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Gold Rush

The Gold Rush is a simple yet delicious cocktail recipe to impress your guests. This bourbon-based drink is made with honey and lemon juice, creating a perfect balance of sweet and sour flavors.

Boozy Refreshing Bourbon Gold Rush Cocktail with Lemon

To make a Gold Rush cocktail, you only need three ingredients: bourbon, honey, and lemon juice. For an extra touch of elegance, garnish with a lemon peel. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also experiment with adding egg white to create a frothy texture, or substituting the bourbon with rye or scotch for a different twist on the classic recipe.

Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or just want to unwind at home, the Gold Rush cocktail is a perfect choice. It’s easy to make, yet sophisticated enough to impress even the most discerning cocktail connoisseur. So, why not try making one tonight and see for yourself why this drink has become a beloved favorite among bartenders and home mixologists alike?


The Gold Rush cocktail is a modern classic that was created in the early 2000s by T.J. Siegal, a bartender at the famed New York City bar, Milk & Honey. The cocktail is often assumed to be a pre-Prohibition classic due to its popularity, but it is actually a modern creation.

Gold Rush Cocktail on the background of the bar with space for text, golden screw

The Gold Rush cocktail quickly became a hit at Milk & Honey and was soon served and enjoyed around the world. It is now Siegal’s main claim to fame, and he is recognized as one of the pioneers of the modern craft cocktail movement.

Sasha Petraske, Siegal’s childhood friend, opened Milk & Honey in 1999 and was one of the early breakout successes in the craft cocktail scene. The bar became known for its classic cocktails made with fresh ingredients and attention to detail.

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How to Make It

Boozy Refreshing Bourbon Gold Rush Cocktail with Lemon

Gold Rush

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes


  • 2 ounces of bourbon whiskey (we recommend Four Roses or Knob Creek)
  • 3/4 ounce of fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 ounce of honey syrup (see recipe below)
  • Ice cubes
  • Lemon peel for garnish (optional)


  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
  2. Pour 2 ounces of bourbon whiskey into the shaker.
  3. Add 3/4 ounce of fresh lemon juice to the shaker.
  4. Add 3/4 ounce of honey syrup to the shaker.
  5. Shake the shaker vigorously for about 15 seconds.
  6. Strain the mixture into a double old fashioned glass filled with ice cubes.
  7. Garnish with a lemon peel (optional).


  • To make honey syrup, combine equal parts honey and hot water in a small container. Stir until the honey is fully dissolved. Store the syrup in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
  • Use fresh lemon juice for the best flavor.
  • If you don't have a cocktail shaker, you can use a mason jar with a lid.
  • Adjust the amount of honey syrup to your taste preferences.
  • Use a high-quality bourbon whiskey for the best taste.

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Selecting Your Bourbon

The best bourbon for a Gold Rush is a matter of personal preference. Some good options include Maker’s Mark, Buffalo Trace, or Woodford Reserve. You can also experiment with different bourbons to find the one you like best. 

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bottle of best cheap bourbon and two glasses with ice

Experiment with different types of bourbon, or even rye, to find your favorite Gold Rush recipe. Brands like Four Roses and Knob Creek also make great options. Don’t forget to keep your ingredients and glassware chilled in the refrigerator or with ice cubes before serving.


The Gold Rush cocktail is a simple and delicious drink that can be easily customized to suit your taste. Here are a few variations to try:

Irish Gold Rush

Swap the bourbon for Irish whiskey, and you’ll have an Irish Gold Rush. The smooth, slightly sweet flavor of Irish whiskey pairs well with the honey and lemon in this cocktail.

Bee’s Knees

The Bee’s Knees is a gin-based cocktail that’s similar to the Gold Rush. To make it, replace the bourbon with gin and the honey with simple syrup. Shake with ice and strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.


The Penicillin is a smoky variation of the Gold Rush that’s perfect for Scotch lovers. To make it, combine 2 oz. blended Scotch, 3/4 oz. lemon juice, 3/4 oz. honey syrup, and a few dashes of smoky Islay Scotch in a shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with a lemon peel.

Hot Toddy

The Hot Toddy is a warm and comforting variation of the Gold Rush that’s perfect for cold winter nights. To make it, combine 2 oz. bourbon, 1 oz. honey syrup, 3/4 oz. lemon juice, and 4 oz. hot water in a mug. Stir until the honey is dissolved, and garnish with a lemon wheel.

Egg White Gold Rush

For a frothy twist on the classic Gold Rush, add an egg white to the mix. Combine 2 oz. bourbon, 3/4 oz. lemon juice, 1/2 oz. honey syrup, and 1 egg white in a shaker without ice. Shake vigorously for about 30 seconds to emulsify the egg white. Add ice and shake again until well-chilled. Strain into a rocks glass and garnish with a lemon twist.

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What is the difference between a Whiskey Sour and a Gold Rush?

The main difference between a Whiskey Sour and a Gold Rush is the sweetener. A Whiskey Sour is made with simple syrup, while a Gold Rush is made with honey syrup. The honey gives the Gold Rush a richer, deeper flavor than the Whiskey Sour.

Can you make a Gold Rush without egg white?

Yes, you can make a Gold Rush without egg white. The egg white is optional and is used to give the cocktail a frothy texture. If you prefer not to use egg white, simply leave it out of the recipe.

Please drink responsibly, be fully accountable with your alcohol consumption, and show others respect.

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Paul Kushner

Written by Paul Kushner

Founder and CEO of MyBartender. Graduated from Penn State University. He always had a deep interest in the restaurant and bar industry. His restaurant experience began in 1997 at the age of 14 as a bus boy. By the time he turned 17 he was serving tables, and by 19 he was bartending/bar managing 6-7 nights a week.

In 2012, after a decade and a half of learning all facets of the industry, Paul opened his first restaurant/bar. In 2015, a second location followed, the latter being featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

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