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Gold Rush Cocktail Recipe

The three-ingredient Gold Rush cocktail is a smooth libation that has bourbon lovers swooning!

This modern cocktail has all the makings of a classic. Made with bourbon, honey syrup, and lemon juice, it’s simple yet refined. And it tastes like liquid gold!

A glass of gold rush cocktail filled with ice garnished with lemon peel.
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What are you waiting for? Mix one up and see what all the fuss is about. 

What Is a Gold Rush Drink?

A Gold Rush is a modern cocktail. It’s like a cross between a whiskey sour and a Bee’s Knees

It features three basic ingredients: bourbon, honey syrup, and lemon. But don’t let the simplicity fool you, as it’s remarkably complex and well-balanced. 

Like the Penicillin cocktail, the Gold Rush was invented at New York’s Milk & Honey bar. Despite the old-time name, it didn’t come on the scene until the early 2000s.

Now, it’s a modern-day classic!

Ice cold gold rush cocktail on a glass garnished with lemon peel.


Do you have bourbon? How about honey and lemon? Then you can make this cocktail right now!

Here’s the rundown on the ingredients:

  • Bourbon – Choose a quality brand of bourbon. Some of my favorites include Bulleit and Four Roses.
  • Lemon – Do not use the bottled stuff! Fresh lemon juice is a must for this drink. The store-bought stuff has off-flavors that will diminish the quality.
  • Honey Syrup – For sweetness and balancing out the drink. You can make it with just honey and water.
  • Lemon Twist (Optional) – For a classy garnish! 

How to Make a Gold Rush Cocktail 

The Gold Rush is a simple yet impressive cocktail any beginner can make. All you need is a glass, a cocktail shaker, and these steps:

1. Fill a cocktail shaker. Pack a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour in the bourbon, lemon juice, and honey syrup. Shake for about 15 seconds.

2. Strain. Strain the cocktail into a chilled rocks glass filled with ice.

3. Garnish. Add a lemon twist if desired. Serve and enjoy!

Gold rush cocktail on a glass filled with ice garnished with lemon peel.

What Kind of Whiskey Should I Use? 

Quality whiskey is essential for this drink since the flavor is noticeable.

You can use any kind, but I recommend using bourbon. It is a little sweeter than your average whiskey, with wonderful notes of caramel, vanilla, and oak. 

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It doesn’t have to break the bank, either. Just choose something well-crafted with a flavor profile you like. 

Here are some ideas:

  • Bulleit – My personal favorite! It’s clean, smooth, and a little spicy with a sweet oak aroma. It’s also widely available. 
  • Four Roses – Rich and oaky with a nice spiced finish. It’s a little pricier than other bottles, but it’s worth it.
  • Buffalo Trace – An affordable brand that’s good quality. It has a pleasant aroma and hints of brown sugar.
  • Maker’s Mark – It’s easy to find and has complementary notes of fruit and vanilla.
  • Knob Creek – The notes of oak, vanilla, and caramel play well with the lemon and honey. It’s rich, woody, and full-bodied.

More Bourbon Cocktails 

Bourbon Smash

New York Sour


Mint Julep

Gold Rush Cocktail



Prep time


Cooking time




This tasty Gold Rush cocktail is guaranteed to give you a buzz! Made with bourbon, honey syrup, and lemon juice, it’s such a treat.


  • 2 ounces bourbon

  • 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice

  • 3/4 ounce honey syrup

  • Lemon twist, for garnish


  • Add the bourbon, lemon juice, and honey syrup to a shaker filled with ice. Shake it vigorously for 15 seconds.
  • Strain it into a chilled rocks glass filled with fresh ice.
  • Garnish it with a lemon twist. Serve and enjoy!
  • How to Make Honey Syrup
  • Combine equal parts water and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until the honey dissolves completely.
  • Remove it from the heat and let it cool before using. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.


  • For a smoky twist, try using mezcal instead of bourbon for a “Mezcal Gold Rush.”
Gold Rush Cocktail

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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