Bourbon Cocktails…a Bit Off the Beaten Path


I probably have eight or nine bottles of bourbon sitting behind my home bar; I love the spirit that much. There’s just something about the smoky, sweet, peppery, vanilla flavor tied in with the varieties and its rich American history that draws me to the spirit more than any other. One can find delicious and complex bottles for under $20, though when you feel like dropping a little cash and spending up, you can find mid & expensive bottles of bourbon that are worth the extra dough. You just savor them a little longer by using them more sparingly. I love manhattans most of all. With all their variations and pour nuances, I can make a subtly different manhattan four nights a week and no two will taste alike. That being said, I want different bourbon cocktails too, and while our site has quite a few different bourbon cocktails, I thought it was time to turn you all on to a new batch of classics and provide a few good reasons to maybe buy a second bottle of bourbon for your bar. The type of bourbon you use in a cocktail is up to you; it’s a matter of taste. I usually save the higher-end bottles for just a couple of ice cubes and a splash of cold water.

Allegheny

We made these as after-dinner cocktails, and they were a huge hit. The blackberry element combines with the sweetness of the bourbon to create a perfect blend as a substitute for dessert. The dry vermouth, as backdrop, balanced the cocktail out and prevented a too sweet experience. In the manhattan family, you’ll find The Allegheny a nice substitute and a drink that tastes like a good bourbon statement.

Here we go –

  • 1 1/2 oz bourbon
  • 1 oz dry vermouth
  • 1/3 oz blackberry liqueur or blackberry brandy
  • 1/4 oz lemon juice
  • couple dashes Angustora bitters

Shake w/ cracked ice, serve up or on the rocks. Garnish w/ a lemon twist.

Bourbon Rumbo

A high-ball cocktail that can easily be added to your home-bar arsenal , this Rumbo has an old-school finish with the canned orange slice that I really like. She’s a strong drink, but the cut of club soda and the orange combat nicely in the glass. A great pre-dinner party cocktail, this drink is as visually impressive as it is tasty.

Here we go –

  • 3/4 oz bourbon
  • 3/4 oz gold rum
  • 1/2 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • couple dashes bitters
  • cold club soda
  • 1 slice cocktail orange in syrup, drained.

Pour sugar, bitters & a bit of club soda in a tall glass and stir till mixed. Add bourbon, vermouth& rum, stir again. Fill glass with ice then fill with club soda. Stir and garnish with orange slice in the drink.

Bourbon Collins

Name says it all. If you’re like me and generally switch to the browns come the cool months, the Bourbon Collins can be your G&T till spring rolls around. Sweet, satisfying and bourbony, this Collins is a great pour for your poker games.

Here we go –

  • 2 oz bourbon
  • couple dashes Peychaud’s bitters
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • cold club soda

Shake bourbon, bitters, lemon juice & ice till cold, then pour into tall glass. Add a bit more ice, then fill with club soda and float a lemon wheel in the drink.

Marker Man

San Francisco barman, Kevin Diedrich, came up with this one, and after a 3-week infusion period, I was finally able to make my own. This calls for a blueberry bourbon infusion of 3 pints blueberries into one bottle of bourbon. Mr. Diedrich uses Makers Mark, but I made mine with the new Early Times 354 bourbon & had a fantastic result. The 354 runs about $20 less a bottle. This is a great Thanksgiving through Christmas cocktail, but I’d also drink one at pretty much any point during the year.

Here we go –

  • 2 oz blueberry infused bourbon (3 pints of blueberries in one 750ml bottle of bourbon for 3 weeks; strain bourbon into clean bottle)
  • 1/2 oz Benedictine
  • 1/2 oz dry vermouth
  • couple dashes peach bitters

Stir all ingredients with ice in a martini pitcher till ice-cold. Strain into cocktail glass and garnish with a few floating blueberries.

Thoroughbred

Seattle bartender, Jamie Boudreau, invented this slushy bourbon delight that I recently tried and would drink anytime of the year. Fresh peaches for the puree would be idea, but if it’s off-season, I’d use frozen or even drained canned. This is an ideal late afternoon/early evening cocktail when you’re just mellowing out over a game or listening to music. Delicious.

Here we go –

  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 1 1/2 oz peach puree
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • couple dashes Angustora Bitters
  • splash of club soda
  • crushed ice

Pour ingredients into a double old fashioned glass and add crushed ice to fill. Stir till outside of glass is frosty cold.

So, there you have it….a few bourbon based cocktails you might not have tried. We have dozens of other bourbon cocktails here on site. If you’re still looking, then explore here. We’ll have something for you.

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