5 Refreshing BOURBON COCKTAILS To Get You Through Quarantine

Article Submission by Matthew Martino

Bourbon has a reputation for being one of those dark spirits you can only drink in the winter months. And while there are few things better than sipping on an Old Fashioned or a Boulevardier in front of the fireplace when the cold weather hits, there are also tons of delicious bourbon-based cocktails that’ll help you beat the heat.

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If you think clear spirits like gin, vodka, and tequila are only for the summertime, you’re missing out on all the versatility and depth of flavour that bourbon has to offer.

Plus, many bourbons go great with classic summer fruits like strawberries and blackberries. So, don’t put away your favourite whiskeys just because the sun’s out— here are 5 refreshing bourbon cocktails to help get you through the summer quarantine!

1) Kentucky Mule

The American cousin to the Moscow Mule, this cocktail is just as refreshing, easy to make—and easy to drink—but with way more flavour. The classic vanilla and butterscotch notes of bourbon stand up great to the spicy earthiness of ginger beer.

Ingredients: 

  • 2 oz. bourbon 
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice 
  • 4 oz. of ginger beer, or to top of the glass

Steps: 

  • Fill a tall glass with ice. 
  • Add in the bourbon and lime juice, then fill to the top with ginger beer. 
  • Garnish with some mint and/or a lime wedge if you’re feeling fancy.



2) Gold Rush

 

This cocktail is about as easy as shaken cocktails get. Created at the famous Milk & Honey bar in NYC in 2001, the Gold Rush is basically a bourbon version of the Bees Knees (which is gin, honey syrup, and lemon juice. I don’t have to tell you how well bourbon and honey go together, and paired with the tartness of the lemon, it’s almost like a rich, whiskey lemonade. So simple yet complex, this is another refreshing cocktail that goes down way too easy.

 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 oz. bourbon 
  • 3/4 oz. lemon juice 
  • 3/4 oz. honey syrup*
*Honey syrup: Honey syrup is nothing more than honey diluted with hot water to make it incorporate better in the cocktail (if not, the straight honey would just solidify into one glob). You can do equal parts honey to water, or a 2-to-1 ratio. It’s ultimately up to you: the more honey you have, the thicker and more intense the flavour will be.

 

Steps: 

  • Add all the ingredients to your shaker filled with ice and shake for 10-15 seconds. 
  • Strain into a rocks glass with a large ice cube. 
  • Garnish with a lemon peel. 

Here’s a video on how to make THE BEST Bee’s Knees, from your favorite bartender:

3) Mint Julep

Created in the 18th century, the Mint Julep is the signature drink of the Kentucky Derby and there’s a reason people still love it 200+ years later. It’s refreshing, strong, not too sweet, and highlights some classic summer flavours. The key to this drink is serving it with a mountain of crushed ice; bourbon is the main ingredient here and there’s very little other mixers, therefore, the crushed ice will bring the proper dilution and chill this drink needs. This cocktail isn’t meant to be knocked back in 30 seconds— this one’s a slow porch/poolside sipper.

Because this drink is basically all booze, go for a smooth, lighter-bodied bourbon like Basil Hayden’s or Buffalo Trace.

Ingredients: 

  • 2 oz. bourbon 
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup* 
  • 8 mint leaves
*Simple syrup is just equal parts sugar and water brought to a boil until the sugar is dissolved. Easy tutorial shown below!

 

Steps: 

  • At the bottom of your rocks or highball glass, lightly muddle the mint and simple syrup (don’t murder those leaves, just lightly press on them to release their oils). 
  • Add in the bourbon and pack the glass with crushed ice. 
  • Stir until the glass is really frosted (about 20 seconds). 
  • Top with more crushed ice and garnish with mint.

4) Brown Derby

Another easy-to-drink three-ingredient shaken cocktail. This perfect mix of sweet and sour was created during the golden age of Hollywood and calls for pink grapefruit juice instead of the traditional lemon or lime. You might be surprised how well the grapefruit and bourbon go together, but it just goes to show how versatile and refreshing bourbon can be.

 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 oz. bourbon 
  • 1 oz. pink grapefruit juice 
  • 1/2 oz. honey syrup

 

Steps: 

  • Add all the ingredients to your shaker filled with ice and shake for 10-15 seconds. 
  • Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe. Pinkies up, obviously.

5) Bourbon Smash

The beauty of this drink is that it’s so customizable. The “smash” just refers to muddled seasonal fruit. So while lemon and mint have become classic in this drink, you can use whatever you got. Blood orange, cherry, strawberry, blackberry, rosemary, basil— they would all be amazing in this drink! So, go wild and experiment, you’ve got the time now anyway.

 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 oz. bourbon 
  • 3/4 oz. simple syrup 
  • 3 lemon wedges 
  • 6-8 mint leaves

Steps: 

  • Muddle the lemon in your shaker. You can go a little crazy on those bad boys— you want all the juice. 
  • Add in the remaining ingredients and gently muddle to express the mint. 
  • Fill with ice and shake for 10-15 seconds. 
  • Strain into a rocks glass with ice. 
  • Slap some mint springs in your hand to express the oils and then garnish.

With these five easy recipes, you’ve got all you need to have a bourbon-filled, boozy summer and survive the quarantine! Let us know which cocktail was your favorite