Most people who aren’t familiar with what makes a bourbon cocktail would probably answer that it’s just any drink made out of Bourbon. Cocktail enthusiasts, however, would argue that there is more to bourbon drinks than just dropping some bourbon into different types of mixers until the result is palatable.
For one thing, they’ll point out that not all bourbons are created equally. It can be difficult for an amateur bartender or casual liquor buyer to know the difference between the varieties of American whiskey, but knowing which ones work best in cocktails is key for making good drinks.
What is a Bourbon Cocktail?
Bourbon cocktails are the latest trend in drinking, and it is easy to see why. Bourbon is a type of American whiskey with a rich and smooth taste that mixes well with most alcoholic drinks and flavorings.
It also comes from one of America’s oldest industries; bourbon distilleries have been around since the late 1700s! Many people enjoy their Bourbon poured over ice or mixed up into classic drinks like Mint Juleps.
Bourbon cocktails first became popular in the 1920s, during Prohibition. During this period, many other unique cocktail recipes were invented as creative ways to get around the dry laws congress had put into effect.
Today, you can find all sorts of different bourbon cocktails at bars across America, ranging from classics like the Mint Julep to experimental new drinks like the Kentucky Mule (bourbon, ginger beer, and lime juice) or Bourbon Peach Punch.
Bourbon does not need to be mixed to taste good; you can also drink it straight up if you prefer. This is a common way of drinking bourbon in some other parts of the world, such as Japan. Other people like having their bourbon with water on the rocks. Whatever your preference, we hope you enjoy these bourbon cocktail recipes!
What is Bourbon?
Bourbon has several requirements that must be met before it can be called Bourbon. All bourbons are whiskey, but not all whiskey is Bourbon. Whiskey only has to contain at least 51 percent of any one grain and can also include other types of grains.
There are several rules for Bourbon, including:
- The mash used for making Bourbon must have a minimum of 51 percent corn.
- The new charred oak barrels for aging Bourbon must be made from American white oak and can only be used once. The insides of these barrels do not have to be charred or toasted, but some distillers choose to char their interior before putting the freshly distilled whiskey in the barrel. This allows a small amount of air inside the barrel while also imparting a smoky wood flavor.
Easy Bourbon Cocktail Recipes
We all love bourbon cocktails. Whether summer bourbon cocktails for the summer or simple bourbon cocktails for your party any season of the year. They’re great drinks for socializing and having fun with friends, but many people don’t know that there are different styles of Bourbon to use when making easy bourbon cocktails.
Bourbon is a type of American whiskey that is made from at least 51% corn mash, has no color additives, and is stored in new charred oak barrels.
Here are the four most popular types of Bourbon:
- Bourbon – The standard style.
- Rye – Made using at least 51% rye in the mash bill.
- Wheat – Made using at least 51% wheat in the mash bill.
- Sour Mash – A mixture of mashed rye or wheat (at least 20%) along with sugar and yeast, which creates an enzyme that helps break down the mash while distilling, thus maintaining continuity of flavor between batches.
No matter which type you prefer, here are five easy bourbon cocktails that everyone should enjoy.
- Crushed ice
- 1 1/2 oz. bourbon
- 3 sprigs fresh mint
- Sugar to taste
- Muddle together all ingredients in a glass and serve cold.
- Garnish with a slice of orange and more fresh mint if desired.
- 2 oz. bourbon (or rye or dry vermouth )
- 4 dashes bitters
- 2 drops Maraschino liqueur, for garnish
- Add all ingredients except the liqueur and stir until fully chilled in a shaker filled with ice cubes.
- Strain into a chilled martini glass, then top off with Maraschino liqueur for garnish if desired.
- 1/2 oz. simple syrup
- 2 dashes bitters
- 1 orange wheel
- 4 cherries
- 3 oz. bourbon
- Muddle together the simple syrup, bitters, and orange in an old-fashioned glass filled with crushed ice.
- Pour in Bourbon and stir to mix.
- Garnish the drink with cherries on a pick or the rim of the glass as desired.
- Simple Syrup
- 1/2 oz. lemon juice
- 2 oz. citrus vodka
- 3 drops saline solution (or enough water to taste)
- Add the simple syrup, lemon juice, vodka, and saline solution in a shaker filled with ice cubes.
- Shake well to mix completely.
- Pour into a chilled martini glass or shot glass if desired.
Mint Julep Float
- Root beer
- 1 oz. bourbon
- Mint leaves
- Fill an old-fashioned glass halfway with ice cubes.
- Pour in root beer, then top off with Bourbon.
- Garnish with fresh mint leaves for added style.
Words of wisdom
The easiest way to impress at your next house party is by having excellent tasting bourbon cocktails on hand that everyone can enjoy, whether it be summer bourbon cocktails during summer or simple bourbon cocktails all year round.
Have fun experimenting with these five easy recipes to find new favorites!
Is Bourbon always the best choice for making cocktails?
My advice is always to buy your favorite Bourbon first and then branch out from there. There are so many different styles and flavor profiles that it’s really hard to make a blanket recommendation on which one will taste best in a cocktail.
Bourbon tends to be more expensive than scotch but cheaper than Cognac or Irish whiskey, and the prices of individual brands will vary wildly from store to store.
For instance, I bought a bottle of Buffalo Trace for about $27 at my local Kroger, while the next time I visited my parents, they had a shelf full of bottles for around $45-$50 each. There are plenty of great deals out there if you look carefully enough!