The best whiskey cocktails
For Spring & Summer

I know what you’re thinking. Yes, whiskey, as with all brown spirits, is beautifully compatible with the cold season. There’s nothing like sipping on an oak-scented dram or a honeyed bourbon served in a thick-bottomed glass with a large ice cube while sitting by the fire.

The Old Fashioned, Manhattan, Whiskey Cocktail and Sazerac are heart-warming and comforting, but whiskey is much more versatile than you think. With the right ingredients, you can put together fantastic summer-inspired cocktails that can quench your thirst while you enjoy yourself poolside or with your feet buried in white sand on a beach somewhere.

Related: How is Bourbon Made

Here are the best whiskey cocktails for summer. Drinks as refreshing and lively that they’ll make you forget about Pina Coladas and Margaritas. Interestingly, for the trendiest drinks, we’re going back in time for inspiration, for some drinks, we’re revisiting one-hundred-year-old recipes, so drink up and enjoy the ride!

The Whiskey Sour

The ‘holy trinity’ of tropical, summer-inspired cocktails is what makes sours so exceptional — a 3:2:1 ratio between a spirit, citrus and sugar. The whiskey sour goes back to the 1870s, but it feels as vibrant as ever.

Make yourself a refreshing Whiskey Sour with three parts Bourbon, two parts lemon juice and one part simple syrup. Pour all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker, shake and pour over fresh ice cubes in a short glass. Garnish your sour with a lemon wedge or a cherry. Try this beauty and tell me if this isn’t  one of the best whiskey cocktails for summer. It’s hard not to love!

Traveler’s tip: Float a few teaspoons of dry red wine over your cocktail to turn it into a New York Sour.

The Mint Julep

You can’t talk about the best whiskey cocktails for summer without mentioning the Mint Julep — the Kentucky Derby’s signature drink. With a tradition going back to the 1930s, this is a well-rounded summer drink, too. The key here, as you can surely imagine, is starting with a good Kentucky Bourbon, although nothing stops you from using your favorite whiskey instead.

Using a bar muddler, gently bruise a few mint leaves with a teaspoon of sugar in a glass, and top with crushed ice. Pour your whiskey and stir gently. Garnish with a fresh mint sprig. You can drink these all day long; the Julep is just that good!

The John Collins

Sometimes the best whiskey cocktails for summer are the least complicated, and that’s precisely the case with this warm-weather specialist, the John Collins. For this one, we’re traveling to 1869, London.  Collins cocktails are actually a family of drinks. They’re the oversized versions of the sours, so we’ll revisit the combination of spirit-citrus-sugar, this time topped with fizzy sparkling water.

In a highball glass filled with ice, pour 1.5 ounces of your favorite whiskey, 1 ounce of freshly squeezed lemon juice, and an ounce of simple syrup. Top with soda and stir gently. Garnish with a lemon wheel.

Traveler’s tip: Substitute the spirit to meet the wide variety of refreshing Collins drinks. From Rum to Tequila, everything goes, and they’re all worthy of being on the best whiskey cocktails for summer list.

The Lynchburg Lemonade

This more recent summer cocktail goes back only a few decades to the 1980s, when, we must admit, cocktails weren’t all that great. Still, the Lynchburg Lemonade is a classic and deserves a place in the 21st century.

The glorious combination of 2 ounces Jack Daniel’s, 1-ounce triple sec (orange liqueur), 1-ounce lime juice, topped with lemon-lime soda is thrilling — it’s a just-say-summer drink that tastes like a Margarita, but better.

Named after the town of Lynchburg, Tennessee, home of the Jack Daniel’s distillery, this drink is more sophisticated than you think.

What’s your Favorite Whiskey Cocktail for Warm Weather?

Try the one of these best whiskey cocktails for summer and share your thoughts!

Related: Bourbon Bucket List

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About Todd Smidt

Todd is a man of simple tastes: traveling, words, whiskey, & dad jokes. He enjoys first-rate banter, long walks along the coast, High West, and Vonnegut. He spends his free time traveling the world, drinking whiskey, and writing about it.

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