Kentucky Coffee

Kentucky Coffee With Bourbon Whiskey
S&C Design Studios
  • Total: 5 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 1 cocktail (1 serving)

You would be correct in assuming that a Kentucky coffee combines bourbon and coffee. While it is a simple recipe, a little honey liqueur is tossed into the mix to sweeten things up. It's a tasty combination that was made with whiskey drinkers in mind and is sure to keep you warm on the coldest days of the year.

Bourbon is a perfect complement to coffee. The whiskey often offers big vanilla and caramel overtones and some impart notes of cinnamon and spice as well. This recipe calls for the bold flavor and natural spiciness of Wild Turkey 101 and the brand's American Honey Liqueur. It's an all-American spiked coffee that celebrates bourbon at its best and has a wonderful Kentucky flair.

You can even dress it up with a little whipped cream if you like, and that will soften the flavors a bit. Then again, it's fabulously robust when left as is, especially if you choose a strongly brewed dark roast coffee.


  • 1 ounce bourbon whiskey (Wild Turkey 101)
  • 1/2 ounce honey liqueur (Wild Turkey American Honey Liqueur)
  • 6 ounces hot coffee (or amount needed to fill mug)
  • Garnish: whipped cream

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for a Kentucky Coffee Cocktail
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  2. In a pre-heated coffee mug or Irish coffee glass, pour the bourbon and honey liqueur.

    Pour the Whiskey and Honey Liqueur for a Kentucky Coffee
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  3. Fill with freshly-brewed hot coffee.

    Making a Whiskey-Spiked Kentucky Coffee
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  4. Garnish with whipped cream if desired. 

    Kentucky Coffee With Bourbon Whiskey
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  5. Serve and enjoy!


  • Avoid those last few sips of cold coffee by warming up your glass. Simply fill your mug with hot water while the coffee's brewing or heat a water-filled mug in the microwave for about 10 seconds. Dump out the water, then build your drink.
  • Your average coffee from that reliable drip coffee maker will create a nice drink. Yet, a better Kentucky coffee can be made by beginning with a thicker, richer coffee.
  • For cocktails, consider brewing with a French press or use a pour-over method. You could also start with fresh-brewed espresso and add hot water (Caffé Americano style) to increase the volume.
  • Wild Turkey 101 is a very bold bourbon, as are other higher-proof options like Knob Creek and Bulleit. The higher the alcohol content, the stronger the flavors; a rather desirable element in coffee drinks.
  • If you prefer a softer whiskey flavor, choose one that's bottled at 80 proof and known for a softer profile. Maker's Mark and Woodford Reserve are two well-known options. However, there are many excellent whiskies in the category to explore, including those from small craft distilleries.

Recipe Variations

  • As an alternative to Wild Turkey American Honey, Evan Williams Honey Reserve is a nice liqueur that also has a bourbon base. You might also think about using Barenjäger. The German honey liqueur is rather rustic, yet it's also quite refined.
  • For a spiced twist, skip the honey liqueur and pour a cinnamon whiskey liqueur instead. Look for the "Fire" bottles from whiskey makers like Jim Beam or Jack Daniel's or pick up Fireball.

How Strong Is the Kentucky Coffee?

The strength of your Kentucky coffee is going to depend on the amount of coffee you add to the liquor. For instance, if you were to fill an 8-ounce coffee mug and use the two spirits in the recipe, the drink's alcohol content would be right around 9 percent ABV (18 proof). It's relatively mild and that's why it's so soothing.