20 best bourbon cocktails

Words by Simon Difford

Photography by Dan Malpass

20 best bourbon cocktails image 1

Our 20 best bourbon cocktails have been selected for their richness of flavour and the way the bourbon mixes harmoniously with the other ingredients.

20 best bourbon cocktails

Follows our favourites of the over 270 bourbon cocktails on Difford's Guide.

ency 52 imageBenton's Old Fashioned
With: Bourbon (bacon fat washed), maple syrup and Angostura Bitters.
We say: Everybody likes Old Fashioneds.



ency 63 imageBoulevardier
With: Bourbon, sweet vermouth and Campari.
We say: Basically, a Negroni with bourbon replacing gin. A combo which Negroni lovers should try.



ency 44 imageBrown Derby
With: Bourbon, pink grapefruit juice and maple syrup.
We say: Maple syrup combines wonderfully with bourbon and balances grapefruit sourness to make a short drink that's equally as enticing at the beginning or end of a night.



ency 93 imageEnrico Palazzo
With: Bourbon, sweet vermouth, Aperol, Suze and Bob's Grapefruit Bitters.
We say: A bittersweet Manhattan-style lightly sparkling cocktail.



ency 15 imageHaberdasher
With: Bourbon, crème de cacao liqueur, Fernet Branca, green chartreuse, single cream and milk.
We say: Chocolaty bourbon with a freshening herbal blast of Fernet Branca, smoothed by sipping through a Chartreuse cream head. The ultimate after-dinner drink.



ency 84 imageHaystack Cocktail
With: Bourbon, Suze, apricot brand liqueur and lemon juice.
We say: Zesty, bittersweet and sweet 'n' sour, this Haystack will make you salivate – a tasty bittersweet and sour aperitif.



ency 90 imageHi Falutin
With: Bourbon, Swedish punsch liqueur and byrrh aromatized wine.
We say: Forceful and Manhattan-like in style but with sweet delicate influences from France and Sweden.



ency 90 imageKentucky Buck
With: Bourbon, lemon juice, sugar syrup, Angostura Bitters, ginger beer and strawberries.
We say: A tall, strawberry influenced bourbon sour with a subtle spicy hint of ginger.



ency 39 imageMidnight Stinger
With: Bourbon, Fernet Branca, lemon juice and sugar syrup.
We say: Just enjoyed a hearty meal? Well, this digestive is just the ticket. If you're not accustomed to the taste of fernet then the first couple of sips may be challenging, but then this very refreshing cocktail becomes eminently sippable, quaffable even, and certainly stomach settling – well, we think so.



ency 18 imageMint Julep
With: Mint leaves, bourbon, sugar syrup and Angostura Bitters.
We say: This superb drink is better if the shaken and its contents are placed in the refrigerator for several hours prior to mixing with ice. This allows the mint flavours to infuse in the bourbon.



ency 42 imageNew York Sour
With: Bourbon, lemon juice, sugar syrup, red wine and Angostura Bitters.
We say: A classic bourbon-based Whiskey Sour made more interesting – both visually and in flavour by the addition of a float of red wine.



ency 67 imageOld Fashioned
With: Bourbon, rye whisky, sugar syrup and Bob's Abbotts Bitters.
We say: The melting and stirring in of ice cubes is essential to the dilution, chilling and so the taste of this sublime classic.



ency 11 imagePaper Plane
With: Bourbon, Aperol, lemon juice and amaro.
We say: This pink/rust red drink is bittersweet with underlying bourbon character and lemon zestiness.



ency 55 imagePerfect Summit Manhattan
With: Bourbon, dry vermouth, Muscat wine, orange curacao liqueur and Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters.
We say: A riff on a Dry Manhattan given extra depth by the addition of dessert wine and whiskey bitters.



ency 45 imageSazerac
With: Absinthe, chilled water, cognac, rye whisky, bourbon, sugar syrup, Peychaud's Bitters and Angostura Bitters.
We say: If you are concerned about chucking expensive absinthe down the drain then consider straining into a shot glass and serve on the side. The five to one proportion used to rinse the glass produces a tasty chaser.



ency 55 imageSunset Strip
With: Bourbon, Aperol and pink grapefruit liqueur.
We say: Being a mix of spirits and liqueurs, it was stirred, as you'd expect of such a combination. However, somewhat reminiscent of Shakerato, the Sunset Strip seems to benefit from the aeration and extra dilution provided by shaking, hence this is the method we've chosen.



ency 94 imageManhattan Sweet
With: Bourbon, sweet vermouth, Angostura Bitters and Maraschino syrup.
We say: I must confess to preferring my Manhattans served 'sweet' or 'perfect' at a push. The Manhattan is complex, challenging and moreish. Best of all, it's available in a style to suit every palate.



ency 66 imageVieille Place
With: Bourbon, cognac, Suze, dry vermouth, amaretto liqueur, sugar syrup, Peychaud's Bitters and Angostura Bitters.
We say: Spirit-forward and bittersweet yet balanced and eminently drinkable. Reminiscent of an old-fashioned but with the option to enjoy as an aperitif.



ency 81 imageVieux Carré
With: Bourbon, cognac, Benedictine, sweet vermouth, Angostura Bitters and Peychaud's Bitters.
We say: Like an ultra-smooth and complex Sweet Manhattan served on the rocks.



ency 10 imageWhiskey Smash
With: Bourbon, mint leaves, lemon juice and sugar syrup.
We say: A mint flavoured version of the Whiskey Sour.

Join the Discussion


... comment(s) for 20 best bourbon cocktails

You must log in to your account to make a comment.

Report comment