired by the M.I.A. song “Paper Planes,” it’s sure to take your taste buds on a flight of fancy.

Bourbon Flip

The Bourbon Flip is a creamy and rich treat. Made with whiskey, an egg, sugar, and nutmeg, it’s like a dessert in a glass. “Flips” have been around since colonial times, and this version with bourbon is a nod to American history with a tasty twist.

Bourbon Neat

Bourbon Neat is all about simplicity and purity. It’s just straight-up whiskey with no mixers or ice. Drinking bourbon this way lets you truly taste and appreciate all its flavors. It’s a favorite among whiskey purists and those who like their drinks straightforwardly.

Bourbon Spritz

The Bourbon Spritz is a bubbly and light drink perfect for warm days. Made with whiskey, a splash of soda, and often a hint of citrus, it’s a refreshing take on the classic spritz. It’s ideal for those moments when you want something easy and effervescent.

Bourbon Punch

Bourbon Punch is a party in a bowl! Often made with fruit juices, and sometimes spices, it’s a drink meant for sharing. Historically, punch bowls were the center of social gatherings, and this bourbon version keeps the tradition alive.

Bourbon Sling

The Bourbon Sling is a simple yet flavorful concoction made with lemon juice, and sugar. The word “sling” comes from the German word “schlingen,” which means “to swallow,” hinting at how easy this drink goes down.

Bourbon Cobbler

The Bourbon Cobbler is a fruity and fun drink like summer in a glass. It’s made with fresh fruit, and sugar and served over crushed ice. The “cobbler” name comes from the drink’s resemblance to the fruit dessert, making it a sweet treat for any occasion.

Bourbon and Ginger

Bourbon and Ginger is a zesty and lively drink perfect for those who love a spicy kick. It’s made with whiskey and ginger ale or ginger beer. The ginger adds a fiery touch, making it a favorite for those who like their drinks with a bit of heat.

Bufala Negra

The Bufala Negra is an intriguing mix of flavors. Made with fresh basil, brown sugar, and balsamic vinegar, it’s a cocktail that surprises and delights. The name translates to “Black Buffalo,” a drink that’s as bold and mysterious as its name suggests.

Stiletto

A side shot of a Stiletto cocktail in an old fashioned glass on a wooden tray placed on a dark table surrounded by a green cloth and a jigger.

The Stiletto is a sharp and stylish drink. Combining whiskey with amaretto and lemon juice, it’s a sweet and tangy cocktail. Like the high-heeled shoe it’s named after, the Stiletto is about making a statement.

Black-Eyed Susan Cocktail

The Black-Eyed Susan Cocktail is a bright and cheerful drink. It’s the official drink of the Preakness Stakes horse race, made with whiskey, vodka, fruit juices, and a touch of orange liqueur. Named after Maryland’s state flower, it’s a nod to horse racing tradition.

Ginger Julep

The Ginger Julep is a spicy twist on the classic Mint Julep. It’s a refreshing and fiery blend of whiskey, ginger syrup, and mint. It’s like the Mint Julep’s adventurous cousin, ready to spice up any occasion.

Left-Hand Cocktail

The Left Hand Cocktail is a rich and velvety drink. It’s a bitter-and-sweet cocktail with whiskey, sweet vermouth, Campari, and chocolate bitters. The name’s origin is a mystery, but it’s a drink that’s sure to leave a lasting impression.

Kentucky Maid

The Kentucky Maid is a refreshing and herbal delight. Made with fresh mint, cucumber, and lime juice, it’s a drink that’s as cool as a summer breeze. It’s like the southern belle of cocktails, elegant and charming.

Bourbon Sour

The Bourbon Sour is a classic that’s all about balance. Made with lemon juice, and sugar, it’s a tart and sweet drink. It’s a timeless favorite, enjoyed by many for its simple yet satisfying flavors.

New York Sour

A side shot of a New York Sour cocktail in an old fashioned glass on a beige cloth with a lemon on a side placed on a table.

The New York Sour is a dazzling mix of the classic whiskey sour with a splash of red wine. It’s like the city it’s named after: bold, diverse, and always ready to impress. The wine adds a fruity touch, making it a drink that stands out in a crowd.

Bourbon Sidecar

The Bourbon Sidecar is a smooth and citrusy ride. It’s a twist on the classic Sidecar cocktail, made with orange liqueur, and lemon juice. It’s like taking a classic car for a spin with bourbon in the driver’s seat.

Maple Bourbon Smash

The Maple Bourbon Smash is a sweet and rustic treat. Made with whiskey, maple syrup, lemon, and mint, it’s a drink that’s both cozy and refreshing. It’s like a taste of the countryside, with the sweet touch of maple trees and the warmth of whiskey.

John Collins

A side shot of a John Collins cocktail in highball glass on a coaster placed on a white cloth on a beige table surrounded by a straw, four lemons, and a shaker

The John Collins is a bubbly and refreshing classic. It’s a cousin of the famous Tom Collins, made with lemon juice, sugar, and club soda. Legend has it that it was named after a London bartender from the 19th century who knew how to mix a great drink.

Bourbon Highball

The Bourbon Highball is all about simplicity and elegance. It’s made with whiskey and ginger ale or club soda and is served in a tall glass with lots of ice. 

Blackberry Bourbon Smash

The Blackberry Bourbon Smash is a fruity delight. Made with whiskey, fresh blackberries, mint, and lemon, it’s a drink that bursts with flavor. It’s like a summer garden party in a glass, where berries are the show’s star.

Bourbon Lemonade

Bourbon Lemonade is the ultimate summer refresher. It’s a sweet and tangy treat made with whiskey and fresh lemonade. It’s perfect for sipping on a hot day, like sunshine in a glass.

Bourbon Milk Punch

The Bourbon Milk Punch is a creamy, dreamy drink made with milk, sugar, and vanilla. It’s like a grown-up version of your favorite bedtime drink, with a hint of festive cheer.

Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail

The Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail is a vibrant and festive mix. It’s a holiday favorite made with cranberry juice, and a splash of lime. The tartness of cranberries harmoniously  melds with the warmth of whiskey.

Bourbon Sazerac

The Bourbon Sazerac is a New Orleans classic that combines the smooth flavor of bourbon with the traditional ingredients of a Sazerac. Made with whiskey, sugar, bitters, and a touch of absinthe. It’s a drink with history and character. Often considered one of the oldest cocktails, it captures the spirit and charm of the Big Easy.

Bourbon Bramble

The Bourbon Bramble is a fruity and fun cocktail. It’s a sweet and tangy treat made with whiskey, blackberry liqueur, and lemon juice. Inspired by the British bramble cocktail, it’s a drink that brings together the best of both worlds.

Bourbon Apple Cider

A side shot of a Bourbon Apple Cider cocktail in a highball glass on a wooden board placed on a yellow table surrounded by a shaker, a bar spoon, a white cloth, and 4 apple slices.

The Bourbon Apple Cider is like a taste of the orchard. Made with whiskey and fresh apple cider, it’s a sweet and spicy drink. Perfect for fall, it’s like sipping on the essence of the apple-picking season.

Bourbon Eggnog

The Bourbon Eggnog is a holiday favorite. It’s a rich and creamy delight made with whiskey, milk, sugar, eggs, and nutmeg. Often enjoyed around Christmas, it’s a drink full of tradition and festive spirit.

Top 8 Bourbon Brands to Use in Cocktails

The DrinksWorld experts picked these 8 bourbon brands as the best for mixing top bourbon cocktails:

1. Maker’s Mark

Maker’s Mark is known for its distinctive red wax seal and smooth flavor. Originating from Loretto, Kentucky, this bourbon has a unique taste due to its use of soft red winter wheat instead of the traditional rye. This results in a sweeter and smoother bourbon, perfect for cocktails that require a milder whiskey base.

2. Buffalo Trace

Coming from one of America’s oldest distilleries, Buffalo Trace is a versatile bourbon with rich caramel and vanilla notes. Its balanced flavor profile makes it a favorite among bartenders and mixologists. Whether sipped neat or mixed in a cocktail, Buffalo Trace consistently delivers quality.

3. Woodford Reserve

Woodford Reserve is a premium small-batch bourbon known for its rich, full-bodied taste. It’s produced in Versailles, Kentucky, and offers a harmonious blend of dried fruit, vanilla, and toasted oak. Its complex flavor profile shines in cocktails, making it a top choice for many.

4. Bulleit Bourbon

Bulleit Bourbon stands out with its high rye content, giving it a bold and spicy character. Its robust flavor and hints of honey and vanilla make it a go-to for cocktails that need a punch. Its iconic frontier-inspired bottle is a nod to its deep American roots.

5. Wild Turkey

Wild Turkey offers a true, robust Kentucky flavor. Known for its high-proof offerings and spicy kick, it’s a favorite for cocktails with a bit more bite. Master Distiller Jimmy Russell ensures that each bottle captures the essence of pure, traditional bourbon.

6. Four Roses

Four Roses has a unique blending process. With ten distinct recipes, the brand offers a wide range of flavor profiles. From floral and fruity to rich and spicy, Four Roses has bourbon for every palate and cocktail.

7. Knob Creek

Part of the small-batch bourbon collection from Jim Beam, Knob Creek is known for its full flavor and rich aroma. Aged for nine years, it has deep notes of vanilla, nuts, and oak. Its bold taste ensures it doesn’t get lost when mixed in cocktails.

8. Elijah Craig

This brand is named after the reverend who allegedly discovered the method of aging whiskey in charred oak barrels. It offers a rich and deep flavor with notes of caramel, vanilla, and a hint of spice.

Types of Bourbon

Bourbon is a kind of American whiskey made mostly from corn. There are various of types of bourbon:

  • Straight Bourbon: needs to be aged not less than two years in new charred oak casks.
  • Kentucky Straight Bourbon comes from Kentucky and it has to be made and kept there for at least one year.
  • Tennessee Bourbon is like a bourbon but has an extra step. It’s filtered through special charcoal before it’s stored in barrels.
  • Single Barrel Bourbon is from just one barrel, not mixed with others. Each barrel may taste a bit different.
  • Small-batch bourbon is made by mixing bourbon from a few barrels together. It’s like a unique blend.
  • Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon follows strict U.S. rules. It’s made in one place, by one distillery, in one season, and stored for at least four years.

Our favorite type for making coctails is Small-batch Bourbon. Its blend of flavors offers an good base for a wide range of creative and classic cocktails. and modern classic concoctions.

More Whiskey drinks

While bourbon is popular in many drinks, there are also other great whiskey drinks to try:

Looking for seasonal inspiration? Check out our favorite Bourbon Cocktails for Summer, explore our top picks for Fall Bourbon Cocktails. Further more: Spring Bourbon Cocktails & Winter Bourbon Cocktails

FAQs

  1. What is bourbon? Bourbon is an American whiskey made primarily from corn and aged in new charred oak barrels.
  2. How is bourbon different from other whiskeys? Bourbon has specific production rules, such as being made in the U.S., containing at least 51% corn, and aging in new charred oak barrels.
  3. Can bourbon be made outside of Kentucky? While Kentucky is famous for bourbon, it can be made anywhere in the U.S.
  4. What’s the difference between bourbon, Scotch, and rye whiskey? Bourbon is American and mainly made from corn, while Scotch is from Scotland and made primarily from malted barley. Rye whiskey is made primarily from rye grain.
  5. Are all bourbons sweet? While bourbon often has a natural sweetness from the corn, its flavor profile can range from sweet to spicy based on its ingredients.

Simple Bourbon Cocktails: Bourbon Smash (and 39 More!)

 

Bourbon Smash Cocktail Drink

Bourbon Smash Recipe

Jump to Video
Savor the simplicity of this Bourbon Smash recipe! It's a blend of bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup, and fresh mint - a vibrant cocktail perfect for fall.
Prep time: 1 minute
Mixing time: 1 minute
Servings: 1
Calories: 210

Ingredients
 

  • 2 oz Bourbon
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • 4-6 mint leaves
  • ½ lemon - cut into wedges
  • Ice cubes
  • Lemon wheel and mint sprig - for garnish, optional

Equipment

  • Cocktail Shaker
  • Muddler
  • Old Fashioned Glass
  • Measuring Jigger
  • Strainer & Fine-strainer

Instructions

  • Prep Glass: Make sure your service glass gets thoroughly chilled.
  • Muddle: Muddle the lemon wedges in your cocktail shaker.
  • Add Mint: Choose 4-6 mint leaves (green and fresh) and drop them into the shaker.
  • Add Simple Syrup: Measure and pour in 1 oz simple syrup.
  • Add Bourbon: Pour in 2 oz Bourbon.
  • Shake: Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously.
  • Strain: Fine strain the mixture into your Old Fashioned glass over fresh ice cubes.
  • Garnish: Garnish with a mint sprig and lemon wheel.

Notes

Substitutes:

  • Bourbon: If you don't have bourbon, rye whiskey or brandy can be substituted. They offer a different flavor profile but still work well in this cocktail.
  • Simple Syrup: Honey or agave nectar can be used as natural sweeteners if you're out of simple syrup. Just remember to adjust the quantity to taste as they are sweeter than simple syrup.
  • Lemon: If you're out of lemons, use limes for a different citrus twist.

Making a Pitcher of Bourbon Smash:

  • Scale: To make a pitcher that serves 8, multiply all the ingredients by 8. That would be 16 oz of bourbon, 8 oz of simple syrup, 4 lemons cut into wedges, and 32 fresh mint leaves.
  • Mix: Muddle the lemon wedges in a large pitcher. Tap the mint leaves to release the aroma, before dropping them into the pitcher. Add the bourbon and simple syrup, then stir well.
  • Serve: Pour the mixture into individual ice-filled Old Fashioned glasses, garnish with a mint sprig and lemon wheel, and serve immediately.

Making it Non-Alcoholic:

  • Bourbon Substitute: Use a non-alcoholic bourbon substitute; these are available in the market and do an excellent job of mimicking bourbon's flavor.
  • Proceed As Usual: Use this non-alcoholic substitute instead of regular bourbon, follow the original steps, and enjoy a non-alcoholic version.

Making it Vegan:

  • Simple Syrup Substitute: Ensure your simple syrup is made with sugar that doesn't involve animal products in its production, or use agave nectar as a substitute.
  • Proceed As Usual: With this vegan-friendly sweetener, follow the original steps to enjoy a delicious vegan Bourbon Smash.

Comments

Leave a Reply

Share
Pin
Post
Share
Send
Email

Related articles

Alternative ingredients classic cocktails

Mix It Up: Alternative Ingredients for Classic Cocktails

Mix It Up: Alternative Ingredients for Classic Cocktails
Japanese Whiskey Cocktails on shelf

Revitalize 5 Classic Cocktails with Japanese Spirits

Revitalize 5 Classic Cocktails with Japanese Spirits
Sotol spirit

Discover Sotol, Mexico’s Unsung Spirit with Agave Expert Kat Stanley-Whyte

Discover Sotol, Mexico’s Unsung Spirit with Agave Expert Kat Stanley-Whyte

Select language

The page you are looking at is also available in the following languages:

Recipe Overview

Explore our recipes by the categories below.

By spirit

By type

By flavour

Spirits Overview

Explore our spirits by the categories below.

Types