Easy Bourbon Cocktails to Sip this Season

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Looking for the ultimate bourbon cocktail guide? We’ve got you covered! Dive into a world of bourbon bliss with our seasonal bourbon cocktail round-up! Experience the rich flavors of bourbon in unique and refreshing ways, tailored for every season. Get ready to shake, stir, and sip your way through the seasons with these bourbon cocktail recipes.

four delicious and colorful bourbon based cocktail recipes

If you’ve been a reader for any amount of time, you likely know that I enjoy a good cocktail every now and then. Lately, as the weather has started to chill, I’ve found myself reaching for easy bourbon cocktails more and more.

I’ll admit I wasn’t always the biggest fan of bourbon drinks, but they have grown on me. While I still am learning to tolerate bourbon neat, I have been pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoy cocktails made with bourbon.

If you’re anything like me, you might have had a moment or two where you side-eyed a bottle of bourbon, thinking, “Can I really whip up something delightful with this?” Well, my dear, the answer is a resounding YES! And this collection is all about showing you how.

Why You’ll Love These Bourbon Cocktails

  • While these recipes have a special nod to those cozy cooler days (think warm fireplaces, fuzzy socks, and holiday cheers), there’s a bourbon concoction here that’ll tickle your fancy no matter the season. That’s right, from sun-kissed summer evenings to crispy autumn afternoons, there’s a drink for that!
  • We’ve all got our classic go-to drinks, but variety is the spice of life! These cocktails are a mix of those timeless favorites with a twist and some fresh, innovative concoctions that might just become your new go-to.
  • Whether you’re a long-time bourbon lover or just getting started (like yours truly a while back), these recipes will help you form an even deeper appreciation for this rich and versatile spirit. Every sip will be a step towards becoming a bourbon aficionado!

Now, onto the good part: the bourbon drinks. Here you’ll find recipes ranging from twists on classics to new bold combinations.

Fall Favorites

As the leaves start to change and there’s a hint of crispness in the air, our drinks take a turn for the warm and comforting. These bourbon cocktails capture the essence of autumn, with flavors reminiscent of spiced cider, pumpkin patches, and cozy sweaters. Ideal for those chilly evenings, they’re a hug in a glass, celebrating the season’s bounties.

Looking for more fall cocktail recipes? Then this collection of my favorite fall cocktail recipes is for you.

hand putting a cinnamon stick into a cider and maple old fashioned.

Cider and Maple Old Fashioned

I took the classic old fashioned recipe and fancified it a bit with the addition of apple cider and pure maple syrup. This one tastes like fall in a glass to me.

A few sips and you’ll fall in love with this new old fashioned too.

Pumpkin Old Fashioned Fall Cocktail with cherry and cinnamon stick garnish.

Pumpkin Old Fashioned

Here’s a fall-forward version of the typical old fashioned. Using maple syrup instead of simple syrup and black walnut bitters instead of dashes of angostura bitters makes this recipe really pop. And yes, I even added pure pumpkin puree into this recipe…does that mean we can call it a fruit juice?

Shaking the ingredients together before giving them a strain in a cocktail shaker is essential in this recipe to get a smooth velvety flavor. Don’t skip it! Simply giving the drink a stir won’t yield the same results.

Cozy Winter Cocktails

There’s nothing like wrapping up in a blanket with a warming drink in hand, watching the snowfall. This section is about those deep, rich flavors that bourbon is famous for. These cocktails are the perfect companion for cold winter nights, be it by the fireplace or after a day on the slopes. They’re the liquid equivalent of a warm embrace.

bourbon and sage cocktail with fresh sage garnish.

Bourbon and Sage Cocktail

The diverse flavors in this cocktail make for a bold, new experience. This is one of my favorite easy bourbon cocktails thanks to the combination of lemon, bourbon, and a lovely sage-infused simple syrup.

clear glass of spiked caramel apple cider tea in a glass with a cinnamon stick.

Spiked Caramel Apple Cider Tea

Looking for the ultimate cold-weather cocktail? Meet your new favorite: Spiked Caramel Apple Cider Tea. From fresh apple cider to the hint of salted caramel, it’s a symphony of flavors that promises comfort in every sip. While this recipe is “officially” made with WinterJack whiskey, I’ve made it many times with my favorite bourbon and it’s just as delicious!

Festive Holiday Drinks

Bring out the tinsel and the jingle bells! Whether you’re toasting at a New Year’s bash or enjoying Christmas dinner, these festive bourbon cocktails are all about celebrating in style. Packed with seasonal flavors and a touch of holiday magic, they’re the star of any festive gathering. Here’s to merriment and memories with every sip!

Searching for more festive libations? You’re in luck because I have a collection of all the best Christmas cocktail recipes.

Festive Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail with fresh herb bundle garnish.

Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail

Remember when I said I wasn’t always a bourbon fan? This is the drink that made me reconsider my position on this spirit.

To make this cranberry bourbon cocktail, you’ll need to whip up a rosemary sage simple syrup (it’s easier than it sounds, promise). Combine it with cranberry juice, bourbon, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and this drink may have you changing your mind about bourbon drinks too!

two cranberry old fashioned cocktails with cranberry and rosemary garnish.

Cranberry Old Fashioned

If you haven’t noticed a pattern yet, I love doing twists on classic cocktails here on IBC. This cranberry old fashioned is definitely one of the more simple bourbon drinks with just three ingredients: cranberry simple syrup, bourbon whiskey, and a few dashes Angostura bitters.

Then garnish with an orange peel, cranberries, and a sprig of rosemary for a pop of color.

Naughty but Nice Christmas Cocktail garnished with orange slice and cranberries.

Naughty But Nice Christmas Cocktail

This Christmas cocktail has a refreshing and delicious taste that will make your mouth water. It’s made with orange juice, ginger syrup (gotta have some Christmas spice), and cranberry juice as well as club soda.

This drink is served over ice and garnished with orange slices and fresh cranberries. While this is a bourbon drink, you can even switch out booze if desired. Vodka and rye whiskey both work well in this cocktail.

Maple Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail garnished with cranberries and rosemary.

Maple Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail

Looking for easy bourbon cocktail recipes to make for the holidays? This one is a winner—not only does it look festive with floating cranberries and a sprig of rosemary as a garnish, but this drink warms you from head to toe.

In fact, this is one of my go-to holiday cocktails for my friends and family at Bayberry house this season.

Homemade Bourbon Soaked Cherries in a canning jar.

Bourbon Cherries

Okay, technically this isn’t a cocktail. But, I use bourbon cherries as a garnish in many of my recipes (such as the pumpkin old fashioned cocktail above).

This bourbon cherry recipe is easy to follow and lasts for up to a year in the fridge. I like to make these in batches and gift them out to friends along with a bottle of my favorite bourbon. These would make a great handmade holiday gift idea too!

Summer Sips

Hello sunshine and warm breezes! This section is all about embracing those laid-back, sun-soaked days. Think bourbon with a splash of summer – light, refreshing, and perfect for sipping by the pool or on a sunlit patio. Whether it’s a backyard BBQ or a picnic in the park, these drinks are designed to cool you down while turning the flavor up a notch!

Sweet + Spicy Bourbon Cocktail garnished wtih strawberries and jalapeños.

Sweet and Spicy Bourbon Cocktail

The spiciness of bourbon and warm ginger beer perfectly balances out with a refreshing sweetness and tang from lime juice. Muddle in jalapeno and strawberries to enhance this sweet yet spicy drink.

Frozen Old Fashioned Slush cocktails garnished with cherries and orange slices.

Frozen Old Fashioned Slush

This frozen cocktail is another that has a special place in my heart. It may seem counterintuitive, but my family always serves frozen cocktails (or “slushes” as we call them) during the holiday season.

For this slush, you’ll need bourbon, orange juice, cherry juice, bitters, lemon-lime soda water (yes, sodas like Sprite totally work), and a few other ingredients. You’ll want to make this one 10-12 hours in advance so it has freezing time. But I promise the extra effort will be worth it.

hand squeezing a lime into a Kentucky mule cocktail.

Kentucky Mule

Ever heard of a Moscow mule? This is its southern cousin, the Kentucky mule. 2 oz of bourbon, a few squeezes of lime, and zesty ginger beer make for one of my all-time favorite easy bourbon cocktails. Pour a glass and see what I mean.

sweet tea mint juleps in canning jar glasses.

Sweet Tea Mint Julep

We’re combining two Southern classics (sweet tea and mint juleps) to create these delicious and refreshing Sweet Tea Mint Juleps. If you’re looking for a refreshing cocktail where you can whip up an entire batch all at once, this may be the drink for you.

strawberry rhubarb old fashioned made and served in a rocks glass with strawberry.

Strawberry Rhubarb Old Fashioned

A classic bourbon old fashioned gets an upgrade for summer with the help of homemade strawberry rhubarb simple syrup. This strawberry rhubarb old fashioned combines the timeless charm of an old-fashioned with the bright and tangy notes of strawberries and rhubarb.

bourbon smash cocktail in rocks class with lemon wedge and mint garnish.

Bourbon Smash

Lookin for a refreshing bourbon cocktail? Then a bourbon smash cocktail is just what you need to beat the heat. With its abundance of fresh ingredients and delicious flavors, this cocktail is the ultimate thirst quencher. 

blackberry bourbon smash cocktail in a glass with blackberry garnish.

Blackberry Bourbon Smash

And if you like a traditional bourbon smash, why no try it with blackberries?  With juicy blackberries and the warmth of bourbon coming together in a glass, this blackberry bourbon smash cocktail is the perfect mix of sweet and refreshing.

hand adding bourbon to a rocks glass with an ice cube.

Bourbon Cocktail Tips

Before we jump into the recipes, I have some helpful tips to share about drinking bourbon. I learned the hard way with some of these, so I hope these quick tips point you in the right direction!

Choose the Correct Glassware

Traditionally, bourbon drinks are served in a rocks glass (also called a whiskey tumbler or an old-fashioned glass). You can also use a double old fashioned glass.

Could you serve these easy bourbon cocktails in a mug and call it a day? Sure, but you may not get the full experience. Part of the joy of mixed drinks is the presentation.

Plus, a rocks glass offers much more than just aesthetics. The shape of the glass allows your nose more access, enjoying the sensory sniff of the cocktail. It also enables you to swirl the drink and release even more of those delicious notes.

Learn the Difference Between Bourbon and Whiskey

Many people incorrectly use whiskey and bourbon interchangeably. While all bourbon is whiskey, not all whiskey is bourbon. Bourbon is held to some different standards than whiskey. For example, a true bourbon must be distilled from a mixture include at least 51% corn for that signature sweet flavor.

Bourbon must also be produced in America, while whiskey does not. It also cannot contain any additives, flavorings, or colors. The only thing in the bottle is pure bourbon!

Buy the Best Quality Bourbon You Can Afford

While some cocktails rely on syrups and flavors that can disguise (or at least mask) alcohol, these bourbon drinks are truly all about the bourbon itself.

That’s why I recommend spending a bit more to get a good quality bourbon. I took the liberty of trying several and have a clear favorite bourbon maker, Four Roses.

When you want the bourbon to be front and center, or if you plan on sipping it on the rocks, go with Four Roses Single Barrel. However, if you are mixing in several other flavors like citrus or spices (like in many of the bourbon drinks below) then I recommend their Small Batch variety.

Bourbon and Whisky - Best Bourbon Cocktails adding bourbon to a decanter.

That’s a Wrap

There you have it – a collection easy bourbon cocktails that practically anyone will enjoy. Let me know in the comments which one you’ll be trying first, or if you have another bourbon drink to share. Cheers!

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One Comment

  1. Hi Michael,
    Frey Ranch Bourbon is a winner, they even release single barrel. They have a Hot Toddy drink, the honey used is from their farm.
    And, my daughter and son-n-law, Ashley and Colby Frey are the proprietors.