At the Table

Our Favorite Whiskey Cocktails

By: Julia Miller

Old fashioneds and manhattans and toddies, oh my! Whiskey is found in many iconic and classic cocktails every bartender knows how to make. It’s no surprise that this bar cart essential is as versatile as it is complex. Both firewater enthusiasts and the spirit-curious can find a whiskey cocktail they love. This is just a short contemplation of our favorites so far.

There’s no need to stop with the glass—from truffles to barbecue, the ways to eat whiskey are just as wonderful as dinking it. (Just ask our friend Matt Jamie, founder of Kentucky’s Bourbon Barrel Foods!) Join the whiskey pros from world-class labels at the upcoming Whiskey After Dark in Charleston to sample more of what the world of whiskey drinks has to offer.

Our Favorite Whiskey Creations

Kursten Berry's Classic Old Fashioned
Image by Shell Royster

Classic Old Fashioned Recipe

There’s nothing better than an old fashioned. You can make it with scotch, figs, and even bacon bitters. Like extra cherries in your old fashioned? Just add in cherry juice. Trying to beat the heat? There’s a frozen riff just for you. Basically, we’ve seen countless on the versatile cocktail and it offers endless ways to customize it to your preferences.

This particular recipe is the base for Kursten Berry’s fall riff on the classic cocktail. Her sweet potato old fashioned gives the typical old fashioned, an earthy, sweet taste by using a sweet potato simple syrup to turn it into a seasonally ready, fall old fashioned. If you can’t get enough, be sure to try Tiffanie Barriere’s fall-forward maple syrup riff.

Coopers’ Craft Boulevardier garnished with an orange twist in a short glass
Image by Coopers’ Craft

Boulevardier

This spirit-forward drink from Coopers’ Craft is the bourbon-lover’s version of a negroni. Don’t forget to try their lighter version, golden boulevardier, and their full-bodied fall version, imperial boulevardier.

Andy Bixby's bubbling Cassis and Desist in a coupe glass garnished with a grapefruit slice
Image by Scott Suchman

Cassis and Desist

This drink from Jack Rose Dining Saloon’s cocktail mastermind, Andy Bixby is sure to please any whiskey lovers. This cocktail is sweet, rich, and fruity. Go for Bixby’s Jumpin’ Juleps and manhattan riff for more bourbon delights.

Thoroughbred Tea in a tall glass garnished with mint and a lemon wedge
Courtesy image

Thoroughbred Tea

Use bourbon to jazz up your usual glass of Southern sweet tea with this cocktail from Big Bad Breakfast in Charleston. This drink switches up sweet tea with a mix of Woodford Reserve bourbon and mint.

Piña colata in a tall glass garnished with an orange slice and a pineapple slice
Image by James MacArthur Kilduff

Kentucky Colada

Looking for something to beat the heat? This bourbon drink, based on the perennial favorite piña colada, adds a molasses-rich demerara syrup, vanilla extract, and fresh nutmeg to create a richer flavor profile better suited to mixing with bourbon.

Charleston’s Cocktail Club's Hot Toddy in a tall glass mug
Image by Andrew Cebulka

The Original Hot Toddy

Warm up by the fire and cure your sore throat with this winter classic. The original hot toddy cocktail recipe from Charleston’s Cocktail Club is a traditional concoction with lemon, scotch whiskey, cinnamon, and honey. If you’re in the mood for something more seasonal, the hot grogg, the cider toddy, or a cedar toddy will do the trick.

David Szlam crafts Ginger Highball

Ginger Highball

Not too sure about whiskey? The highball, a classic whiskey drink in late-1800s America, used soda to please the liking of Europeans who commonly drank brandy and cognac. The highball is a simple cocktail and a great way of introducing whiskey to those unaccustomed to drinking it. Virgil Kaine’s Ginger Infused Bourbon allows for this highball riff to receive an extra hint of vanilla with dried apricot, ginger, and sherry notes. Adding a fresh-squeezed lime to finish off the two-ingredient refresher, the ginger highball is a drink meant to share conversations around.

Maple-Whiskey Pudding in a short mason jar topped with whipped cream and bacon crumble
Image by Heather Anne Thomas

Maple-Whiskey Pudding with Benton’s Bacon Crumble

Did we mention that whiskey is really versatile? This decadent desert proves that whiskey belongs in more places than just your glass. Share this pudding with your loved ones Thanksgiving alongside rye whiskey cranberries. If you love the maple-whiskey combination, bookmark these maple pudding pops with whiskey crème fraîche and smoked pecans for when you need to keep cool!

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