9 Bourbon-Based Summer Cocktails to Beat the Heat
June 07, 2022 by Helena Lombard
Bourbon is probably not the first drink you reach for on a hot summer’s day. With its dark colour and warming, rich flavour, it makes sense that it’s a popular choice in fall and winter. But here’s the trick: bourbon-based summer cocktails are enjoyable and very refreshing when mixed correctly.
So, if it’s so hot that your chair is sticking to your thighs and getting up every time you do, try these summer bourbon drinks to cool you down.
1. Bourbon Apple Cider
While this is a popular autumn drink, it’s also perfect for summer. The Bourbon Apple Cider is made with bourbon, apple cider, sweet vermouth, lemon juice, and orange bitters in a highball glass with loads of ice. The caramel and vanilla flavours of the bourbon blend beautifully with the crispness of the apple cider and the sourness of the lemon juice. It’s a refreshing and balanced summer drink.
The best part of this recipe is making these refreshing bourbon cocktails in a batch, so you can sit back in the shade (or in front of your AC) while your guests serve themselves.
2. Apple Butter Old Fashioned Cocktail
Another surprising entry in our refreshing bourbon cocktails list is the Apple Butter Old Fashioned. While our original version of this recipe calls for a dry shake and no ice in the serving glass, we suggest you ice it up.
To make an apple butter cocktail perfect for summer, add ice to your cocktail shaker, along with bourbon, homemade apple butter, lemon juice, and bitters and shake until icy cold. Pour it into your ice-filled highball glass, and top it up with cold apple cider and ginger beer. Yum in a glass!
3. Old Fashioned Cocktail Ingredients
The Old Fashioned Cocktail is an iconic bourbon cocktail that’s been around for yonks, and over the years, the recipe hasn’t changed much. You still only need your favourite bourbon, sugar, bitters, and water to create this iconic amber-coloured drink. For these bourbon-based summer cocktails, we like Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon Whiskey for its high rye content and bold signature Wild Turkey spice and orange peel flavour.
It’s a classic cocktail served on the rocks, but if you’d like it a little less potent and a bit more summery, we suggest you do it in a highball glass filled with ice and top it off with soda. Garnished with either an orange peel twist or maraschino cherry, it’s the perfect after-dinner slow sipper on a warm evening.
4. Mint Julep
These refreshing bourbon cocktails have been around since the 1800s and more recently played a leading role at decadent New York parties in the hit movie, The Great Gatsby. The Mint Julep was (and still is) the perfect drink to cool down. In real life, this minty fresh crushed ice summer cocktail is the star of the Kentucky Derby (other than the horses, of course).
To pull off a Gatsby-esque Mint Julep, you only need three ingredients: bourbon, mint, and simple syrup. For the perfect serve of these summer bourbon drinks, we suggest investing in silver or pewter Julep cups as they will keep the drinks cold for much longer. But if it’s so hot and you can’t be bothered, go ahead and serve them in tumblers instead. Summer in a glass (or cup) with every sip.
5. Bourbon Watermelon Cocktail
Watermelon is synonymous with summertime, and if you haven’t had a watermelon seed spitting contest, you haven’t lived! Luckily for you, that’s not what this recipe entails. Bourbon Watermelon Cocktails are also known as Murricanes and is the nickname for Bill Murray by industry peers because of how difficult he can be. Luckily these exciting bourbon summer cocktails aren’t as fiery as the actor, and after having one, you’ll feel cool, calm, and collected.
Made with an unusual mix of ingredients, including bourbon, fresh watermelon, elderflower liqueur, fresh basil leaves, lemon, and black pepper to garnish. It’s an interesting and refreshing drink best served for a day that is so hot you’re feeling spitting mad.
6. Italian Gentleman Cocktail
The Italian Gentleman Cocktail is a delicious Campari and bourbon-based summer cocktail that’s easy to prepare as an aperitif for your guests on a hot night. This timeless cocktail was created in 2014, so it’s relatively new on the scene and is a spin-off of the classic Negroni with similar components used. To make these summer bourbon cocktails, combine bourbon, Campari, orange bitters, fresh lemon juice, and simple syrup in an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Once it’s all shook up, double strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with a twist of lemon.
It’s a well-balanced drink that’s slightly sweet and bitter and a great choice to serve as part of your Negroni week celebrations.
7. John Collins
John is part of the Collins family of drinks and is a delightful sour cocktail that’s simple to make. All you need is bourbon, fresh lemon juice, sugar syrup, and club soda. Make these refreshing bourbon cocktails straight in the glass. Garnished with a fresh slice of orange and maraschino cherry.
A John Collins is pretty much a whiskey sour served in a tall icy glass and is a popular choice in summer. You’ve basically made lemonade and mixed it with a spirit. And who doesn’t love boozy lemonade in summer?
8. Classic Bourbon Highball
Speaking of really simple summer bourbon cocktails, the Classic Bourbon Highball is a must for the novice cocktail maker. It’s a refreshing cocktail for bourbon lovers. While the traditional recipe called for club soda, this one uses ginger ale. A popular choice for many, the type of ale and bourbon you use can open up a world of exciting flavours.
Simple cocktails are classic for a reason, and this tall cooling drink is excellent for an outdoor cocktail party.
9. Blackberry Bourbon Smash
Nicknamed the ‘bourbon lover’s Mojito’, the Blackerby Bourbon Smash is packed with delicious berry flavours.
Made with freshly muddled blackberries, lime, mint, and bourbon, the taste will remind you of a Mint Julep that had berry babies with a Mojito. Naughty but nice, these bourbon-based summer cocktails are a smashing way to cool down and relax after a sweaty and sweltering day.