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Best Bourbon Cocktail Recipes

Introduction to Bourbon Cocktail Recipes

Bourbon sits at the forefront of American spirits.

Its origin is riddled with countless spirit makers who’ve distilled and aged the whiskey, perfecting the art of bourbon production. Today, enthusiasts follow its rich history through landmarks along the bourbon trail, touring distilleries spread across the US. Bottle after bottle, fans continue to seek their favorite bourbons and discover new flavors from famous distilleries.

To appreciate the bourbon culture, enthusiasts need to respect the beautiful bourbon cocktails born from coveted bourbon whiskey. Drinks such as the Manhattan and the Old Fashioned have become a staple in many bars and a favorite to the palettes of connoisseurs alike. There are plenty of other bourbon cocktails left untouched for every Manhattan and Old Fashioned made. Many other cocktails can be made from Bourbon – Mint Juleps, Whiskey Sours, Hot Toddies. If you’re looking to expand your arsenal of whiskey cocktail recipes, look no further. Our list of classics below will never let you down.



The Manhattan is a coveted cocktail known to be a staple behind many bars. The Manhattan is famous for its classic combination of Bourbon, vermouth, and aromatic bitters. Although the cocktail is traditionally made with American Rye whiskey, Bourbon places a twist on the classic recipe. The Manhattan is assertive in flavor but is one that every connoisseur respects.


  • 2 oz New Riff Kentucky Straight Bourbon (Substitute with New Riff Kentucky Straight Rye)
  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 2 Dashes Angostura bitters
  • 2-3 Luxardo Cherries


  • Add New Riff Bourbon, sweet vermouth, and bitters into a mixing glass.
  • Stir, then strain into a chilled coupe glass.
  • Garnish with 2-3 Luxardo Cherries.

Old Fashioned Cocktail

The Old Fashioned is often coined the King of Bourbon Cocktails, and for a good reason. History traces the Old Fashioned back to the early 19th century when a combination of spirits, bitters, water, and sugar was used. The Old Fashioned was simply an homage from the latter half of the century when drinkers wanted an “old-fashioned” cocktail from years before.

Today, the Old Fashioned drink is made similar to its classic recipe but with slight variations that make every bartender unique. The most important rule is to mix with good Bourbon.


  • 2 oz New Riff Kentucky Straight Bourbon
  • 1 oz Simple Syrup
  • 2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
  • 1 Orange Peel
  • 1 Luxardo Cherry


  • Add New Riff Bourbon, Simple Syrup, Bitters, and ice into a mixing glass.
  • Stir, then strain into a rocks glass with ice.
  • Garnish with an orange peel and a Luxardo cherry.

New York Sour

The traditional Whiskey Sour is made from American Rye whiskey, citrus, egg white, and simple syrup. This classic cocktail is known as one of the most famous bourbon cocktails in rotation today. In addition to being one of the best bourbon cocktails invented, the Whiskey Sour has stood the test of time as it is beloved by many across the US. Although variations have been made, there is one that stands out from the rest – the New York Sour.

The New York Sour riffs on the traditional Whiskey Sour with a float of dry red wine. Adding red wine enhances the aromatic qualities while adding a red tint to the drink. The New York sour mix is simple to make while having a complex flavor profile.


  • 2 oz New Riff Kentucky Straight Bourbon
  • 1 oz fresh lemon
  • 1-1.5 oz simple syrup
  • 1 oz egg white
  • Float with red wine


  • Add New Riff Bourbon, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg white into a shaker without ice.
  • Shake for 30 seconds. Open the shaker and add ice, shake for another 30 seconds.
  • Double strain into a highball glass with ice.
  • Pour the red wine slowly over a bar spoon to keep red wine from sinking to the bottom of the drink.

Boulevardier Cocktail

The Boulevardier was invented by Erskine Gwynne, the publisher of the famous Boulevardier magazine in Paris. The famous 1920s cocktail was popularized by its inclusion in the 1927 book “Barflies and Cocktails.” Gwynne was a regular at Harry MacElhone’s bar, where the drink was inspired.

The beverage riffs on the classic Negroni with a new combination of Bourbon to make a warm and rich flavor. This cocktail is perfect when combined with cold winter’s evening.


  • 2 oz New Riff Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey
  • 1 oz Campari
  • 1 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1 orange peel
  • Garnish with luxardo cherries


  • Add New Riff Bourbon, Campari, sweet vermouth, and ice into a mixing glass.
  • Stir, then strain into a rocks glass with ice.
  • Garnish with an orange peel.

Hot Toddy Cocktail

The Hot Toddy is the perfect winter cocktail and is often crowned the “Grandfather of hot cocktails.” No better beverage will warm you up than the Hot Toddy.

The Hot Toddy comes from the middle of the 18th century and consists of spirits, sugar, hot water, and a lemon peel to garnish. Depending on the location, a Hot Toddy is composed of many different spirits. In the US, the Hot Toddy classically uses Bourbon to create its delectable taste.


  • 2 oz New Riff Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
  • ¾ cup of water
  • 1 oz Honey
  • 1 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick to garnish
  • 1 candied bourbon lemon wheel to garnish


  • In a saucepan, bring water to a simmer, then pour into a mug
  • Add whiskey, honey, and lemon juice to the mug.
  • Stir mug until honey is dissolved into hot water.
  • Garnish with a candied bourbon lemon wheel and cinnamon stick.

Paper Plane

The Paper Plane is a new cocktail invented in 2008 by Sam Ross, the co-owner of Attaboy and Diamond Reef in New York City. The new drink comprises equal parts Bourbon, Aperol, Amaro Nonino Quintessential, and lemon juice. This fairly new drink is becoming a cult classic as it strikes a near-perfect balance between sour and bitter flavor profiles.

Those who choose the New Riff Kentucky Straight Bourbon as their choice of whiskey in a Paper Plane will appreciate its heftiness and bodies. Remember never to overshake, as the drink should be cold but never watered down.


  • 1.5 oz New Riff Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
  • 1 oz campari
  • ¾ oz Amaro Nonino
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 0.5 oz demerara simple
  • 2 dashes of angostura bitters


  • Add New Riff Bourbon, Aperol, Amaro Nonino Quintessential, and lemon juice to a shaker with ice.
  • Shake until chilled but not overshaken
  • Strain into a cool cocktail glass


Sazerac Cocktail

The Sazerac is a class relative to the Old Fashioned cocktail and has been in rotation as a trademarked beverage since the early 1900s. The drink is known as the official cocktail of New Orleans.

A perfect Sazerac is full of depth in flavor, as it combines equal parts of both American Rye whiskey and cognac. The soft and bold flavors come from pairing the two spirits, which produces an accentuated licorice flavor similar to absinthe.


  • ¾ oz lemon tarragon simple syrup
  • 4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
  • 2 ounce New Riff Kentucky Rye Whiskey
  • 1 torched lemon peel to garnish
  • Absinthe to rinse the glass


  • Rinse the glass with absinthe, and discard excess back to the bottle. Set the glass aside.
  • Add all other ingredients to a mixing glass filled with ice.
  • Stir to combine.
  • Strain into prepared glass and garnish with expressed torched lemon peel.

Mint Julep

In season, the Mint Julep is the crowned king of the Kentucky Derby cocktail list. This refreshing beverage is made from Bourbon, sugar, mint, and ice. For those who need a quick refresher year-round, we have just the right recipe for you.

The Mint Julep is classically served in a silver julep cup but can be substituted for a rocks glass. Be sure to use a high-quality bourbon to keep the crushed ice from diluting the cocktail. Don’t let Derby Day be the only reason for busting out this fabulous cocktail.


  • 2 oz New Riff Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
  • 8 mint leaves
  • ½ oz simple syrup
  • Mint sprig for garnishing
  • Angostura bitters (optional)


  • Add mint leaves to the bottom of a chilled rocks glass
  • Add New Riff Bourbon, simple syrup, and ice to glass.
  • Stir until slight haze begins to form above the liquid
  • Add bitters and mint sprig to garnish as needed.

Kentucky Mule

There’s more than one way to make a mule. The famous Moscow Mule might be hailed as one of the most popular cocktails in the US. For those who don’t have vodka on hand, substituting for Bourbon can be the best way to maintain its refreshing flavor. Bourbon cuts through the ginger, adding even more flavor than the original Moscow Mule.

The Kentucky Mule is simple to make as long as you have the mandatory chilled copper mug on hand. The copper will continue to cool the drink as you sip, which is vital in maintaining the flavor profile of the classic mule. One way to make this cocktail a step further is to garnish it with mint.


  • 2 oz New Riff Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
  • ½ oz freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Ginger beer
  • Mint sprig to garnish


  • Add New Riff Bourbon and lime juice to chill mule mug.
  • Fill the mug with ice and ginger beer to the top.
  • Add a mint sprig to garnish.


Our Riff on the Best Bourbon Cocktail Recipes

Here are some of the best insider tips from the cocktail experts at New Riff to jazz up your favorite drinks when the “same-old” becomes a little too “same-old.”

  • Change your spirit. Substitute other spirits in place of the traditional. Oftentimes, replacing our straight Kentucky bourbon with the New Riff Kentucky Rye is a spectacular way to spice up your cocktail. Even using a small batch or single barrel whiskey can spice up the flavor profile of your cocktail.
  • Try other sweeteners. Try using other sweeteners like agave, honey, maple syrup, or even infused syrups with citrus or fresh herbs. Adding maple syrup or honey can completely change the sweet profile. Vanilla, almond, and orange extract are great options as well. Adding tea or apple cider to your simple syrup can also add some fun to your cocktail.
  • Use different bitters. There are endless options of bitters that completely change the flavor of your cocktail. Angostura bitters are excellent but experiment with other flavors like cardamom, black walnut, and toasted almond. Mix one flavor of bitters with another to sharpen the profiles.
  • Add unique garnishes. Don’t be afraid to experiment with garnishes. An orange twist is a classic, but take it a step further by torching or dehydrating it! As for the cherry, Luxardo is just too good.



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