These easy summer whiskey cocktails are perfect for entertaining, especially outdoors when it’s warm.
They’re fruity, refreshing, and super delicious.
Whiskey often gets a bad rap.
Yes, it’s pretty intense and can overwhelm those who aren’t used to it. But it’s also incredibly complex and an excellent liquor for mixing.
And from boozy lemonade to the classic Mint Julep, these summer whiskey cocktails are proof.
They’re summery, bright, and perfectly balanced.
Some are sweet, while others are sour. But they’re all superbly scrumptious.
Summer Whiskey Cocktails & Drink Recipes
1. Belmont Jewel
If you’re a horse racing fan, you’re probably familiar with the Belmont Jewel.
If you’re not, just know it’s the official drink of the Belmont Stakes.
It features a brilliant ruby-red hue and a tart, tangy, and boozy taste. Plus, it’s super simple to make.
You’ll need bourbon, lemonade, and pomegranate juice, and it takes two minutes to whip up, tops.
If you’re new to mixing drinks, I highly recommend this one. It’s hard to mess up.
Ingredients: bourbon, lemonade, pomegranate juice, lemon wedge
Like the recipe above, the Boulevardier is also lovely and red.
The taste, however, is pretty distinctive. It’s a little on the dry side, though there are hints of sweetness.
Herby and citrusy, it can be divisive – many find it too bitter. But I think the bitterness is part of its charm.
It’s a crisp, refreshing drink that’ll really cleanse your palate.
So if you enjoy grapefruit, pomelos, and other bittersweet fruits, you’ll also like this drink.
Ingredients: bourbon, Campari, sweet vermouth, orange twist, ice
3. Bourbon Lemon Rosemary Cocktail
This dry, tart cocktail adds a rosemary and bourbon kick to lemonade.
The lemon juice and rosemary simple syrup combine for an exciting flavor combo. And the bourbon blends right in.
This cocktail is a unique, refreshing option for summer. It’s not overly boozy and has an easy-to-appreciate taste.
And you can whip up four cocktails at once with little trouble.
Ingredients: bourbon, lemon juice, granulated sugar, rosemary
4. Brown Derby
Featuring grapefruit, bourbon, and honey syrup, this robust, citrusy drink is tangy and bittersweet.
The most assertive flavor is, of course, grapefruit juice, so bittersweet citrus haters need not try it.
Fortunately, the honey syrup tones down much of the sourness. It still has a slightly bitter tang but isn’t too dry or biting.
This drink is for you if you want something with plenty of invigorating zing.
Ingredients: bourbon, grapefruit juice, honey, grapefruit slice
5. Gold Rush
The Gold Rush is a classic, amber-colored drink made from only three ingredients: lemon juice, honey syrup, and bourbon.
It has a strong, almost medicinal taste that’s crisp and alcohol-forward. And if you’ve spent any time in the south, it may even taste familiar to you.
Remember that homemade cough syrup your gramma or auntie whipped up? The one with whiskey, lemon juice, honey, and peppermint?
That’s similar to how this tastes.
It’s not sweet, but it isn’t bitter, either. It’s perfect for those who love to savor the flavor of their spirits.
Ingredients: lemon juice, honey syrup, bourbon, lemon wedge
6. Irish Maid
The Irish Maid stands in stark contrast to the Gold Rush cocktail.
It’s so light and fresh, it’s more like a spa-day drink than a summer cocktail.
And from the Irish whiskey and elderflower liqueur to the simple syrup, lemon juice, and cucumbers, it’s easy to see why.
It’s refreshing with herby, floral, and slightly sweet notes. Better yet, it isn’t heavy on the alcohol.
The fresh flavors of cucumber and elderflower come through stronger than anything else.
That said, it isn’t ideal for people who love sugary sweet drinks. Instead, it’s for those who enjoy a lighter cocktail with subtle complexities.
Ingredients: cucumber, Irish whiskey, St. Germain, simple syrup, lemon juice
7. Kentucky Lemonade
Sparkling lemonade with bourbon and mint? Yup, this is just as zippy, bubbly, and delightful as it sounds.
Every ingredient shines through in this one. That means it’s fresh, sweet, tart, tangy, boozy, and everything in between.
Fortunately, you don’t have to be in Kentucky to make or enjoy it.
You can whip up enough for a crowd in about 10 minutes, even if you’re a New York city slicker.
Ingredients: granulated sugar, water, lemon juice, mint leaves, bourbon, ginger ale, lemon wedge
8. Kentucky Mule
I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that most of these summer whiskey drinks call for bourbon.
As the saying goes, “all bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon.”
Bourbon uses at least 51% corn in its mash, making it much sweeter than regular whiskey.
And while it can be made anywhere in the United States, it’s mostly distilled in Kentucky.
So it’s no surprise Kentuckians took their most popular export and put a southern twist on the classic Moscow Mule.
It’s refreshing, zesty, and nose-ticklingly delicious. Oh, and the colder it is, the better it tastes, so use plenty of ice.
Ingredients: bourbon whiskey, fresh lime juice, ginger beer, ice, lime wedge, fresh mint
9. Lynchburg Lemonade
Here’s another whiskey-infused lemonade recipe. But instead of simple syrup and lemon juice, you’ll use lemon juice and lemon-lime soda.
It makes it bubblier and more tingly on the tongue. You’ll also add a dash of Triple Sec for more citrusy goodness.
With all that fruity flavor, it’s no wonder this one is so perfect for summer.
Ingredients: Jack Daniel’s whiskey, triple sec, lemon juice, lemon-lime soda, ice, lemon slices
The Manhattan is a classic that needs no description.
So if you have bourbon (or rye), bitters, and sweet red Vermouth, you have everything you need.
Ingredients: bourbon or rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, Angostura or orange bitters, Luxardo cherry
11. Mint Julep
Mint Juleps are just as well-known and well-loved as Manhattan cocktails. Their taste, though, is entirely different.
Mega minty, crisp, and refreshing, they’re just what you need on a hot summer day at the races.
As long as you enjoy mint and a bit of sweetness, you’ll adore these five-ingredient cocktails.
Ingredients: crushed ice, bourbon, minty simple syrup, lemon juice, mint
12. Jack’s Tennessee Sweet Tea
Sweet tea is a southern summer staple. But this recipe isn’t quite the southern sweet tea you’re expecting.
Instead, it’s more like a Long Island Iced Tea.
In other words, it doesn’t actually contain any tea. Instead, it features your favorite brand of Cola, Jack Daniels, lemon juice, and honey.
The result is a potent cocktail with sweet, sour, and smoky notes. It tastes nothing like tea, but I like it anyway.
Ingredients: Jack Daniel’s whiskey, lemon juice, honey, Coke
13. Whiskey Sour
Speaking of sour notes: this three-ingredient drink is the best Whiskey Sour you’ll ever try.
It features bourbon, lemon juice, and pure maple syrup, so it’s a sweet and tangy masterpiece that’s impossible not to love.
(Unless sour cocktails aren’t your thing, of course. In that case, keep scrolling!)
Ingredients: bourbon whiskey, lemon juice, maple syrup, orange peel, cocktail cherry, ice
14. Strawberry Whiskey Lemonade
This scrumptious strawberry lemonade tastes divine – with or without the whiskey.
It’s sweet, fruity, fresh, and phenomenal.
It’s also an excellent choice if you want to make mocktails instead.
You’ll dig this one if you don’t really want to taste the whiskey in your drink. It’s more fruity-licious than boozy.
Ingredients: whiskey, strawberry shrubs, aromatic bitters, lemonade, lemon, fresh strawberries, ice
15. Peach Mint Julep
Want to add a fruity, southern flair to the traditional Mint Julep? Try this peach Mint Julep recipe instead.
The ingredients are very similar to the regular recipe above. You’ll just add peaches and the ginger simple syrup to the mix.
This cocktail has everything you love about Mint Juleps, only dialed up in spades. There’s more flavor, more minty freshness, and more spice.
Try it for yourself at your next brunch or backyard BBQ, and you won’t be disappointed – neither will anyone else who tries it.
Ingredients: mint leaves, fresh peach slices, ginger simple syrup, lemon juice, bourbon, ginger beer, fresh mint
16. New York Sour
The New York Sour is certainly prettier than the Whiskey Sour above.
As for their tastes, both are pretty great. But this one has more sweetness, so it’s great for almost every palate.
It’s also a bit dry, though not overly so.
You’ll love its unique appearance and the extra foaminess on top. Fortunately, it tastes as good as it looks.
Ingredients: rye or bourbon whiskey, lemon juice, egg white, pure maple syrup or simple syrup, dry red wine
17. Blackberry Bourbon Smash
Most of my friends think this drink is dry and minty. And while I totally agree with them on the minty part, I find it sweet and berry-licious.
I love all the blackberry flavor, and the lime juice and simple syrup just accentuate it. Top it off with club soda, and it’s hard to resist.
It’s probably my favorite drink on this entire list. So try it yourself, and let me know what you think!
Ingredients: bourbon, lime juice or lime wedges, mint leaves, blackberries, simple syrup, club soda, ice
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