Whiskey is a historic spirit, encompassing a diverse array of recipes and distillation techniques.
However, the one thing all whiskey has in common is that it’s aged in wooden barrels, giving it a distinct smokey, earthy flavor
If whiskey is your spirit of choice, there’s no shortage of delicious cocktails in which to enjoy it.
This article explores summer whiskey cocktails you can make to beat the heat and make the most of your vacation season.
Named for the muddling method you use to infuse whiskey with flavor, the Whiskey Smash is a tart and herbaceous cocktail to cool you down. This recipe instructs you to muddle fresh mint with lemon slices to release a blast of minty citrus into the whiskey of your choice. Simple syrup balances the tartness.
One of the most iconic whiskey cocktails, the Mint Julep is the official cocktail of the Kentucky Derby. Whether you’re a horse racing fan or not, this cocktail is a delightful summertime treat.
It’s a simple three-ingredient cocktail consisting of bourbon, mint, and simple syrup. You muddle mint and simple syrup in a glass to infuse the smoky bourbon with a rich, sweet mint flavor.
This simple cocktail dates back to a popular politician’s bar in the 1800s where a bartender added lime juice to regular customer Colonel Joe Rickey’s standard bourbon and soda. Colonel Rickey’s enthusiastic approval inspired his namesake cocktail.
Bourbon and soda with a splash of lime is a perfect option for drinkers who want to enjoy a refreshing bourbon drink that isn’t full of sweeteners.
Sours are a popular recipe for any spirit, providing a tart and sweet foundation. All sours contain a blend of citrus juice or some form of acid and a sweetener. This Whiskey Sour uses lemon juice and simple syrup with your choice of rye or bourbon. A few drops of angostura bitters add sophistication. The piece de resistance is the egg white, which gives it a white foamy top.
Perhaps the Gold Rush gets its name due to its deep amber hue, thanks to the honey syrup. The Gold Rush is a three-ingredient cocktail that blends honey, lemon, and bourbon. It is a type of Whiskey Sour.
It is an easy cocktail to whip up and tastes especially delicious with a mid-aged bourbon as the honey helps to highlight the earthy, smoky notes from the oak barrels.
This complex and sophisticated cocktail lives up to its lofty name. It is easy to make as it consists of equal parts of each of its four ingredients. This modern bourbon cocktail uses various classic ingredients including Amaro liqueur and Aperol. It is a perfect balance of sweet, smoky, bitter, and lemon juice bringing tart citrus.
Lynchburg is home to the famous Jack Daniel’s Whiskey distillery, so you know it showcases their signature Tennessee whiskey. This popular 80s cocktail gets an upgrade with this recipe that rids sour mix in favor of all-natural lemon juice and simple syrup. Triple sec and lemon-lime soda give this lemonade carbonation and an extra citrus boost.
Blackberry Bourbon Smash
This delicious summer cocktail is a Northern take on a mojito, using forest fruits and fresh basil to blend with bourbon. Using frozen blackberries muddled with basil, sugar, and lime, the Blackberry Bourbon Smash is equal parts sweet and tart with a rich, smokey finish from the Bourbon.
The Beachy Bourbon cocktails will whisk you away to the Mediterranean, blending the famous Italian liqueur Campari with bourbon, lime, and ginger beer. This cocktail delivers a trifecta of bitter, spicy, and sweet flavors.
The Campari mixed with ginger beer and bourbon creates a pretty reddish-orange hue.
Sweet Tea Old Fashioned
Whiskey distilleries in the U.S. center around the deep South, and there’s no more beloved drink for quenching your thirst and serving guests than sweet tea. This Sweet Tea Old Fashioned will impress Southerners and Northerners alike.
It concentrates sweet tea into a tea-infused simple syrup that blends with rye whiskey and your choice of aromatic bitters.
Peach Bourbon Arnold Palmer
If you can’t decide between lemonade and tea, you can have them both with an Arnold Palmer. This boozy, summery take on the classic half-lemonade-half-tea libation adds peach schnapps and bourbon to the mix. It tastes like a peach tea and lemonade Arnold Palmer with a rich, alcoholic finish from the Bourbon.
Irish Maid Cocktail
This dainty and botanical cocktail showcases whiskey from the other side of the pond. Irish whiskey gets a botanical complement from elderflower liqueur. Lemon juice and muddled cucumber add a refreshing and delicate foundation.
While Guinness drinks and Irish Coffee are Ireland’s most famous drinks, they’re too heavy for the summer heat. The Irish Maid cocktail is a great summer cocktail.
Cherry Whiskey Smash
Cherries are everyone’s favorite summer fruit, their rich, sweet flavor is a fleeting treat you can only get a few precious months a year. This summer whiskey cocktail combines muddled cherries and fresh cherry juice with mint and lemon slices to receive a spicy shot of rye whiskey.
This is a great cocktail to make for a ladies’ night.
Strawberry Whiskey Lemonade
This three-ingredient spiked strawberry lemonade makes enough for a family barbecue. It also gives you free rein to choose your favorite type of whiskey and your favorite brand of lemonade.
The piece de resistance is the homemade strawberry syrup, using fresh strawberries reduced in sugar. If you have any leftover syrup, you could blend it with mineral water for a strawberry Italian soda.
Whiskey Tiki Sour
Tiki cocktails are almost exclusively rum-based, but this Whiskey Tiki Sour proves that whiskey is worthy of a tropical upgrade, too. This recipe combines a whiskey sour with the flavors of a Mai Tai. Whiskey, lime, and bitters combine with orgeat, pineapple, and allspice.
The almond-flavored orgeat pairs beautifully with the spicy, caramel notes in aged whiskey.
Sweet Bourbon Peach Smash
There’s nothing like biting into a fuzzy yellow peach and feeling sweet juice fill your mouth to know it's summertime. This Sweet Bourbon Peach Smash smashes a whole yellow peach to infuse the Bourbon. Lemon juice and ginger beer make up the remaining ingredients, delivering a bubbly, sweet bourbon cocktail with a bitter finish thanks to a few drops of grenadine.
Whiskey encompasses a broad range of flavor profiles, which means that summer whiskey cocktails contain a diverse variety of ingredients.
Whether you want sweet and fruity or earthy and spicy, our list of summer whiskey cocktails aims to please you.
Let us know which summer whiskey cocktail was the biggest hit at your summer soiree in the comments below.
16 Summer Whiskey Cocktails
- Pick your favorite recipe
- Gather all the needed ingredients
- Prep a tasty cocktail in less than 5 minutes
GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings