6 Bourbon Whiskey Cocktails

6 Bourbon Whiskey Cocktails For Every Season

Whiskey drinkers take their labels seriously, and a Bourbon style whiskey is a specific label. For this American bottle of the brown stuff, over half of the mash needs to be corn, and it needs to be distilled at 80% ABV and bottle at 40% ABV. But that’s not what makes it perfect for cocktails is it? The fact is that bourbon is sweeter than rye whiskey– and often carries notes of caramel– so it slides right into that old fashioned or mint julep. It’s a drink that’s just as good mixed as it is neat, so here’s six ways to concoct cocktails with a bottle of bourbon.

Disclaimer: if you’re planning to offer any of the following cocktails or other alcoholic beverages at your food truck, then make sure you have all the right equipment on-hand first. This includes jiggers for measuring alcohol to ensure that you stay compliant with RSA regulations.

Bourbon Whiskey Cocktails For Every Season
Bourbon Whiskey Cocktails For Every Season

1. Spring: Mint Julep

Like 7 Up, a mint julep started as a form of medicine – or at least a way to help the medicine go down. But being relegated to the medicine cabinet would be a waste for a drink this tasty. The coolness of the mint balances the warmth and spice of the bourbon, and the sugar and ice make it a sweet treat for a spring day. It’s also too easy to make up. Well-sweeten your bourbon with your pick of sugar, then paired with ice and a sprig of mint– and if you’re the type to temper your whiskey, a little water is an optional extra.


  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 1/4 oz simple syrup
  • Fresh mint leaves
  • Crushed ice

Fun Fact: The Mint Julep has been the official drink of the Kentucky Derby since 1938, with nearly 120,000 juleps served over the two-day event.

2. Summer: Bourbon Lemonade

Bourbon Lemonade doesn’t sound like the perfect way to cool down in the twilight of a hot American summer day? Sweet, tangy and spicy. The bold bourbon turns tender with the tangy lemonade and the tasty sugar. The trick here is to make your own lemonade from scratch, after that you add the bourbon and you pour yourself a big glass– and for that little Texas touch, add a lemon wheel or a mint sprig on the rim.


  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 4 oz fresh lemonade
  • Lemon wheel and mint sprig for garnish

Fun Fact: Bourbon Lemonade is a staple at summer festivals across the southern United States, often served in mason jars for a rustic touch.

3. Autumn: Maple Bourbon Smash

Here’s a twist on a mint julep and a bourbon lemonade– a maple bourbon smash. It’s bourbon hit with a dash of tangy lemon juice, then softened with a dash of maple syrup– and for garnish? A sprig of rosemary, straight off the bush. You can tell it’s a drink for Autumn because it has some kick, but sure as that, you’ll be coming back for more.


  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 1/2 oz maple syrup
  • 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
  • Fresh rosemary sprig for garnish

Fun Fact: Maple syrup production, closely associated with autumn, dates back to the indigenous peoples of North America, who taught early settlers how to harvest and boil the sap.

4. Winter: Hot Toddy

They don’t call ‘em hot toddies for nothing. When the rain creeps in, you’ll want one on hand to keep you warm. Hot water, honey, and lemon juice are your usual cold-cures, but add bourbon and a cinnamon stick? Now we’ve got a cocktail going. 


  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 4 oz hot water
  • Lemon slice and cinnamon stick for garnish

Fun Fact: The Hot Toddy is believed to have originated in Scotland in the 18th century, used as a cure for the common cold and other winter maladies.

5. Year-Round: Old Fashioned

They call it the old fashioned because it’s touted as one of the original cocktails. And it’s one that’s stood the test of time. Bourbon, sugar, bitters. That’s the basics, but from there you can make it your own. Add an orange twist, a maraschino cherry, a dash of nutmeg. Go neat or add ice or soda water, it’s versatile. The simplicity of the drink and the endless potential for variation are certainly what kept the old fashioned on rotation and why it’s a perfect pick year-round.


  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 1 sugar cube
  • 2-3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Soda water
  • Orange twist and cherry for garnish
  • Nutmeg (optional)

Fun Fact: The Old Fashioned is often cited as the original cocktail, dating back to the early 19th century and defined by its minimalist approach.

6. Festive: Bourbon Eggnog

When the eggnog hits the shelf, you know the holidays are right around the corner. But sometimes plain eggnog is too sweet, too mellow – it needs a kick. Spike it with a dash of your favourite bourbon and enjoy the warmth of the holiday season. It’s such a simple cocktail, that it’s a natural addition to any christmas celebration, but if you want to elevate it, try a topping of whipped cream, a cherry, and a dash of nutmeg. 

This one can also be served in Australia during the winter for ‘Christmas In July’ festivals. And if you have a coffee machine in your food truck, you may even opt to add a splash of java into this one to really enhance this beloved winter warmer.


  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 1 cup eggnog
  • Freshly grated nutmeg for garnish
  • Whipped cream (optional)

Fun Fact: Eggnog’s origins can be traced back to early mediaeval Britain, where it was made with hot milk and ale, evolving into the spiked holiday drink we know today.


It’s the sweetness of bourbon that makes it so versatile. It doesn’t have the hard edges of a vodka or an absinthe for you to work around. So any season, any situation, bring a bottle of bourbon and you’ll be impressed by what you can mix it with. There are far more recipes than listed here, so go wild and try a Boulevardier, an Alpine Brew, a New York Sour, or a Milk Punch – happy mixing!