What To Mix With Bourbon: 9 Creative Ideas To Try
Whiskey drinkers around the globe have enjoyed bourbon for nearly two centuries. Known for its trademark dark flavor profile, this coveted liquid leaves an impression on even the most experienced drinkers.
But what makes this whiskey a perfect blend to create delicious and memorable cocktails? The intense flavor profile, often hints of vanilla and caramel tied together by earthy oak, is a delicious addition to drinks of all different types. By using bourbon, you automatically make a drink more complex, robust, and sophisticated.
In this article, we will teach you how to start making bourbon cocktails. We’ll start by learning the classic drinks known for including bourbon, then the seasonal drinks for your next house party or dinner, and lastly, the most complex cocktails for experienced drinkers to try their hands at.
Bourbon: The Perfect Ingredient for Cocktails
Bourbon stands apart from its Irish, Scottish, and Japanese contemporaries.
For one, this uniquely American drink is famous for its high standard of craftsmanship. Aged in charred new oak barrels to garner the deep amber color and rich flavor profile, whiskey drinkers have come to love this corn-infused drink. Here at Oak & Eden, where whiskey is offered with a twist, we know that a multitude of mixed drinks can help make bourbon even more memorable than it already is.
While bourbon is easily enjoyed alone or on the rocks, it might be time you tried your hand at bourbon cocktails. The bourbon drinks on this list come in a variety of flavors to suit your mixology desires. Perhaps you are looking for something to unwind with at the end of the day, or maybe you have a dinner party approaching and want to serve something complex yet flavorful. Either way, bourbon is the answer.
Look no further than the bourbon whiskey cocktails we have compiled below. Whether you are just starting to enjoy bourbon as a novice whiskey drinker or have been drinking the coveted amber liquid for a long time, this curated list aims to help you perfect the art of the cocktail with the perfect ingredient: bourbon.
If you are just starting your bourbon cocktail journey, you will want to start by trying these more popular favorites! These are the drinks that are known for using bourbon and are a must if you are starting to consider yourself a bourbon lover.
1. Whiskey Highball
The highball is as simple as it gets when mixing with bourbon. This cocktail is just whiskey mixed with soda and ice. It’s perfect for a last-minute drink idea when having friends over or perhaps a quick drink before heading out.
- Soda water (You can also use ginger ale or ginger beer)
- Lemon for garnish
2. Classic Old Fashioned
It may be old-fashioned, but boy is it popular. The first recorded definition of a mixed drink requires spirits, sugar, water, and bitters, and as you are about to read, the old fashioned ticks all the marks.
This is a sensuous drink that combines the deep flavor profile of bourbon with the sweet boost of simple syrup and maraschino cherries. A few dashes of bitters help to tie it all together. It is a trademark drink and a must-try for novice bourbon drinkers.
While this timeless drink is considered, well, old-fashioned, it might be one of the most popular cocktails ever.
- 2 tablespoons of simple syrup
- 1 teaspoon water
- 2 dashes bitters
- 1 cup ice
- 1 slice orange peel
- 1 maraschino cherry
3. Kentucky Mule
If the old fashioned had to compete against another bourbon cocktail for popularity, the Kentucky mule would certainly be in strong competition. This drink contains fresh lime juice, ginger beer, bourbon, and simple syrup.
A cousin of vodka’s Moscow mule, the Kentucky mule is noted for its darker flavor profile. Be sure to mix this drink with high-end ginger beer to complement the robust flavor of the bourbon.
- 2 ounces bourbon
- ½ ounce lime juice freshly squeezed
- Ginger beer
- Garnish with mint sprig
4. Bourbon Manhattan
Typically made with rye whiskey, the manhattan is another popular favorite cocktail. Instead, making a Manhattan with bourbon gives the classic cocktail a more robust flavor profile, filled with notes of vanilla, oak, and caramel.
- 2 ounces bourbon whiskey
- 1 ounce sweet red vermouth
- 3 dashes angostura bitters
- Garnish with cherry
Seasonal Bourbon Drinks
If you enjoy throwing seasonal parties, these mixed bourbon drinks are a must-try! While you can enjoy it any time of year, bourbon’s intense flavor profile is a perfect blend for those fall and winter favorites. It’s also a great way to spice up the summer classics!
5. Bourbon Apple Cider
Nothing says winter is coming quite like the bourbon apple cider. When the leaves begin to fall and the air becomes crisp, is there anything more relaxing and timely than this tasty cocktail? With only a few simple ingredients, this drink is easy to make and even easier to enjoy.
Throw another log on the fire and break out that cozy winter sweater because the bourbon apple cider is the perfect seasonal cocktail.
- Bourbon (Our Bourbon and Spire is the perfect blend for a dark wintery drink like this)
- Apple Cider
- Lemon Juice
- Ginger Ale or Ginger Beer
- Spices - Try an apple slice, thyme, or cinnamon stick
6. Bourbon Sour
If the bourbon apple cider is synonymous with snowfall and warm fires, the bourbon sour could be its summery counterpart. The simple yet delicious mix of ingredients makes this drink a perfect blend for a nice relaxing sipper by the pool or perhaps something refreshing after a hard day's work.
This refreshing drink is perfect for anybody looking to sweeten up the flavor profile of bourbon. You don’t have to drink it during the summer, but if you can manage to be sitting by a pool while sipping on this lemon-infused bourbon sour, we tip our hats to you.
- 2 ounces bourbon whiskey
- 1 ounce lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon superfine sugar
- 1 slice of orange or maraschino cherries
7. Cold Brew Bourbon Cocktail
With summer fast approaching, you have probably begun to switch out your hot coffee with something cold and refreshing like cold brew! But did you ever think to add bourbon to the mix?
At Oak & Eden, we believe coffee and bourbon to be such a delicious pairing that we crafted the Bourbon & Brew, the perfect blend of award-winning bourbon whiskey and a spire steeped in cold brew.
Can’t get enough cold brew? Add our cold brew infused bourbon to a cold brew bourbon cocktail for a caffeinated flavorful drink built with a twist.
- Maple syrup
- Triple sec
- Cold brew coffee
- Bourbon (double up on the coffee by using Oak & Eden Bourbon & Brew)
- Heavy cream
Complex Bourbon Cocktails
Are you feeling extra adventurous? Or perhaps you have already tried the Manhattan or the highball and are looking for something a bit more elaborate. Take a look at these complex bourbon mixed drinks!
8. Blackberry Bourbon Smash
One of our all-time favorite bourbon cocktail ideas is the blackberry bourbon smash. Part mint julep, part mojito, this drink is perfect for any time of the year. It offers drinkers a chance to delve into something tangy and lighter since this drink’s main ingredient is club soda.
Some mixed bourbon drinks offer the perfect blend of tradition found in the bourbon and the bright fruitiness found in the rest of the ingredients of the blackberry smash. You can enjoy this drink by a warm winter fire, taking in the hints of the smoky bourbon profile, or enjoy the hints of fruit on a refreshingly cool summer evening. Perfect for any occasion, the blackberry bourbon smash is a must-try creative cocktail.
- Bourbon Whiskey
- Club Soda
9. Boulevardier Cocktail
If the sweeter flavor profiles of the blackberry smash do not interest you, this cross between the Manhattan and the Negroni is sure to entice. Simply flavored, this high-class drink packs a bold punch and can be enjoyed any time of year. Try drinking with one big ice cube or whiskey rock to minimize watering down the bold flavor profile.
Often referred to as the “Negroni’s cousin,” the Boulevardier cocktail is the perfect creative mix for a more sophisticated palette. Be sure to try it out at home or order it the next time you are looking for something more debonair to drink at the bar.
- 2 ounces bourbon
- 1 ounce Campari
- 1 ounce sweet vermouth
- Lemon zest
Start Mixing Today!
The complex, robust flavor profile of bourbon makes it a perfect ingredient in many classic cocktails. Try your hand at making them or ordering them at the bar, and you will not be disappointed. Getting creative with cocktails is one of the best ways to impress some friends and an excellent hobby for drinkers with refined taste. Start mixing today!