With the richness and full flavor of bourbon, it’s hard for some to imagine mixing it with anything but a couple of ice cubes or a splash of water.
The texture and tastes of the many different expressions of bourbon however marry well with many ingredients and stand up to others in delightful cocktails.
It’s perhaps no coincidence that the first drink listed in an 1895 edition of “The Mixologist”, a favorite bartender “bible”, is a whiskey cocktail. Since Kentucky’s legendary Senator Henry Clay introduced the Mint Julep to Washington, DC at the Willard Hotel and the Old-Fashioned was first made at Louisville’s famed Pendennis Club, the bourbon cocktail has earned its place in American mixology. Current trends with house-made bitters and culinary-inspired infusions are delighting the most discriminating palettes around the globe.
You will find a great selection of books featuring bourbon cocktails at many of the gift shops and bookstores in Bourbon Country. Some of our favorite titles are “The Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book” by Joy Perrine and Susan Reigler and Chef Albert Schmids’ “The Kentucky Bourbon Cookbook”.
To get you started on a few in your own home bar, here are some of Kentuckians' go-to bourbon drinks.