Whiskey has a long tradition and goes back to Scotland in the late 1400s. During the last 500 years, the spirit evolved into one of the most popular spirits worldwide, alongside Vodka and Rum.
Especially premium Whiskeys, aged for decades in wooden barrels, are usually drunk neat because a dram can easily be worth more than $20 and up. -Honestly, the sky is the limit here.
But apart from those ultimate luxury bottles, a good Whiskey base also makes some incredibly delicious mixed drinks.
So, here's the list of the best Whiskey Cocktails to make at home.
Also, if you want to get an overview of all our recipes for cocktails made with different types of Whiskey, continue here:
All-time Whiskey cocktail classics
These drinks are some of the oldest Whiskey Cocktails that will never get out of fashion. - No pun intended.
1. Old Fashioned
You probably won't find a more classic and elegant cocktail than the Old Fashioned. It is one of the most influential Whiskey cocktails and usually made with sugar cubes, a splash of water, bitters, and Bourbon or Rye.
Old Fashioned Riffs & Twists
2. Whiskey Sour
The Whiskey Sour Cocktail is right on par with the Old Fashioned. It doesn't highlight the spirit as much but balances it perfectly with lemon juice and a bit of sugar syrup. The frothy egg white foam is optional but provides the perfect texture.
Manhattan cocktail inspiration
The Sazerac is one of many legendary cocktails invented in New Orleans. It also asks for a very particular preparation method - an Absinthe rinse. Other ingredients are Cognac, two types of Whiskey, syrup, and Peychaud's bitters.
Boulevardier twists & riffs
6. Vieux Carre
Like most Whiskey cocktail classics, the Vieux Carre is quite a boozy concoction. This recipe, too, calls for alcoholic ingredients only: Whiskey, Cognac, bitters, D.O.M. Bénédictine, and Sweet Vermouth.
7. Rusty Nail
The Rusty Nail is one of the few Whiskey Classics made with Scotch. The peaty Whisky is not for everyone, but if you like the smoky flavor, this drink is a brilliant choice. The only other ingredient is Drambuie liqueur - a liqueur based on Scotch.
Contemporary Whiskey classics
These Whiskey drinks also have a long and successful history but are not quite as fundamental and influential. Yet, each of them is a delight.
8. Paper Plane
The Paper Plane is a bittersweet mix of Bourbon, Aperol, Amaro Nonnino Quintessentia, and lemon juice. You can spot the drink from a distance because it usually is served with a small paper plane on the side.
9. Mint Julep
The Mint Julep goes back to the 1800s but became the signature cocktail of the Kentucky Derby in the late 1930s. The Whiskey cocktail made with Bourbon, mint, and sugar is traditionally served in a metal vessel, the so-called Julep cup.
Mint Julep inspiration & twists
The Penicillin Cocktail is the second classic on our list made with Scotch. The balanced mix of two types of Whisky, honey-ginger syrup and fresh lemon juice is nicely balanced and perfectly suited for Scotch beginners.
Want to know why Whisky is without an e in this case? Read why in the post Whiskey vs. Whisky.
11. Irish Coffee
Technically, Irish Coffee is not really a cocktail. Instead - the clue is in the title - it is a coffee spiked with Irish Whiskey, a splash of syrup, and an ounce of cream. Still, the IBA officially lists it as a cocktail, and so do we. - And besides, it is delicious!
More Irish coffee inspiration
Whiskey Sour variations
With the Whiskey Sour being one of the most ordered Whiskey Cocktails, it's no wonder that, over time, various riffs came up. Here are three of our favorites.
12. New York Sour
The New York Sour is a creation of the 1880s and, therefore, itself actually a classic Whiskey cocktail. It enhances the base recipe of the Whiskey Sour with a beautiful float of dry red wine.
NY Sour inspiration
13. Continental Sour
The Continental Sour is one of my favorite cocktails, if not my overall favorite. It upgrades the New York Sour by replacing the dry red wine float with a sweeter, boozier tawny port wine float. A true delight!
14. Stone Sour
The Stone Sour is slightly further from the standard Sour template than the two other riffs. The recipe calls for additional Apricot Brandy and freshly squeezed orange juice.
Popular twists on the Manhattan
The Manhattan also inspired many tweaks and twists. Three of these also made with Whiskey are here:
15. Black Manhattan
As the name suggests, the Black Manhattan is darker in color than the original. This characteristic is owed to substituting the Sweet Vermouth with Amaro Averna, a dark-colored herbal liqueur from Sicily.
17. Brooklyn Cocktail
The Brooklyn Cocktail is a creative twist on the Manhattan and calls for an ingredient that's a little more difficult to get: Amer Picon, a bittersweet liqueur from Belgium. The other ingredients are Rye, Dry Vermouth, and Maraschino liqueur.
Other Whiskey Cocktail favorites
And here are some more fantastic Whiskey Cocktails for you to try that you can easily make at home.
18. Godfather Whisky Cocktail
The Godfather Cocktail is named after the famous movie with Al Pacino and Marlon Brando. It's a straightforward blend of peaty Scotch Whisky and sweet and slightly fruity Amaretto. The simple combination works sensationally.
19. Christmas Old Fashioned
Here's a festive twist on the classic Old Fashioned. The recipe calls for Rye, cranberry syrup, and a couple of dashes of Angostura bitters. The syrup adds a beautiful fruity sweetness, and sugared cranberries make for a fantastic garnish.
20. Japanese Highball
The Japanese Highball has perfected the art of mixing Whiskey and Soda. The tradition requires you to follow very specific procedures to get this drink right.
21. Blood & Sand
One last beautiful Scotch Cocktail on our list - the Blood and Sand made with Speyside single malt, Sweet Vermouth, freshly squeezed orange juice, and the exquisite Heering Cherry liqueur.
For more drinks with the smoky spirit, check out our list of the best Scotch cocktails.
22. Montreal Cocktail
The Montreal Cocktail is an exception on this list as it features a split base of Canadian Rye and London Dry Gin. It's the official drink of the city of Montreal and also calls for Aperol and Suze.
23. Maple Old Fashioned
Another seasonal twist on the Old Fashioned is this Maple flavored version. It's made with maple syrup instead of the traditional sugar cube, which adds a lovely autumnal flavor to the drink.