Our 15 Favorite Whiskey Cocktails

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Our 15 Favorite Whiskey Cocktails

From the classic cocktails to the new, modern-era cocktails, there are dozens of great whiskey-based cocktails. Here are recipes for our 15 favorite whiskey-based cocktails.

MANHATTAN

Of the five cocktails named after New York City boroughs, the Manhattan is the most popular. Said to have originated at the Manhattan Club in NYC in the 1870s, this Whiskey and Vermouth-based cocktail is an easy-to-make American classic.

Manhattan Cocktail | Top Whiskey Cocktail


Manhattan Recipe

Manhattan Ingredients

  • 2 oz Bourbon or Rye Whiskey
  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 2 dashes Aromatic Bitters
  • 1 dash Orange Bitters
  • Garnish: Cocktail Cherry (we recommend a Brandied Cherry)

Manhattan Mixing Directions

  • In a mixing glass with ice, add Bourbon, Sweet Vermouth, and Bitters.
  • Stir until chilled (approximately 20 seconds)
  • Strain in a chilled Coupe Glass
  • Garnish with a Cocktail Cherry
  • Optional: To serve over ice, strain into a rocks glass with a large ice sphere. 

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OLD FASHIONED

The Old Fashioned cocktail, first mixed in the mid-1800s, is well-balanced, tastes excellent, and is extremely easy to make. It is the ideal craft cocktail for both bourbon enthusiasts and those just getting started. 


Old Fashioned Recipe

Old Fashioned Ingredients

  • 2 oz Bourbon
  • 1 Sugar Cube
  • 4-5 dashed of Aromatic Bitters
  • 3-4 dashed of Water
  • Garnish: Orange Slice or Orange Zest and Cocktail Cherry

Old Fashioned Mixing Directions

  • Place sugar cube in a Rocks Glass and saturate with Bitters, add a few dashes of plain water.
  • Muddle until dissolved.
  • Fill the glass with ice and add Bourbon.
  • Garnish with Orange Slice or Orange Zest, and a Cocktail Cherry

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WHISKEY SOUR

A classic Whiskey Sour is a sweet, sour, and refreshing whiskey-based cocktail. The egg white in the recipe may scare some people away, but it produces an attractive foamy head that makes this cocktail stand out in a crowd. 

Whiskey Sour Cocktail | Top Whiskey Cocktails


Whiskey Sour Recipe

Whiskey Sour Ingredients

  • 2 oz Bourbon
  • 3/4 oz Lemon Juice (freshly squeezed)
  • 1/2 oz Simple Syrup
  • 1/2 oz Egg White (optional to produce a foamy head) 
  • Garnish: Aromatic Bitters

Whiskey Sour Mixing Directions

  • Add Bourbon, Lemon Juice, Simple Syrup, and Egg White to a cocktail shaker and dry shake (shake without ice) for 30 seconds.
  • Add ice and shake again until chilled (approximately 20 seconds)
  • Strain in a chilled Coupe Glass
  • Garnish with 3-4 drops of Aromatic Bitters
  • Optional: Egg White can be replaced with a cocktail foamer or omitted altogether. 
  • Optional: To serve over ice, strain into a rocks glass with a large ice sphere. 
  • Pro-Tip: The added bitters will sit on top of the foamy head (if using Egg White or foamer). Use a Cocktail Pick to swirl the bitters around to make attractive designs. 

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Irish Coffee

Although the exact origins of Irish Coffee are a little fuzzy, coffee-based cocktails have been enjoyed worldwide for over 100 years. Popularized in the United States in the 1950s, what we now know as Irish Coffee is part cocktail, part dessert, but altogether delicious. 

Irish Coffee | Top Whiskey Cocktails | Dramson

 

Irish Coffee Recipe

Irish Coffee Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 oz Irish Whiskey
  • 2 tsp Brown Sugar
  • Hot Brewed Coffee (to fill the cup)
  • Garnish: Whipped Cream

 Irish Coffee Mixing Directions

  • Warm an Irish Coffee mug by filling it with hot water. Discard the water after 2 minutes.
  • Add the Irish Whiskey and Brown Sugar to the heated glass, fill the mug with Coffee, and stir.
  • Top with an inch of unsweetened, lightly whipped cream.
  • Optional: Add a garnish of chocolate shavings or nutmeg on top of the whipped cream

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Mint Julep

Checking in as one of the oldest cocktails on our list is the Mint Julep. Referenced as early as the 1770s, the Mint Julep was commonly prescribed for medicinal purposes to cure everything from upset stomachs to headaches. Today, this bourbon and mint cocktail is the American South's unofficial cocktail and the famous go-to cocktail of the Kentucky Derby.

Mint Julep | Top Whiskey Cocktails | Dramson

 

Mint Julep Recipe

Mint Julep Ingredients

  • 8 mint leaves
  • 1/4 oz Simple Syrup
  • 2 oz Bourbon
  • Garnish: Mint Sprig
  • Garnish: Aromatic Bitters (optional) 

Mint Julep Mixing Directions

  • In a Julep Cup, muddle the Mint Leaves in the Simple Syrup. A Rocks Glass can be used in place of a Julep Cup.
  • Add the Bourbon and fill the cup with Crushed Ice. 
  • Stir until the cup is frosted on the outside.
  • Top with more Crushed Ice until a mound forms above the top of the glass.
  • Garnish with a Mint Sprig and 3-4 drops of bitters.

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Vieux Carré

Named after New Orleans' French Quarter district, Vieux Carré translates to "old square" in French. This slow sipper is rich and decadent and dates back to the 1930s.

Vieux Carre | Top Whiskey Cocktails | Dramson


Vieux Carré Recipe

Vieux Carré Ingredients

  • 3/4 oz Rye Whiskey
  • 3/4 oz Cognac
  • 3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 2 tsp Bénédictine Liqueur
  • 4 dashes Aromatic Bitters
  • Garnish: Cocktail Cherry and/or Lemon Twist

Vieux Carré Mixing Directions

  • In a mixing glass with ice, mic Rye Whiskey, Cognac, Sweet Vermouth, Bénédictine Liqueur, and Bitters and stir until well chilled (approximately 20 seconds)
  • Strain into a Rocks Glass over fresh ice (we recommend a large ice sphere)
  • Garnish with a Cocktail Cherry and Lemon Twist

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BOULEVARDIER

Created in the late 1920s, the Boulevardier features a balanced blend of Whiskey, sweet vermouth, and Campari. A little bitter and a little sweet, like its cousin-cocktail, the gin-based Negroni, a Boulevardier calls for Bourbon or Rye Whiskey.

Boulevardier | Top Whiskey Cocktails | Dramson


Boulevardier Recipe

Boulevardier Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 oz Bourbon (or Rye Whiskey)
  • 1 oz Campari
  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • Garnish: Orange Twist

Boulevardier Mixing Directions

  • In a mixing glass with ice, add Bourbon, Campari, and Sweet Vermouth and stir until chilled (approximately 20 seconds).
  • Strain into a Rocks Glass over fresh ice (we recommend a large ice sphere)
  • Garnish with an Orange Twist.

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SAZERAC

The Sazerac cocktail was named after the Sazerac de Forge et Fils brand of cognac brandy, one of its main ingredients. Featuring Cognac, Whiskey, and an Absinthe-rinsed glass, this classic cocktail was invented in New Orleans in the 1800s.

Sazerac | Top Whiskey Cocktails | Dramson


Sazerac Recipe

Sazerac Ingredients

  • Absinthe (or Herbsaint, an anise-flavored liqueur) to rinse your glass
  • 1 Sugar Cube
  • 1/2 tsp Cold Water
  • 4-5 dashes Bitters
  • 1 1/4 oz Rye Whiskey
  • 1 1/4 oz Cognac
  • Garnish: Lemon Peel

Sazerac Mixing Directions

  • Rinse a chilled Rocks Glass with Absinthe, discarding any excess.
  • In a mixing glass, muddle the Sugar Cube, Cold Water, and Bitters.
  • Add Rye Whiskey and Cognac, fill the mixing glass with ice and stir until chilled (approximately 20 seconds)
  • Strain into the Absinthe-rinsed glass
  • Garnish with a Lemon Peel

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ROB ROY

The Rob Roy cocktail is very similar to the Manhattan, except that it calls for Scotch instead of Bourbon or Rye Whiskey. Even though these cocktails are similar in ingredients, the Scotch's smokiness adds a unique flavor profile that has made the Rob Roy a classic craft cocktail since the 1890s.

Rob Roy | Top Whiskey Cocktails | Dramson


Rob Roy Recipe

Rob Roy Ingredients

  • 2 oz Scotch
  • 3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 3 dashes Aromatic Bitters
  • Garnish: Cocktail Cherry (we recommend a Brandied Cherry)

Rob Roy Mixing Directions

  • In a mixing glass with ice, add Scotch, Sweet Vermouth, and Bitters.
  • Stir until chilled (approximately 20 seconds)
  • Strain in a chilled Coupe Glass
  • Garnish with a Cocktail Cherry
  • Optional: To serve over ice, strain into a rocks glass with a large ice sphere. 

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HOT TODDY

Often called upon to stay warm or fight off symptoms from the common cold, the Hot Toddy is a versatile hot cocktail that dates back to the mid-1800s. The Hot Toddy's customizable nature allows you to use your favorite spirit of choice, including rum or brandy, but we recommend using Whiskey.

Hot Toddy | Top Whiskey Cocktails | Dramson


Hot Toddy Recipe

Hot Toddy Ingredients

  • Boiling Water (to fill a cup)
  • 2 tsp Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 oz Lemon Juice (freshly squeezed)
  • 2 oz Whiskey (any variety)
  • Garnish: Lemon Wheel
  • Optional: Additional spices, such as cinnamon or cloves, can be used as desired

Hot Toddy Mixing Directions

  • Warm a mug by filling it with Boiling Water. Discard the water after 2 minutes.
  • Fill the emptied mug halfway with fresh Boiling Water.
  • Add the Sugar and stir to dissolve.
  • Add Lemon Juice and stir.
  • Add Whiskey and stir.
  • Garnish with a Lemon Wheel

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BROWN DERBY

This sweet and tart cocktail is so delicious that its place of origin is disputed between Los Angeles and Great Britain, as a cocktail named the De Rigueur. Created in the 1930s, this cocktail's Los Angeles-version was named after the Brown Derby restaurant located near the Vendôme Club, where it was first mixed.

 Brown Derby | Top Whiskey Cocktails | Dramson


Brown Derby Recipe

Brown Derby Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 oz Bourbon
  • 1 oz Grapefruit Juice (freshly squeezed)
  • 1/2 oz Honey Syrup
  • Garnish: Grapefruit Twist

Brown Derby Mixing Directions

  • In a Cocktail Shaker with ice, add Bourbon, Grapefruit Juice, and Honey Syrup and shake until chilled (approximately 20 seconds)
  • Strain into a Cocktail Glass using a Fine Mesh Strainer
  • Garnish with a Grapefruit Twist or Wedge

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GODFATHER

There are no more acclaimed movies from the 1970s than "The Godfather" series, which is precisely where this cocktail got its name. Made from a mix of Scotch and Amaretto, an Italian liqueur, this cocktail is surprisingly complex given that it features only two ingredients.

Godfather | Top Whiskey Cocktails | Dramson

 

Godfather Recipe

Godfather Ingredients

  • 2 oz Scotch (or Bourbon)
  • 1/4 oz Amaretto

Godfather Mixing Directions

  • In a mixing glass with ice, add Scotch and Amaretto and stir until chilled (approximately 20 seconds)
  • Strain into a Rocks Glass over ice (we recommend a large ice sphere)

 
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BLOOD AND SAND

The Blood & Sand is another cocktail that draws its name from a movie. In this case, a 1922 film about a bullfighter, and later remade in the 1940s and 1980s. The cocktail was likely created in the mid-1920s and has been a classic staple cocktail since the 1930s.

Blood and Sand | Top Whiskey Cocktails | Dramson


Blood and Sand Recipe

Blood and Sand Ingredients

  • 3/4 oz Scotch
  • 3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 3/4 oz Cherry Brandy (or other Cherry Liqueur)
  • 3/4 oz Orange Juice (freshly squeezed)
  • Garnish: Orange Peel

Blood and Sand Mixing Directions

  • In a cocktail shaker with ice, add Scotch, Sweet Vermouth, Cherry Brandy, and Orange Juice and shake until chilled. (Approximately 20 seconds)
  • Strain into a chilled Coupe Glass
  • Garnish with an Orange Peel

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PAPER PLANE

The Paper Plane cocktail is the youngest cocktail on our list. Created in 2007, the cocktail features equal parts of Bourbon, Aperol, Amaro, and Lemon Juice and was reportedly named after a song by singer M.I.A.

Paper Plane | Top Whiskey Cocktails | Dramson


Paper Plane Recipe

Paper Plane Ingredients

  • 3/4 oz Bourbon
  • 3/4 oz Aperol
  • 3/4 oz Amaro (preferably Nonino)
  • 3/4 oz Lemon Juice (freshly squeezed)

Paper Plane Directions

    • Add the Bourbon, Aperol, Amaro, and Lemon Juice into a Cocktail Shaker with ice and shake until chilled (approximately 20 seconds)
    • Strain into a chilled Coupe Glass

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PENICILLIN

Created in the mid-2000's at New York City's famed Milk & Honey bar, this refreshing cocktail is available throughout the world. Featuring a blend of Scotch and fresh squeezed Lemon Juice, the Penicillin cocktail is similar to a Whiskey Sour, but finished with ginger to change its flavor profile.

Penicillin | Top Whiskey Cocktails | Dramson


Penicillin Recipe

Penicillin Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 oz Scotch
  • 3/4 oz Lemon Juice (freshly squeezed)
  • 3/4 oz Honey-Ginger Syrup
  • Garnish: Candied Ginger

Penicillin Directions

  • Add Scotch, Lemon Juice, and Honey-Ginger Syrup into a Cocktail Shaker with ice and shake until chilled (approximately 20 seconds)
  • Strain into a Rocks Glass over ice (we recommend a large ice sphere)
  • Garnish with Candied Ginger

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  • Emily L