Whiskey cocktails are some of the most versatile drinks. From warming to refreshing, you can enjoy a whiskey cocktail all year. But in honor of the fast-approaching summer, we’ve gathered 14 refreshing whiskey cocktails. Made with various whiskeys and mixers, these are the drinks you’ll want to be sipping all summer.
What Type of Whiskey to Use?
Whiskey encompasses a diverse family of spirits made by distilling fermented grains. There’s the well-known bourbon, Scotch, rye, and Irish whiskey. But countries around the world also produce their own whiskeys, like Canada, Japan, and Australia. The flavor can range from sweet to spicy and smooth to strong, depending on how and where the whiskey is made.
A whiskey cocktail can have an equally wide range in flavors when paired with citrus, sweet, bitter, or herbaceous flavors. These mixed drinks can be spirit-forward or balanced — not every whiskey cocktail will taste overwhelmingly like whiskey, and some are made low-proof. There’s a whiskey cocktail for everyone to enjoy this summer.
1. Whiskey Smash
The Whiskey Smash is a cousin to the Mint Julep, it has less of the fan fare without sacrificing any of the flavor. The combination of citrus, mint, and whiskey makes this an easy-to-drink summer cocktail for both whiskey lovers and the whiskey curious.
The Irish Maid is a refreshing whiskey cocktail that is remarkably light tasting. A twist on the Kentucky Maid; it’s made with muddled cucumber, St-Germain, zesty citrus, simple syrup, and Irish whiskey. You’ll want to drink this one all summer long.
It’s believed that Prince Albert, the future King Edward VII, created this cocktail before ascending the throne. It’s the perfect mix of spicy rye, aromatic bitters, silky maraschino liqueur, tropical pineapple, and sparkling champagne. The sophisticated drink is sure to elevate a summer cocktail hour.
This Kentucky cocktail from Seelbach Hotel in Louisville has the essential base spirit of bourbon. With both Angostura and Peychaud’s bitters, the drink is an intriguing sipper and attractive cocktail with the addition of orange liqueur and champagne.
The perfect lazy summer afternoon beverage isn’t from Kentucky. The only Kentucky thing about the Kentucky Buck is the bourbon, but the muddled strawberries, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, ginger beer, and Angostura make a delicious whisky cocktail.
Originally made with gin, the John Collins is a light and low-proof bourbon-based cocktail. It combines the base spirit with lemon juice, sugar, and soda water. It’s both incredibly refreshing and exceedingly easy to make.
This simply made, low-proof cocktail is an ideal summer drink, perfect for enjoying on a hot afternoon poolside or taken to-go on the golf course. It takes the classic half-iced tea & half-lemonade drink and adds a dash of bourbon to give it that “Kentucky Hug.”
The Brown Derby is unlike other whiskey cocktails with its light and refreshing flavor. Often enjoyed at brunch, it blends the sweetness from the bourbon and a bit of honey with the citrus tang of grapefruit juice.
Perhaps the most simply made cocktail on the list, the 7 and 7 requires minimal effort and is low-proof. Mix whiskey and lemon and lime soda in a glass for a summer cocktail ideal to quench your thirst on a sunny summer afternoon.
Flavorful bourbon, sweetness, and a balance of citrus and ginger beer spice make the Kentucky Mule a refreshing cocktail. This whiskey cocktail is built in the glass, making it incredibly easy to make; if a copper mug isn’t available, a highball glass will do just fine.
The splashy eye-catching cocktail, the New York Sour, takes the classic Whiskey Sour and adds a “float” of red wine on top. Its flavor is dry and citrus-sweet, a refreshingly sophisticated ode to summer. While not traditionally served with an egg white like other sours, some enjoy the smoother, blended flavor by adding one.
Named in honor of one of the greatest racehorses of all time, the Man o’ War packs a powerful kick softened by citrus flavors. This whiskey cocktail combines bourbon, orange liqueur, sweet vermouth, and lemon juice, creating a balanced but deceptively potent drink.