25 Best Bourbon Cocktails

From a Classic Manhattan to Boozy Eggnog

Classic Manhattan Cocktail

The Spruce / Claire Cohen 

There are countless bourbon cocktails that you can mix up. It's very versatile and the whiskey of choice for many drinkers, so it's no wonder that it makes an appearance in so many impressive recipes. From iconic drinks like the old-fashioned to new recipes that explore interesting flavor pairings, there are many ways to enjoy your favorite bourbons.

  • 01 of 25

    Old-Fashioned

    Old-Fashioned Cocktail

    The Spruce / Claire Cohen 

    Simple and fascinating, few cocktails can beat the old-fashioned. The recipe is unbelievably easy, accenting bourbon with sugar and bitters, as well as orange and soda if you like. The iconic drink is a great choice when you want to slightly enhance your bourbon and really let the whiskey's subtle nuances shine.

  • 02 of 25

    Mint Julep

    Classic Mint Julep Cocktails

    The Spruce / Claire Cohen 

    Though it's a must for the Kentucky Derby, the popular mint julep is a fabulous choice year-round. The mint acts as a cooling contrast to a smooth, bold whiskey, and the sugar brings the two together wonderfully. The flavor is surprisingly complex considering the classic recipe requires just three ingredients.

  • 03 of 25

    Manhattan

    Classic Manhattan Cocktail

    The Spruce / Claire Cohen 

    There are no great secrets to the success of the Manhattan, whiskey's answer to the gin martini. While you can make it with any style of whiskey, bourbon is the choice for many drinkers. Simply grab a bottle of sweet vermouth and some bitters and stir it up.

  • 04 of 25

    John Collins

    John Collins Cocktail

    S&C Design Studios

    Many whiskey cocktails can use any style of the brown liquor, but bourbon is often a favorite. That's certainly the case for the John Collins, one of the best tall drinks you can mix up. The word refreshing immediately comes to mind for this highball thanks to its mix of sweet, sour, and sparkling ingredients.

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  • 05 of 25

    Whiskey Smash

    Jerry Thomas' Classic Whiskey Smash Cocktail

    The Spruce / Claire Cohen

    For a taste of a very old whiskey cocktail, try the whiskey smash. This storied drink has been around since the late 1800s, and it's just as satisfying today. In this recipe, you'll dress up bourbon with simple syrup, lemon, and spearmint. It's also the perfect excuse to break out your muddler.​

  • 06 of 25

    Perfect Manhattan

    Perfect Manhattan cocktail with Knob Creek bourbon whiskey

    The Spruce

    Like the martini, you can also make your Manhattan "perfect." That simply means you'll pour equal amounts of both sweet and dry vermouth. It's a great variation for robust bourbons and anyone who prefers a more complex cocktail.

  • 07 of 25

    Bourbon Sidecar

    Classic Sidecar Cocktail

    The Spruce

    The sidecar is often associated with brandy, but it's intriguing when you switch to bourbon. The bourbon sidecar is a basic sour cocktail that shakes the whiskey with orange-flavored triple sec and lemon juice. Add a sugar rim if you like and enjoy the sweet tang of this unforgettable drink.

  • 08 of 25

    Bourbon Eggnog

    Bourbon eggnog for a holiday party

    The Spruce / Teena Agnel

    You might get a craving for boozy eggnog around the holidays, and bourbon is an excellent choice for the traditional drink. This particular recipe makes enough for an intimate party and your guests will love the made-from-scratch flavor. Choose a bold bourbon so the spirit doesn't get lost among the warming spices.

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  • 09 of 25

    Kentucky Coffee

    Kentucky Coffee with Bourbon Whiskey

    S&C Design Studios

    Whiskey and coffee were made for one another. In the Kentucky coffee, the duo is enhanced with a whiskey-based honey liqueur, offering a sweet touch with a little more booze. Again, the stronger the bourbon, the better.

  • 10 of 25

    Bourbon Tea

    Bourbon Iced Tea

    Mizina / iStock / Getty Images Plus

    Bourbon and sweet tea are Southern staples, so it's only natural that they make a fabulous match. This bourbon tea recipe takes a unique approach to the sweetener, calling for lemon liquor rather than sugar and lemon. It's a wonderful two-for-one ingredient substitution.

  • 11 of 25

    Liquid Bourbon Ball

    Liquid Bourbon Ball Cocktail with Woodford Reserve bourbon whiskey

    Steve Wisbauer / Stockbyte / Getty Images

    A hint of chocolate makes the liquid bourbon ball a spectacular drink. This dessert-worthy cocktail is a great choice for softer whiskeys, and it's not overly sweet. Instead, it gets a rich flavor from crème de cacao and a hazelnut liqueur.

  • 12 of 25

    Apple Sour

    Colleen Graham's Apple Sour Cocktail

    S&C Design Studios

    There are no bad choices when it comes to the bourbon for this apple sour. It's not one of those super puckery cocktails, either (save that for vodka). This is a classically styled rendition of the whiskey sour that brings apple juice into the mix, offering a great way to relax on a crisp autumn day.

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  • 13 of 25

    Boulevardier Cocktail

    Boulevardier Cocktail

    S&C Design Studios

    One of the best whiskey cocktails for a dinner party is the Boulevardier. You can think of it as a whiskey Negroni, and it's an equally enjoyable aperitif. To make it, you'll simply need a quality bourbon, Campari, and sweet vermouth on hand.

  • 14 of 25

    Blind Pilot

    The Blind Pilot Whiskey Cocktail

    S&C Design Studios

    In the world of Manhattans, the smallest touch can make a big impact. That's what you'll find in the blind pilot. This recipe mixes equal parts bourbon, sweet vermouth, and Galliano. The last ingredient brings in a delightful herbal touch led by vanilla and anise that you're sure to enjoy.

  • 15 of 25

    Belmont Jewel

    Woodford Reserve's Belmont Jewel Cocktail

    The Spruce

    Each race in the Triple Crown has a signature cocktail and, when it comes to the Belmont Stakes, that drink is the Belmont jewel. While the recipe changes regularly, this combination of bourbon, lemonade, and pomegranate juice remains a favorite for any occasion.

  • 16 of 25

    Beer, Bourbon, and Barbecue Cocktail

    Beer, Bourbon, and Barbecue Cocktail by Tom Fischer and Steven Dennison

    Carin Krasner / Stockbyte / Getty Images

    Bring everything that's great about a summer barbecue into a single glass with this unique recipe. As the name indicates, you'll find beer, bourbon, and barbecue sauce inside. It's definitely not your average cocktail, but it works out surprisingly well.

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  • 17 of 25

    Pumpkin Old-Fashioned

    Pumpkin Old-Fashioned Cocktail with Bourbon Whiskey
    Lara Hata / Getty Images

    Autumn is the time to break out the pumpkin cocktails. For bourbon lovers, the pumpkin old-fashioned is one you won't want to miss. The seasonal recipe pairs bourbon and orange cognac with pumpkin puree and maple syrup. Add an orange twist and rosemary sprig, and you will have one very fine fall drink.

  • 18 of 25

    Steelers Cider

    Maker's Mark Steelers Cider Cocktail

    David Roth / Photolibrary / Getty Images

    Hot apple cider is comforting on a chilly evening, and it's even better when spiked with bourbon. The Steelers cider is a warm punch made for a small party, and the aromatic brew is easy to mix up ahead of time, then reheat before the big game. All you need is bourbon, apple cider, and a few autumn spices.

  • 19 of 25

    Melon Splash

    Melon Splash Cocktail with Woodford Reserve Bourbon Whiskey

    Woodford Reserve Bourbon Whiskey

    There are many natural flavor pairings for whiskey, but melon is not one that immediately comes to mind. A simple mixed drink, the melon splash proves that it is a nice combination, and it's very easy. Just pick up a bright green melon liqueur, mix it with bourbon, then top it off with a refreshing citrus soda.

  • 20 of 25

    Santa's Whiskey Flip

    Santa's Whiskey Flip Cocktail

    S&C Design Studios

    Santa's whiskey flip is a fun twist on a classic style of cocktail. A mix of cinnamon bourbon, almond-flavored liquor, egg, and cream, it's a comforting drink that's perfect for any holiday affair. For best results, infuse the whiskey with cinnamon yourself; it's straightforward and takes just a few days.

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  • 21 of 25

    Rooster Cocktail

    Rooster Cocktail

    S&C Design Studios

    Sarsparilla and bourbon come together in the rooster cocktail to give you that Old West saloon vibe. Joining the duo, cinnamon liquor brings the two flavors together while a salted rim gives it a little grit.

  • 22 of 25

    Bourbon and Blood

    Gian Saetti's Bourbon and Blood Cocktail

    Tastyart Ltd. Rob White / Photolibrary / Getty Images

    Upgrade your dinner party experience by treating guests to bourbon and blood. It retains the Manhattan's whiskey and sweet vermouth combination, then adds blood-orange liquor and orange bitters. Tarragon gives it an engaging twist and shows off the herb's potential as a cocktail ingredient.

  • 23 of 25

    Kentucky Kiss

    Kentucky Kiss Strawberry Cocktail

    Alejandro Rivera / Getty Images 

    The Kentucky kiss is ideal for Valentine's Day. The recipe pairs bourbon with fresh strawberries, lemon juice for a tart kick, and maple syrup for a dark sweetness. Finished off with club soda and a lovely cocktail is ready to enjoy.

  • 24 of 25

    Sour Sunrise

    Sour Sunrise With Bourbon Whiskey

    The Spruce / S&C Design Studios

    Craving a tequila sunrise but only have bourbon in the bar? Try the sour sunrise. This fun and fancy cocktail comes with the stunning visual of grenadine rising in a glass of spiked orange juice, while lemon juice gives it a sour touch.

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  • 25 of 25

    Three Wise Men Shot

    Three Wise Men Whiskey Shot

    The Spruce

    Featuring a star-studded lineup from the world of whiskey, the three wise men shot is a great way to wrap up your bourbon adventures. It's incredibly simple (and potent), blending together scotch, Tennessee whiskey, and bourbon to create a brown spirit trifecta.