In addition to the Old Fashioned recipes (recently highlighted in our blog “Favorite Old Fashioned Drink Recipe Ideas”), you should also know the following bourbon drink recipes by heart and hold them close. In a nutshell, we’ve once again brought in a couple of our industry’s aficionados. So, watch for The Bourbon Enthusiast’s and Bourbon Brotha’s choice bourbon cocktails below. Follow them at @BourbonEnthusiast and @BourbonBrotha.
Basically, we’ve gathered a couple of our own favorite bourbon drink recipes, combining with a few of the experts’ top picks. And, when we say you should know them by heart, you can, of course, memorize them. But we also mean that they’re both old and new classics that you’ll learn to love and appreciate as Bourbon fan (if you don’t already).
We’re kicking things off with this national treasure. The Manhattan got its start in the 1870s at the Manhattan Club in New York City. Though he often takes his bourbon neat and his preferred bourbon cocktail is the Old Fashioned, Bourbon Brotha’s Manhattan is another favorite.
Here’s the Bourbon Brotha Manhattan recipe:
2 oz. Old Scout Straight Bourbon Whiskey
1 oz. Gallo Sweet Vermouth
2 dashes of Beehive Bitters Spiced Orange
First things first: Place your martini glass in the freezer. Next, combine all ingredients in a shaker (unless you have a bar strainer). Do not shake; stir with a bar spoon to maintain the texture of the drink. Pour your Manhattan into your chilled glass.
He says that the Manhattan is a simple classic and that it’s “easy to master and make your own.” With a little time and practice come personal twists that make for quality drinks. The main idea is to let the bourbon speak loud and clear; don’t complicate it. Bourbon Brotha confesses he can’t even order Manhattans at bars anymore because he prefers his particular version.
Keeping with bourbon and sweet vermouth, we head into the Boulevardier of the 1920s. We’re just adding the bright red and ever-herbal liqueur, Campari, to the equation. James Ashcraft, “The Bourbon Enthusiast,” says this is one of his favorites for sure. Here’s the recipe:
2 oz. Bourbon or Rye Whiskey
1 oz. Campari
1 oz. Sweet Vermouth
1 Orange Twist
Combine the bourbon, Campari, and vermouth (Carpano Antica) in a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice and shake vigorously for about 20 seconds. Strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with an orange twist.
“The Boulevardier has little wiggle room for innovation, so flavors should be very consistent when ordering out at a bar. They whiskey choice is really the only variable,” says Ashcraft. Because the cocktail has a mere three ingredients, the whiskey is the most important element, of course.
Our Bourbon Enthusiast adds that the Boulevardier is more of a bitter, even spicier drink, so a smooth bourbon is the best option. Try Elijah Craig or Four Roses for a great balance.
The elegant and satisfying Boulevardier taking center stage. Source: The Bourbon Enthusiast
This one was up and racing in the 1930s and still stands as the traditional and official Kentucky Derby Day cocktail. Perfect for summertime, this one has to be in your bourbon wheelhouse.
Mint Julep Recipe
2 parts Woodford Reserve Bourbon
8-10 Fresh Mint Leaves
2 Bar Spoonful Superfine Sugar
Tip: Rub the inside of the pewter or copper Julep cup with a few of the mint leaves, releasing the oils. Combine mint, sugar, and bourbon. Add a little pellet ice and stir. Add more ice. Garnish with two mint sprigs, and dust with powdered sugar.
Watch this step-by-step Mint Julep Video with Chicago’s Johnny Costello as your guide!
Speaking of derbies and thirties, here’s another bourbon delight hailing from the other side of the country—California and the iconic Brown Derby restaurant chain. This cocktail brings a bit more of the bittersweet fruit game, but it’s stuck around since that Golden Age of Hollywood.
Brown Derby Recipe
2 oz. Bourbon
1 oz. Fresh Grapefruit Juice
½ oz. Honey Syrup
Combine bourbon, fruit juice, and syrup (equal parts honey and hot water) with ice in a Boston Shaker. Shake for 15 seconds. Double-strain the concoction into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist or wedge of grapefruit.
Check out Liquor.com’s How To Make a Brown Derby Video for more historical details and a step-by-step guide.
Slow down with a “Walk Don’t Run,” Chef Tom Gray’s 21st-century cocktail menu favorite @MoxieFL, referenced by The Bourbon Enthusiast. Gray opened Moxie in 2013, and Ashcraft deems this drink as his all-time favorite cocktail. Here’s the Moxie recipe:
Walk Don’t Run Recipe
2 oz. Bourbon
1 oz. Aperol
1 oz. Cocchi Americano
4 Dashes of Bitters
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and stir thoroughly. Pour over ice. Garnish with a Luxardo cherry.
Ashcraft often uses Buffalo Trace Bourbon for this one, along with Fee Brothers Original Bitters. He says that the Walk Don’t Run “truly represents everything a cocktail should be". And, amazingly, "the bourbon blends extremely well with the other ingredients, yielding a nice, flavorful cocktail.” Get ready for a slightly sweet, slightly bitter, and overall well-balanced bourbon experience.
Have a Blast with Our Fav Bourbon Drink Recipes!
All right, mixologists - both the new and the experienced alike, in conclusion, go ahead and break out these historical and trendy bourbon beauties soon. We hope you have a blast tasting all the wonderful warmth that these bourbon drink recipes deliver.
While you’re here, scoot over to Prestige Decanters for some unique, artisan whiskey decanters and accessories. Remember to follow us on Instagram @prestigedecanters. And find our two experts @bourbonenthusiast and @bourbonbrotha for more recipes and tips.
What’s your favorite bourbon drink recipe? Share it with the Prestige Decanters community below. Cheers!