Best Cocktails to Make
 with whiskey

The world of whiskey is vast and constantly expanding. Likewise, the list of great whiskey cocktails continues to grow. There are, however, a few tried and true recipes that are essential to creating a well-rounded whiskey experience.

These cocktails listed below showcase the versatility of whiskey. This list of whiskey cocktails include some of the most popular whiskey cocktails that enthusiasts have enjoyed for decades (or far longer).

It is a perfect list for the beginner to explore everything possible with whiskey.

Related: How is Bourbon Made?

There are summer whiskey drinks, and cocktails more suited for fall and winter. There are easy whiskey cocktails and craft drinks with more unique ingredients. They’re sweet, sour, spicy, spirit-forward, fruity: there’s truly something for everyone, even those on the fence about this spicy spirit. Let’s get to the list: because it’s truly something special.

And now…the best cocktails to make with whiskey!


Old Fashioned 

This classic cocktail is an absolute staple for whiskey drinkers. The recipe traditionally calls for bourbon but feel free to substitute with any whiskey of your choosing. It is for sure a strong cocktail, boasting a slightly sour taste from the bitters. Although, the fruit added to this dish allows for a nice combination of sweetness. Citrusy notes add a bit of extra flavor and create a deliciously sweet scent.

Ingredients:

2 ½ oz of bourbon
2 teaspoons of sugar (or a sugar cube)
2-3 splashes of Angostura bitters
2-3 oz of club soda (optional)
Lemon zest
Slice of orange
Maraschino cherry

Instructions: 

With a chilled old-fashioned glass, blend the sugar and bitters
Add the orange slice, lemon zest, and maraschino cherry and mix
Add ice (preferably one extra-sized cube), bourbon, and stir
Top the drink off with club soda (optional)

If you love a good Old Fashioned, and want to switch it up check out our list of 5 Spins on this classic whiskey cocktail.

The Manhattan 

Originally crafted at The Manhattan Club in 1874, this popular cocktail has been beloved by whiskey drinkers for generations. Rye whiskey is used for the original recipe, although both bourbon or blended whiskey can be substituted for a less bitter flavor.

The bitter and herbal notes in this drink can be contributed to vermouth and Angostura bitters.

Ingredients:

2 oz of rye, bourbon, or blended whiskey
¾ oz of sweet vermouth
2-3 dashes of Angostura bitters

Instructions:

Add ice into a mixing glass
Blend all ingredients in the mixing glass
Strain it into a drinking glass
Garnish with a maraschino cherry

Mint Julep 

This popular cocktail has been a tradition in Kentucky for centuries. It has even earned the title of the official signature drink of the Kentucky Derby. Super simple to make and packed with refreshing mint, this cocktail is for sure worth a try.

Ingredients:

4 oz of Kentucky bourbon
1 teaspoon of simple syrup
5-6 mint sprigs

Instructions:

Add crushed ice into a chilled julep cup
Pour the Kentucky bourbon and simple syrup into the prepared glass and stir
Add mint sprigs and a splash of club soda (optional)

 

Smoked & Salted 

This cocktail has the perfect balance of sweet, salty, and smoky flavors. Feel free to incorporate either bourbon or rye whiskey for this recipe. It has a bold and prominent taste due to the bitters.

Ingredients:

2 oz of whiskey or bourbon
4 tsp of simple syrup
Walnut bitters
Pinch of salt (sea salt or other flaky salts are preferred)

Instructions:

Add whiskey, bitters, and simple syrup into a shaker. Then, shake and stir until the ingredients are combined.

Pour over ice and top with a sprinkle of salt.


Rob Roy 

This classic whiskey cocktail is quite similar to a Manhattan, although exclusively calls for Scotch whiskey. This spirit has a potent flavor with smokey and earthy hints.

Related: 11 Underrated Whiskey Cocktails

Try to find a smooth-tasting scotch, such as Macallan, for the best results.

Ingredients:

2 ½ oz of scotch
½ oz of sweet vermouth
1 dash of Angostura bitters
Maraschino cherry

Instructions:

In a mixing glass with ice, add all liquid ingredients and blend
Strain into a chilled glass (preferably old-fashioned or cocktail glass)
Garnish with a maraschino cherry

Traditional Irish Coffee 

This boozy twist on your morning cup of joe is so delicious. A combination of creamy, sweet, and strong flavors can be found in this cocktail. I also sometimes like to add cinnamon for some extra spice.

Ingredients:

2 oz of Irish whiskey
1 teaspoon of brown sugar
5 oz of hot coffee
½ oz of heavy cream or half and half
Whipped cream (optional)
½ oz creme de menthe

Instructions:

In a coffee mug, dissolve the brown sugar with whiskey
Add hot coffee and cream.
Garnish with whipped cream and creme de menthe.

 

Iced Irish coffee

A nice spin on the traditional recipe, this iced Irish coffee is perfect for warmer days. It incorporates all of the sweetness of the traditional.

Related: The 11 Health Benefits of Whiskey

I also like to add Baileys to my iced Irish coffees for some added creaminess. Be sure to use cold-brewed coffee for optimal results as hot coffee would quickly melt the ice.

Ingredients:

1½ oz of Irish whiskey
1 teaspoon of brown sugar
4 oz of cold coffee
1 oz of heavy cream or half and half
½ oz Bailey’s Irish Cream

Instructions:

In a chilled old-fashioned glass, add Irish whiskey and sugar and stir
Add ice. Top coffee and cream to stir.

 

Whiskey Sour 

This classic cocktail is a staple when you are not sure what to order on a night. With citrusy, sweet, and sour notes this cocktail is so refreshing and tasty.

Blended whiskey or bourbon works best in this recipe.

Ingredients:

2 oz of bourbon (or blended whiskey)
½ oz of simple syrup
¾ oz of lemon juice
Lemon slice
Maraschino cherry

Instructions:

Add all liquid ingredients into a mixing glass
Strain into a chilled glass
Garnish with fresh fruit

 

Hot Toddy

One of the best warm cocktails, the hot toddy has grown increasingly in popularity over the years. This drink gives off all of the cozy fall vibes, featuring cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. It also has a prominent citrusy flavor from the lemon.

Ingredients:

2 oz of bourbon
6 oz of boiling water
1 teaspoon of brown sugar
Lemon slice
3 whole cloves
Grounded nutmeg
1 cinnamon stick

Instructions:

Add cloves and lemon slice into a mug
Add brown sugar and nutmeg
Add bourbon and stir
Pour in hot water
Stir with a cinnamon stick (optional but recommended)

New Yorker

This cocktail is so delicious and was crafted in New York City, hence its name.  It is a more elevated version of the classic Whiskey Sour, with the perfect ratio of tartness and sweetness which is the result of grenadine and sugar.

Ingredients:

1½ oz of rye (or bourbon)
¾ oz of lime juice
Dash of grenadine
1 teaspoon of sugar
Lemon and orange twists

Instructions:

Add the rye or bourbon directly into a chilled old-fashioned glass
Follow up with the lime juice
Add grenadine and sugar
Garnish with lemon and orange twists

 

Sazerac 

One of the oldest cocktails in the world, this popular drink originated in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1838. This strong cocktail boasts sweet and herbal notes. Rye whiskey is an excellent spirit to use for this cocktail.

Ingredients:

2 oz of Cognac or Rye Whiskey
1 teaspoon of Pernod
2-3 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters
Lemon twist

Instructions:

In a mixing glass with ice, add the Cognac and Peychaud’s bitters
Coat the interior of a chilled glass with Pernod
Strain into the chilled glass
Add lemon twist

 

John Collins 

This spin on the classic Tom Collins cocktail features bourbon instead of gin. The recipe includes almost all of the same ingredients and tastes wonderful topped with a scrumptious maraschino cherry.

Ingredients:

2 oz of bourbon
½ oz of simple syrup
5 oz of club soda
1 oz of lemon juice
Orange slice
Lemon slice
Maraschino cherry

Instructions:

In a mixing glass, add bourbon, lemon juice, and simple syrup and mix
In a prepared Collins glass, add ice
Strain the mixing glass into the prepared glass
Top off with club soda and stir
Garnish with fruits

Kentucky Mule

Who doesn’t love a good mule? Mules are one of my go-to brunch cocktails. The combination of ginger beer and citrus is delicious. This recipe, originating in Kentucky, is a twist on the classic cocktail featuring bourbon.

This is a bit stronger in flavor than Moscow Mules, which uses vodka as a base. Although, bourbon tastes wonderful with ginger beer. This refreshing cocktail is a must-try!

Ingredients:

2 oz of bourbon
½ oz of lime juice
4 oz of ginger beer
Lime wedge
Fresh mint

Instructions:

Add bourbon, lime juice, and ginger beer into a glass or copper mug.
Add ice to your glass. Top with a lime wedge and fresh mint as a garnish.


There are so many great cocktail recipes!

Whether you’re an amateur home mixologist or just want to mix up a great drink with whatever’s in your liquor cabinet, we’ve got you covered

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