10 Bourbon Cocktails to Sip and Savor Now
Warm, golden and comforting — no wonder this classic American spirit is always a hit during the cool fall season.
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As summer begins to (sadly) wind down, the days of sipping icy mint juleps to beat the heat are long over — but that doesn’t mean bourbon should be kicked to the curb. Smooth and overflowing with rich notes, including roasted oak, citrus and even butterscotch, bourbon makes an excellent sipper whenever the mood strikes to savor something simple.
However, mixologists from across the country are exploring tantalizing ways to get reacquainted with bourbon in the form of new, luscious libations.
READ: Rye Whiskey Makes a Comeback
Still looking for your bourbon fix but want to shake things up? Consider whipping up one of these new bourbon cocktails, perfect for the final days of summer or early weeks of fall:
3 oz. bourbon
2 tsp. confectioners’ sugar
2 sprigs fresh mint
crushed ice to fill one Mason jar
Put bourbon, sugar and mint in the jar and fill with ice. Secure the lid and shake vigorously 50 times. The ice will bruise the mint, releasing its flavor. When well shaken, remove the lid and drink straight from the jar.
(The Fort Restaurant in Colorado. Photo courtesy of Lois Ellen Frank.)
1 ½ oz. bourbon
½ oz. fresh lemon juice
1 dash angostura bitters
3 oz. ginger ale
1 lemon peel
Pour all ingredients over ice in a tall glass. Garnish with the peel of an entire lemon.
(Paul McGee, partner of Bub City in Chicago, Illinois.)
Kings Old Fashioned
2 oz. bourbon
3 sugar cubes
1 bar spoon (about a tsp.) water
1 small twist of both lemon and orange
1 bar spoon bitter walnut syrup
dash of Angostura bitters
Add small twists of lemon and orange, sugar cubes, walnut syrup, water, and bitters in a glass. Muddle well and crush the ingredients, using the sugar as an abrasive against the citrus peel. Add bourbon and ice. Stir and garnish with half a walnut.
(Executive chef/partner Michael Lomonaco of Center Bar in New York City.)
1 ½ oz. Knob Creek 9 Year bourbon
2 oz. grapefruit juice
¼ oz. maple syrup
½ oz. Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur
1 orange wedge
Combine all ingredients (except orange wedge) in a small cocktail shaker with ice. Strain over fresh ice in a rocks glass and garnish with orange wedge.
(Mandarin Oriental in New York City.)
1.5 oz. Johnny Drum Bourbon
0.5 oz. Canton Ginger Liqueur
1 oz. peach nectar
0.5 oz. jasmine tea
5 nectarine slices
5 basil leaves
1 peach slice
Muddle basil and nectarine with the bourbon, liqueur, nectar and tea. Double strain into a rocks glass — rimmed with raw sugar — over one large ice cube. Garnish with a slice of nectarine or peach.
(Steak 954 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.)
Manhattan Beer Slushie
2 12-oz. bottles American lager, such as Budweiser
12 pitted fresh or frozen cherries
3 oz. orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier
10 ½ oz. sweet vermouth
9 oz. bourbon
2 Tbsps. bitters
Pour the beers into an 8-by-8 baking dish. Freeze until slushy, whisking every 30 minutes, for about 4 hours. Meanwhile, put the cherries in a small bowl and pour the orange liqueur over. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours. For each cocktail, spoon about 1 cup beer slush into a rocks glass. Pour 1 ¾ ounces sweet vermouth, 1 ½ ounces bourbon, and 3 dashes bitters into a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice, shake, and strain over the slush in the glass. Garnish with 2 liqueur-soaked cherries. Serve immediately. (Recipe makes 6 cocktails.)
Maple Old Fashioned
2 oz. Spring44 Straight Bourbon
.5 oz. maple syrup
3 dashes Bitterman’s Spiced Cranberry Bitters
1 orange or lemon twist
Add bourbon, syrup and bitters in a mixing glass. Stir and strain. Garnish with an orange or lemon twist.
(Meat Market in South Beach, Florida.)
3 oz. kiwi-watermelon-lime juice
2 oz. bourbon
1 tsp. honey
Splash of water
1 kiwi slice
First, make juice by juicing kiwis, watermelon and limes (following your juicer’s specific settings for each). Then combine the juice, bourbon, honey and a splash of water in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously for 8–10 seconds. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a kiwi slice.
East West Fizz
1 oz. bourbon
½ oz. orange juice
½ oz. pineapple juice
¾ oz. black tea
¼ oz. lemon juice
¼ oz. lime juice
½ oz. simple syrup
Add all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake. Pour in chilled Collins glass. Garnish with fruit.
(Mixologist Nina Pak of Publik Draft House in Atlanta, Georgia.)
Little Boy Blue
2 oz. bourbon
2 oz. blueberry-infused simple syrup
Stout beer, to top
First, make blueberry-infused simple syrup by measuring equal parts water and sugar (1 cup water, 1 cup sugar) in a pot. Add ripe blueberries to the pot. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil, stirring to prevent scorching. Turn down heat and let simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let syrup cool to room temperature. Use a sieve to strain out any solid pieces and bottle the syrup. Once syrup is prepared, add it to bourbon in a mixing glass. Add ice and shake. Strain into a small rocks glass. Top with stout and garnish with blueberries.
(Molly Wellman, author of “Handcrafted Cocktails: The Mixologist’s Guide to Classic Drinks for Monring, Noon & Night.”)