Bourbon cocktails embrace the bold and individualistic traits of the all-American spirit. The Kentucky native is the whiskey of choice for many, whether neat or in a cocktail. It has the unique effect of creating a community in a bottle. Bourbon creates warmth between people that share it and also the physical sensation of the signature “Kentucky hug.”
September 1st marks the beginning of National Bourbon Heritage Month. The all-American spirit is over 400 years old, nearly as old as the nation itself. The first batch in 1789 is widely credited to the “Father of Bourbon”, Elijah Craig. Bourbon has much evolved since its creation into the complex and varied spirit it is today.
It wasn’t until 1964 that Congress declared it a unique product that must be produced in the United States. Law states it must contain at least 51% of corn and aged for a minimum of two years in freshly charred oak barrels. In 2007, the Senate established September as National Bourbon Heritage Month. During which many bourbon enthusiasts come together to appreciate the craftsmanship, culture, and history of the industry.
Celebrate by enjoying one of these tasty bourbon cocktails, or opt for your favorite brand neat or on the rocks. Explore our complete collection of bourbon cocktails here.
1. Paper Plane
The Paper Plane has achieved modern classic status for good reason. The Aperol, Amaro Nonino, lemon juice, and bourbon cocktail is an exciting mixture of perfectly balanced bitter, citrus, and sweet flavors. It’s a compelling concoction that can even charm non-bourbon drinkers.
Having stood the test of time and considered to be the first “cocktail”, the Old Fashioned is anything but antiquated. Its simple formula creates a spirit-forward but perfectly balanced drink. Which has the ability to soften even the most bracing of whiskeys.
This lesser known classic appeals to both Daiquiri and Whiskey Sour drinkers alike. It’s a bourbon-based tiki style cocktail that has warm spice flavors from its allspice dram component blended with zesty lime juice and a few dashes of aromatic bitters. Rich and spiced, all the ingredients seemly play well together without overpowering its whiskey base.
In this classic aperitivo, the American whiskey has a perfect marriage to the Italian bitters liqueur, Campari, with the help of sweet vermouth. The sweet vermouth smooths out the powerful bitterness of Campari and the sweet-spice of the whiskey, creating a balanced bourbon cocktail.
This bourbon variation on the classic adds a welcomed richness to its citrus-forward flavors. Originally made with Cognac, the American whiskey shares notes of sweet vanilla and warm spices, so it substitutes well here. However, bourbons tend to have bolder notes that showcase well when other strong flavors are present, like the citrus notes in this Sidecar riff.
A list of bourbon cocktails would not be complete without the much acclaimed Manhattan. Its three-ingredient formula of whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters create a spirit-forward but balanced cocktail. Traditionally, it is made with rye whiskey; however, we favor sweeter bourbon in this potent libation.