Sipping seasonal drinks is one of our specialties. And while there are plenty of pretty rosés to imbibe with, we’re more curious about one of summer’s forgotten liquors—good ‘ole bourbon. If you thought refreshing summer bourbon cocktails weren’t a possibility, think again, thirsty friend.
There are many ways to make bourbon light and summery.
To fuel our thirst for summer bourbon cocktails, we searched some of the most creative cocktail menus across the United States to find a few mixology masterpieces. Because straight whiskey is a little too hardcore for hot summer nights, these below bourbon cocktails for summer will satisfy the craving without making you wince. Here are some of the best summer bourbon cocktails to sip on as summer fades into fall.
1. Keys to the Lake House
Oklahoma City, OK
Inspired by summers spent at the lake, the Keys to the Lake House bourbon cocktail at OKC’s Ponyboy features Lustau East India Sherry, Bonded Bourbon, blackberry, mint, and bitters. According to Micah Anderson, Ponyboy’s bar manager and the creator of this sip, the drink is meant to represent “the more sophisticated side of lake life—enjoying time at your parents’ nice lake cabin with the patio that overlooks the lake.” Ahh, we get the name now.
2. Lady Midnight
From Butchertown Grocery’s upstairs lounge, Lola’s, the Lady Midnight saunters onto the scene. The creative concoction features Old Forester signature bourbon, complemented by bone marrow-washed Pedro Ximenez sherry, Becherovka (high-quality herbal liqueur), and mole bitters. Experienced foodies must try this summer bourbon cocktail next time they’re in Louisville—it’s one you’ll talk about for a while.
3. The Clipper
Santa Monica, CA
On Santa Monica’s oceanfront, you’ll find 1 Pico, where The Clipper combines Makers Mark, Aperol, and honey syrup for just enough sweetness to cut the alcohol. Then, it’s finished with freshly squeezed lemon juice.
4. The Seelbach
At TAKODA, a hip DC-based beer garden, The Seelbach holds historical prominence. First crafted in 1917 at The Seelbach Hotel in the bourbon-happy region, Louisville, Kentucky, this summer bourbon cocktail is pretty simple, with a refreshing twist. It combines Redemption Bourbon, Cointreau, bitters, more bitters, and sparkling wine. Try it next time you want a great drink in an even cooler atmosphere.
5. Bourbon Bushwacker
From Nashville’s Party Fowl, the Bourbon Bushwacker might not be the most bikini-friendly drink, but it’s certainly heat-wave-approved. (It’s also a local favorite—shhh.) This indulgent adult chocolate milkshake uses bourbon instead of rum, so buckle up!
6. Whiskey Business
Las Vegas, NV
Could the name of this cocktail be any better? Estiatorio Milos at the Cosmopolitan hotel in Vegas serves up a zingy bourbon drink. “Whiskey Business” mixes Bulleit Rye, fresh lemon juice, mint, peppercorn syrup, and Fever-Tree Ginger Beer for a mule-like drink full of flavor.
One more for the folks at home. Make a bourbon punch with the following ingredients: 6 ounces bourbon, 3 ounces Five-Spice Syrup, 2 ounces fresh juice from two to three limes, 8 ounces club soda, and lime wedges for garnish. Get the full recipe to make this rich sip!
Want more suggestions on what to eat and drink all around the world? Join The Short Lysst for curated travel ideas and exclusive offers.