Food & Wine

5 Bourbon-Based Cocktails You Must Try

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Bourbon is one of the most popular types of American whiskey, made from barrel-aged distilled corn. While it is a spirit that you can consume straight, it also goes well in many cocktails. If you’ve got a bottle of bourbon in your home and you want to try out some new cocktail recipes, why not try a few of these classics?


Most people have likely heard of this classic cocktail. It consists of whiskey, sugar, Angostura bitters and a garnish of orange peel (or sometimes a cherry). Unlike some cocktails that subdue the whiskey, an old-fashioned is designed to highlight it and bring out more of the taste. The use of Angostura bitters – a delicate mix of fruits, herbs and spices – perfectly compliments the whiskey without overpowering it. Bourbon is typically better than rye whiskey because of its lighter spicy note. Feel free to experiment with different bourbons when making this cocktail. 


This equally classic cocktail was once a New York favorite (hence the name) and remains popular today around the world. It is primarily made of whiskey and sweet vermouth with a dash of bitters (Angostura bitters makes the perfect option here too). This is garnished with a cherry. It is served in a classic cocktail glass and like the old-fashioned is one of the most popular whiskey-based cocktails. Some mixologists will argue that you should only ever use rye whiskey for a Manhattan, however many people prefer bourbon because it’s less overpowering. This post lists a few great bourbons to use in a Manhattan

Paper Plane

The paper plane cocktail has a vibrant pink-orange color that is the result of a mix of whiskey, Aperol, Amaro Nonino and lemon juice. Developed in 2007, it’s a relatively recent cocktail, but has already become popular among cocktail bars across the country. Ideal for all occasions, it’s sweet and smooth while still offering a bitter spicy note. This guide explains exactly how to make a paper plane cocktail.

Mint Julep

The mint julep is a southern drink made famous by the Kentucky Derby. It contains bourbon, mint leaves and sugar syrup. This is then served in a julep tin (you can use a highball glass instead) with crushed ice. The incorporation of mint leaves makes this a very refreshing cocktail that is suitable for a summer’s day. This classic mint julep recipe explains exactly how to make this drink. 

Whiskey Sour

A whiskey sour is made from whiskey, sugar and a generous serving of lemon juice. It has a sour lemony taste brought out by the bitterness of the whisky. A dash of egg white is sometimes added which gives it a white creamy foam, however this is optional and does not affect the taste. A whiskey sour can be served in any glass and you can use any whiskey. Bourbon is preferable if you want a smoother cocktail – rye whiskey is likely to increase the bitterness. Liek a mint julep, this is a great refreshing cocktail for a summer’s day.

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