Sunday, February 11, 2024

My 13 favorite recent bourbon cocktail recommendations

Betty Carter
As my amateur mixology hobby continues apace, I want to share my top 13 recent bourbon cocktails that I've worked to near perfection. If you're a bourbon drinker, I hope you can enjoy making these yourself or invite me over to make them for you! With each of them, you may start with whichever bourbon you like, but I've found that Bulliet is a brand that is tasty, affordable, and versatile. It works well with each of these recipes (in alphabetical order):

The 19th Century was actually not invented until 2016 but is a new take on the New York sour family of cocktails.

  • 1 and 1/2 parts bourbon
  • 3/4 parts white Creme de cacao liqueur
  • 3/4 parts sweet vermouth (or Lillet Rouge)
  • 3/4 parts lemon juice
  • Garnish with lemon twist

I already wrote about a batch of yummy banana cocktails, but I didn't mention the Banana Bread Old Fashioned, which - assuming you like bananas - might be the MVP of this family.

  • 4 dashes of black walnut bitters and a little simple syrup at the bottom of shaker
  • 2 and 1/2 parts bourbon
  • 3/4 parts banana liqueur

The Last Word
The Betty Carter is a whiskey sour created in 2015 by a New York City bartender inspired by the famous jazz singer who lived down the street. I was mostly inspired to try it because I excitedly bought a bottle of Pedro Ximenez sherry, wanting to experiment for the first time with sherry drinks.

  • 1 and 1/2 parts bourbon
  • 3/4 parts sherry
  • 1/2 parts lucano amaro (gor subs are Campari 0 if you prefer bitter - or Aperol - if you prefer sweeter)
  • 3/4 parts lemon juice
  • 3 drops of saline solution (which is typically 4 parts water and 1 part sea salt)
  • Garnish with a lemon twist

The Bourbon Gold Smash is a honeyed take on the more fruity Bourbon Smash.

  • 2 parts bourbon
  • 1 part honey syrup
  • 1 part fresh lime juice

I really love the Chocolate Boulevardier. Some people don't like vermouth, but I've begun to find it essential in many, many great cocktails. That's saying quite a bit because I'm not much of a wine drinker and vermouth is basically a sweeter version of crushed grapes. 

  • 1 1/4 parts bourbon
  • 3/4 parts sweet vermouth
  • 3/4 parts campari
  • 3-4 dashes of chocolate bitters
  • Garnish with an orange peel

UInbelievably not created until 2006, the Elderflower Manhattan basically subs sweet versouth in a Manhattan with elderflower liquer, which is a great replacement in a bunch of classic drinks.  

  • 2 parts bourbon
  • 1 part elderflower
  • 1/2 parts dry vermouth
  • 2 dashes angostura bitters
  • Garnish with a cherry

The Expat is one of my favorite drinks to make if needed quickly! 

  • 2 parts bourbon
  • 2 dashes of angostura bitters
  • 3/4 parts fresh lime juice\
  • 3/4 parts simple syrup

The Gold Rush
The Gold Rush is among the most flavorful on this list, with its gold-yellow hue alive with ginger, spice, and sweet flavors. Delicious.

  • 1 part bourbon
  • 2/3 parts ginger liqueur
  • 1/4 parts fresh lemon juice
  • 1/5 parts fresh lime juice
  • 1/5 parts honey syrup (3 part honey, 1 part water)
  • 3 drops of saline solution
  • Garnish with a cherry

It's not so easy to get chartreuse these days, as the monks who make it have scaled back on production as the drink becomes more popular. The last bottle of yellow chartreuse I bought (luckily a bottle goes a long way) was $70 but that last I checked it had gone up to $100. But once you try chartreuse, it it tough to ever go back to not having it in your collection. The Last Word Variation is what I call my own twist because The Last Word uses green chartreuse and I have been using yellow. This is a cult cocktail that people long for a very good, tangy reason.

  • 1 part bourbon
  • 3/4 parts of fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 parts yellow chartreuse
  • Garnish with a cherry (sometimes I pour a tiny bit of cherry concentrate in)
  • Garnish with a lime

La Valencia is another flavorful one that I've made for various groups with resounding thumbs-ups. Yellow chartreuse makes another appearance.

  • 1 part whiskey
  • 1 and 1/2 parts manzanilla sherry (can substitute with dry vermouth)
  • 1/2 parts yellow chartreuse
  • 3/4 parts fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 parts simple syrup
  • 1 dash of angostura bitters

The Oleo Sacrament leans on a plum and floral feel. I've also made this for groups that loved it.

  • 1 and 2/3 parts bourbon
  • 1/2 parts lime oleo saccharum (which is essentially simple syrup with lime)
  • 1/3 parts Benedictine DOM (or Braulio is a great substitute)
  • 2 dashes of Peychauds bitters
  • 2 dashes of plum bitters
  • Garnish with a lemon zest twist

The Paper Plane is a famous pink drink that is also a variation of The Last Word. It's lemony and zesty and was created in 2007.

  • 3/4 parts bourbon
  • 3/4 parts Aperol
  • 3/4 parts Amaro Nonino Quintessentia (or Angostura bitters and sweet vermouth)
  • 3/4 parts fresh lemon juice

And finally, for peach lovers, it's tough to beat The Royalist.

  • 1 and 1/2 parts dry vermouth
  • 1 part bourbon
  • 3/4 parts Benedictine DOM
  • 1 dash of peach bitters
  • Garnish with a peach slice

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