Written by: Roy Hansen
Whisky remains one of the most popular alcoholic drinks in the world, with millions of people enjoying a tipple each week. While purists will usually drink whisky “neat” or with a small amount of water, it can also be used to make some delicious cocktails. Whisky’s unique combination of flavors can add a lot of colour to drinks and make them much more interesting than vodka or gin cocktails.
If the idea of a whisky cocktail sounds appealing, this is the article for you. We’ve scoured the Internet to find the 8 coolest whisky cocktail recipes. These drinks are exciting, delicious, and very different from a boring Martini or Margarita.
Know your whisky
Before we jump in and start making whisky cocktails, it is important to understand that the type of whisky you use and the quality of the whisky will dramatically influence the taste. To research which whiskies are the best have a read of our favourite whisky review site Whiskeybon to get an idea. As for the type, have a read of these:
You may already be familiar with American whiskeys like Jack Daniel’s, Wild Turkey, Woodford Reserve, and Maker’s Mark. They are very sweet whiskey’s that are distilled in America and aged in barrels. The most common flavors in American whiskey are vanilla, citrus, oak, caramel, berries, spices, and cherries. There are 3 subcategories of American whiskey:
Distilled from at least 51% corn, with the remainder usually consisting of rye and malted barley
Distilled from at least 51% rye, with the remainder consisting of corn and malted barley
Bourbon Whiskey that is filtered through charcoal to achieve a smoother flavour. It must be distilled in Tennessee to be given this name.
Scotch whisky must be created in Scotland. It is created using malted barley and water and aged for at least 3 years. It has a complex flavor palette which may include vanilla, nuts, cedar, oak, smoke, malt, tobacco, earth, and various fruits. It tends to be less sweet than American whiskies and is smokier. Most Scotch whiskies are double distilled. There are two main categories of Scotch whiskies:
Single malt Scotch whisky
Distilled at a single distillery using malted barley
Blended Scotch whisky
A blend of different single malt Scotch whiskies
Canadian whiskey is distilled and aged in Canada for at least 3 years. It is usually made using 51% or more rye. It is a very light and smooth whiskey, even lighter than Irish whiskey.
Irish whiskey is distilled in Ireland and aged for at least 3 years. It is not peated, so is less smokey than Scottish whisky. Irish whiskey is triple distilled, which give is a smoother taste. They tend to be less sweet than American whiskies.
Australian and Japanese Whiskey
There have been many award-winning whiskeys from distilleries in Australia and Japan in recent years. The style of whiskies produced in Australia and Japan varies greatly — from delicate floral whiskeys that taste similar to Irish whisky through to strong single-malt whiskies that taste similar to Scotch whisky.
Cool Cocktail Recipes
This is a classic cocktail recipe that is delicious and presents well. It is also simple to create, which makes it a good place to start.
60 ml of Canadian/Irish whiskey, bourbon or rye whiskey
30 ml sweet vermouth
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Cherries and a toothpick
Pour liquid ingredients into a mixing glass with ice cubes. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with cherries skewered with a toothpick.
This drink is another classic cocktail that oozes class. It has been around since at least the 1870s and has seen a big resurgence in popularity in recent years. The combination of sweet and sour makes it a delicious drink.
45 ml of whiskey (any type)
20 ml simple syrup
45 ml fresh lemon juice
(optional) Egg white
Maraschino cherryfor garnish
Pour liquid ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Shake well. Strain into chilled glass with or without ice. Add egg white (optional) and Garnish.
This cocktail is sweet, indulgent, and will give you a nice boost of energy! It is one of our favourite coffees for drinking while sitting around a fire on a cool winter night.
120 ml of hot coffee
45 ml of Irish or Canadian whiskey
2 teaspoons brown sugar
30 ml lightly whipped cream
Brew the coffee, then combine it with sugar in a mug or heat proof glass. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the whiskey and stir again. Add some cream on top.
Espresso Old Fashioned
This is another stimulating coffee themed cocktail. It works will with almost any American whiskey and is very easy to make.
60 ml of espresso coffee
30 ml of bourbon or rye whiskey
10 ml simple syrup
Dash of Peychaud’s bitters
1-inch lemon peel
Shake all of your liquid ingredients in a shaker. Pour into a glass containing ice and stir for 30 seconds. Rub lemon peel on edge of glass.
This cocktail is sophisticated, delicious, and has a very cool name! It’s the perfect whisky cocktail to make for any house guests you are trying to impress.
75 ml rye whiskey
Dash of green Chartreuse
15 ml simple syrup
2 dashes lemon bitters
Place a small amount of absinthe into a coupe glass and swirl it to coat the glass. Discard excess absinthe. In a separate glass mix the whiskey, Chartreuse, and simple syrup with ice. Strain into the coupe glass, topping with lemon bitters. Garnish with lemon twist.
There is something about the Manhattan that makes it a cool cocktail. Perhaps it’s the many movies where famous characters stroll into a smokey bar and order one. You’ll be happy to learn that this classic cocktail is simple to make.
60 ml bourbon whiskey
60 ml sweet vermouth
1 to 2 dashes Angostura bitters
Shake ice, whiskey, vermouth and bitters in a shaker. Rub orange peel around rim of glass. Pour into class and add cherries.
Hard Cider Spritz
This is a fantastic drink on a warm summer afternoon — refreshing and delicious.
30 ml rye whiskey or bourbon whiskey
120 ml hard cider
45 ml apple cider
Dash of Aperol
Dash of fresh lemon juice
Combine all of the liquid ingredients into a glass filled with ice. Gently stir and garnish with apple slices.
Mint Julep Cocktail
The mint julep is the official drink of the Kentucky Derby. It is a sweet drink that works well in the warmer months, which is why so many people living in the southern United States enjoy it.
75 ml bourbon whiskey
2 sugar cubes of 15 ml of simple syrup
10-15 mints leafs
Add the mint and simple syrup to a collins glass or julep cup. Muddle well to dissolve the sugar and release the aroma of the leaves. Add bourbon and crushed ice. Stir well and garnish with a mint sprig.