In the spirit of World Whiskey Day this week and the fast approaching Summer holiday, we’ve rounded up our most refreshing whiskey cocktails. Quality whiskey on its own is rich, complex, and potent. A fine whiskey can be enjoyed on the rocks or neat. For every whiskey lover there’s typically a preference in flavor, type, and brand.
The term “whiskey” encompasses a diverse family of spirits that are made by distilling fermented grains. There’s the familiar bourbon, Scotch, rye, and Irish whiskey, however, countries around the world also produce their own particular whiskey like Canada, Japan, Taiwan, and Australia. Depending on how and where the whiskey is made the flavor can range from sweet to spicy and from smooth to strong.
A whiskey cocktail can have an equally wide range in flavor; often 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 make this an easy-to-drink summer cocktail for both whiskey lovers and the whiskey curious.
Originally made with gin, the John Collins is a light and low-proof bourbon-based cocktail.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.
The Paper Plane is a riff on the classic Last Word which also inspired another modern classic, the Naked and Famous. The drink is composed of equal parts bourbon, Aperol, Amaro Nonino, and lemon juice. Its equal parts create a perfectly balanced bitter-sweet-citrus whiskey cocktail.
This simply made, low-proof cocktail is an ideal summer drink that’s perfect to enjoy on a hot afternoon. It takes the classic half iced tea & half lemonade drink and adds a dash of bourbon to give it that “Kentucky Hug.” It is a refreshing whiskey cocktail made to enjoy both poolside or taken to-go on the golf course.
The Brown Derby is unlike other whiskey cocktails in that it blends the sweetness from the bourbon with the citrus tang of grapefruit juice. The flavor is light and refreshing and is considered a brunch cocktail for its easy drinking qualities.
Perhaps the most simply made on the list, the 7 and 7 requires minimal effort and is low-proof. This two-ingredient whiskey cocktail is built in the glass and ideal to quench your thirst on a steamy summer afternoon.
The Kentucky Mule takes the state’s spirit and combines it with ginger beer and lime juice. The use of bourbon makes it a flavorful drink, it’s sweet with a bit of spice and light citrus. This whiskey cocktail is incredibly easy to make and if a copper mug isn’t available a highball glass will do just fine.
The New York Sour takes the classic Whiskey Sour and adds a “float” of red wine on top creating a splashy eye-catching cocktail. Its flavor is dry and citrus-sweet; it is not traditionally served with an egg white like other sours but some enjoy both the smoother, blended flavor by adding one.
The Man ‘O War is named in honor of one of the greatest racehorses of all time. It packs a powerful kick that’s softened by its citrus flavors. This whiskey cocktail combines bourbon, orange liqueur, sweet vermouth, and lemon juice creating a balanced but deceptively potent drink.