Missing your favorite bartender or happy hour clan? By now, you’ve likely experimented with hosting a virtual whiskey tasting or happy hour and discovered your own inner bartender. Thanks to the wonders of technology we can still honor the ritual with a delicious temporary fix even though the landscape right now looks different. Put the “social” in social distancing and explore a new side of your standby sip with these quick recipes you can make at your next virtual happy hour gathering.
Smoked & Salted
Newsflash: good whiskey cocktails don’t stop at neat or on the rocks. After all, whiskey comes in a lot of variations, so why shouldn’t your recipes? If you’re in the mood to experiment further, smoking your favorite cocktail at home is super simple. Before you fire up the blowtorch (see what we did there?), this recipe can give you a taste for smoking in just three ingredients.
- 2 oz. bourbon
- 0.25 oz. maple syrup (slightly thinned out)
- 5 dashes Smoke & 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. Pro tip: if you want to add an extra bit of smoke, burn your favorite wood chips and turn your glass upside down over the smoke to let it rinse the sides of the glass. Then pour your drink into the smoke-rinsed glass.
Spring is here and summer is on the way and this recipe kicks off both. It’s a twist on the classic whiskey smash cocktail that brings a fresh feel to your virtual happy hour. Thanks to this easy-sipping recipe, you’ll quickly forget that all of the days are currently running together (parents who are suddenly homeschooling: we’re looking at you).
- 1.5 oz. bourbon
- ¾ oz. brown sugar simple syrup
- 1 lemon wedge
- 3 to 5 mint leaves, plus one for garnish
Directions: To make the syrup: mix equal parts dark brown sugar and water. For the cocktail: throw the mint and lemon wedge into a mixing glass and muddle. Add the syrup, bourbon and ice. Shake and strain into a rocks glass over ice. Garnish with a mint sprig.
The Good Farmer Cocktail
Who doesn’t need a spirit-lifter at the end of the day? (Especially now!) This bourbon-spiked lemonade is a crowd favorite for brightening spirits and delivering a delicious flavor at the same time.
- 1.5 oz. bourbon
- 6 oz. lemonade
- 1 sprig fresh mint
- Lemon slice for garnish
Directions: Muddle the mint in the bottom of your glass. Fill one third of the glass with crushed ice. Add the lemonade and bourbon and stir. Garnish with a slice of lemon.
Tangerine Bourbon Sidecars
Impress your happy hour guests with this classic cocktail with a nod to the roaring 20s. The bonus? A sidecar recipe is as simple as it comes with just four ingredients. This recipe is a fresh twist on the classic using sweet tangerine juice to balance the bourbon tang.
- 6 oz. bourbon
- 2 tablespoons Triple Sec
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2-4 tangerines or clementines, plus slices or twists for optional garnish
Directions: Squeeze the fruit in order to get ¼ cup of the juice. Add the juice, bourbon, Triple Sec and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker. Fill it with ice. Shake vigorously for at least 30 seconds. Pour through a strainer into two martini glasses. Garnish with a tangerine peel.
With all of the recent time on our hands, now is the perfect time to try out new hobbies. Is perfecting a whiskey infusion on your list? This recipe will showcase your newfound hobby and doubles as a crowd pleaser for all whiskey fans. Cherry-infused bourbon is the base for this adult-sized seltzer. If you’re jonesing for a sweeter cocktail, swap in ginger ale in place of the seltzer.
- 8 oz. bourbon
- ¾ cup dark brown sugar
- 2 cups fresh cherries
- 2 cups seltzer water (or ginger ale)
Directions: Heat the bourbon in a small saucepan over medium heat until hot. Stir in the brown sugar until dissolved. Pack cherries into a small jar and pour the hot liquid over them until they are completely submerged. Cover and refrigerate for at least one week (keeps up to one month). Fill four 12-ounce rocks glasses with ice. Pour in 1.5 oz. of the cherry-infused bourbon and top with seltzer (4 oz.). Garnish with 2 or 3 of the bourbon-infused cherries.
Not to be confused with a brain buster (adulting is already far too hard right now), this combo of whiskey, Italian vermouth and absinthe was concocted clear back in 1895 when bartender George Kappeler coined it the Brain Duster.
- 1 oz. rye whiskey
- 1 oz. absinthe
- 1 oz. Italian vermouth
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
Directions: Stir rye, absinthe and vermouth together with crushed ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. No brain buster here!
‘Rol and Rye
Simple is best, especially in these uncertain times. We’ve got you covered! The ‘Rol and Rye calls for three simple ingredients and only two steps. Impress your virtual happy hour guests with your sharpened home bartending skills. We’re all in this together.
- 1.5 oz. rye whiskey
- 1.5 oz. Aperol
- Club soda
Directions: Combine the rye whiskey and Aperol in a highball glass with ice. Top it off with club soda and garnish with an orange peel.
Feel like a million bucks with The Millionaire, a sweet but jovial cocktail recipe that is anything but off-putting.
- 2 oz. rye whiskey
- ½ oz. Grand Marnier
- 1 dash grenadine
- 1 egg white
Directions: Pour all ingredients into a shaker and add crushed ice. Strain into a chilled glass.