Spring is the perfect time to switch up your routines and start fresh. That includes the whiskey cocktail recipes you currently have on standby. Whiskey doesn’t have to stop at neat or on the rocks. And just because you know how to make the perfect whiskey sour doesn’t mean you shouldn’t venture outside your comfort zone, even with drinks. Here are six whiskey cocktail recipes to shake up your bar cart.
Explore a new side of your standby spirit with this recipe that calls for cherry tomatoes and basil leaves. You’ll love the subtle Italian flavor with the assertive notes of the bourbon.
- 2 oz. bourbon
- ¾ oz. fresh lemon juice
- ¾ oz. agave syrup
- 2 cherry tomatoes
- 5 fresh basil leaves
Directions: Muddle tomatoes and four basil leaves. Add other ingredients and shake over ice. Strain into an old fashioned glass with ice. Garnish with a basil leaf.
Of course the Manhattan is a classic whiskey cocktail that originated in, where else, New York.It’s also one of the whiskey cocktail recipes for beginners to start with. This variation calls for the chocolate bitters to balance out the aggressive bite of the bourbon. It will also satisfy your after-dinner sweet tooth!
- 2 oz. bourbon
- 1 oz. sweet vermouth
- 3 dashes chocolate bitters
Directions: Combine all three parts into a mixing glass with ice. Stir thoroughly. Strain into an Old Fashioned glass and serve either neat or over ice.
Smoked & Salted
We love a good smoked cocktail recipe! Although you can add a smoked flavor to any kind of cocktail, spirit-forward drinks with minimal ingredients work best. And what’s even better is this one doesn’t even call for a smoking gun.
- 2 oz. bourbon
- ¼ oz. maple syrup
- 5 dashes of smoke and salt bitters
Directions: Stir with ice to chill and dilute. Strain into a double rocks glass with a large ice cube. Garnish with an orange twist.
A Place in the Sun
Another thing we love is to infuse the whiskey with other flavors because it’s a low cost way of sprucing up your favorite drink. Think of drinking a Manhattan with cherry-infused bourbon or an orange-infused rye Old Fashioned. Or, in this case, adding wine as a cordial.
- 2 oz. rye whiskey
- 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
- 1 oz. fresh orange juice
- Red wine cordial*
Directions: Shake, strain into rocks glass with fresh ice, gently layer in red wine cordial, which, because it's denser, will layer on the bottom of the glass. Garnish with an orange peel.
*Red wine cordial: In a saucepan over medium heat, simmer a bottle of Shiraz or other bright, juicy red wine with 1 cup orange juice, 2 cinnamon sticks, .5 cup sweet vermouth, .5 cup pomegranate grenadine, and .25 cup smoked maple syrup. Alternatively substitute Martini & Rosso Rubino, Madeira, or a Carcavelos for cordial.
The Glass Sipper
Since whiskey is already quite spicy in nature, it makes perfect sense to add some heat to your spring cocktail repertoire. Ancho chile AND cajun seasoning? Don’t blame us if this becomes your new go-to.
- 1 ¼ oz. rye whiskey
- ¾ oz. Palo Cortado Sherry
- ½ oz. Ancho Reyes Ancho Chile Liqueur
- ¼ oz. Benedictine
- 1 dash absinthe
- 3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
- Cajun seasoning salt for rim
Directions: Stir first four ingredients with ice to chill and dilute slightly. Rim half of glass with Cajun salt. Dash absinthe and bitters into glass with fresh ice. Strain cocktail into glass.
Whiskey has built-in medicinal benefits and a hot toddy is said to keep even the most stubborn illness away (*we are not doctors and can only speak from personal experience). The Casanova is a spin on a traditional Toddy and the fruit forward nature of the mixers balance out the boozy bourbon.
- 1 oz. bourbon
- ¼ oz. Licor 43
- ¼ oz. St. Elizabeth allspice Dram
- ¼ oz. fresh lemon juice
- 1 bar spoon of pomegranate liqueur
- 1 bar spoon of sherry
- 3 oz. of hot water
Directions: Build all ingredients into a small toddy mug and top with the cinnamon-lemon infused hot water, add garnish, and serve.