11 Summer Whiskey Cocktails that Go Down a Treat

August 17, 2022 by Anna-Bet Stemmet

Summer whiskey cocktails are a lovely way to cool down when the days grow longer, and the end of a long, warm day offers a lovely opportunity to slow down and sip something refreshing with some friends.  

Whether you are hosting an outdoor cocktail party, planning a barbeque or simply want to shake up a quick drink to toast another fine summer’s day, a whiskey-based cocktail is always a treat. Here are nine of our all-time favorites to try at home:  

1. Boulevardier

Boulevardier Cocktail

Erskine Gwynne was an American-born writer who founded a monthly magazine in Paris called Boulevardier in the roaring twenties, and the creation of the iconic Boulevardier cocktail is ascribed to her.  

It combines 1¼ oz Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon, 1 oz Campari, and 1 oz Cinzano Vermouth Rosso sweet vermouth to create a strong sipping drink that perfectly punctuates a warm evening. Whiskey cocktails for summer do not come any more 1920s than this.  

2. Pickle Juice Whiskey Sours

Pickle Juice Whiskey Sours

Of course, refreshing whiskey drinks do not always have to be sweet. If you are feeling a little adventurous and keen to introduce your taste buds to something completely novel, may we please introduce the Pickle Juice Whiskey Sours. It’s kind of like a Dirty Martini, only with more Southern-style dapperness.  

Simply combine 1½ oz bourbon, ¾ oz fresh lemon juice, ½ oz pickle juice syrup, and one egg white in a cocktail shaker with ice, shake it up, and strain it into a coupe glass. The pickle juice syrup you make by combining ½ a cup of pickle juice and ½ cup of white sugar, bringing it to a boil over heat, and then letting it cool down completely before use. 

Get a little fruity: The 12 Best Fruity Cocktails to Serve this Summer

3. Classic Whiskey Smash

Classic Whiskey Smash Cocktail

We like to think the best bourbon-based summer cocktails come to the party with something special. Take the Classic Whiskey Smash, for instance. This zingy summertime classic has a lemon base, but instead of using lemon juice, you muddle the actual lemon along with the mint to release some extra zesty goodness.  

The Classic Whisky Smash is made using 2 oz whiskey, ¼ lemon (sliced into two wedges), five large mint leaves, 1 oz simple syrup, club soda, and crushed ice. You first muddle the mint leaves; then you add the lemon wedges and muddle a second time. Then you add the whiskey and simple syrup to the shaker along with ice and shake everything until it’s ice cold before straining it into a glass over crushed ice and charging it with club soda. 

4. Mint Julep

Refreshing Mint Julep Cocktails served in copper cups

Summer whiskey cocktails seldom get any more iconic than the Mint Julep.  It really is like a sip of summer in a glass — minty-cool and a little sweet with just enough kick to hold the heat at bay. The magic of this drink lies in the trifecta of bourbon, mint, and syrup working together like a charm. 

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5. Kentucky Mule

Kentucky Mule Cocktail

As far as refreshing whiskey cocktails go, the Kentucky Mule is one of the easiest and most satisfying to whip up at home if you are keen on keeping things simple. A riff on the classic Moscow Mule, it combines 2 oz bourbon, and ½ oz of fresh lime juice with mint and ginger beer, optionally served in a copper mug to keep it nice and cool. 

6. Gold Rush

Gold Rush Cocktail

The delightful Gold Rush is a whiskey-laced spin on the Bee’s Knees that combines 2 oz bourbon, ¾ oz fresh lemon juice, and ¾ oz honey syrup that is shaken with ice and strained into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Incidentally, honey syrup is a simple syrup that is very easy to make at home by whisking together equal parts honey and water over heat, and letting it cool before use. 

Low-alc inspo: The Unexpected Summer Trend: Low ABV Cocktails

7. Bourbon Peach Smash

Bourbon Peach Smash Cocktail

Bourbon-based summer cocktails can also be nicely fruity, especially when you choose to serve the Bourbon Peach Smash. Ideal to make in peach season, it is fruity, lightly spicy, and super refreshing.  

The recipe calls for 2 oz bourbon, 4 large mint leaves, ½ oz simple syrup, ½ a large peach (diced), a splash of ginger beer or club soda, and ice. The peaches, mint, and ice are muddled, then shaken with the ice and bourbon, after which the drink is strained into a rocks glass over fresh ice and charged with ginger beer or club soda. 

8. Manhattan

Front view of Manhattan Cocktails garnished with fresh cherries

Arguably one of the best summer whiskey cocktails ever invented, the iconic Manhattan cocktail consists of just 3 familiar parts; namely whiskey, vermouth, and bitters. For a cocktail that’s whiskey-based, it’s surprisingly mellow and sweet. One sip offers vanilla and oak notes from the rye whiskey, along with the sweet and spicy flavors of vermouth and some bitter notes to finish. 

Fiesta time! 13 Easy Tequila Summer Cocktails for Beginners

9. Old Fashioned

Top view of rich Old Fashioned Cocktails with Orange peel garnish

Over the years, Old Fashioned cocktail ingredients haven’t changed much. You still only need bourbon, sugar, bitters, and water to create this well-known amber-colored drink. Back in those days, bartenders didn’t have all the mod cons they do today, so learning how to make an Old Fashioned was really quite simple—and still is.   

10. Bourbon Rickey

Close-up top shot of a Bourbon Rickey garnished with a piece of lime, with a decanter of bourbon and a sliced lime visible the side

Sometimes you’ve got to get back to basics to enjoy the captivating flavors of truly great ingredients, and that’s where the Bourbon Rickey comes in. This super simple cocktail can be poured in two minutes flat, but the elements thereof come together so beautifully that it tastes like an elegant drink that took far longer to compose.

Read next: How to Host a BYOB Party & How to Attend One

11. Classic Whiskey Sour

A pair of Whiskey Sour Cocktails posed against a grey marble finish backdrop

The sweet, slightly tart Whiskey Sour is an absolute classic with its retro foam topping and a real game-changer in terms of mouthfeel. The addition of egg white softens the acidity of the drink, giving it a rather luxurious texture without altering the flavor.

There you have it – eleven summer whiskey cocktails that go down a treat when the weather is hot, and a nice, cool drink is called for. Let us know which one is your favorite and remember to tag us in your social posts when you share pics of your gorgeous-looking cocktails online!  

PS: If you liked this round-up of summery drink recipes, you may want to check out our fine selection of summer gin cocktails as well… 


Whiskey is a very versatile spirit. If you choose a high-quality whiskey like Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon, it can be mixed with something simple like club soda and a squeeze of lemon to make a Whiskey Highball. Or you can push out the boat a bit and turn it into something fabulous like a Classic Whiskey Smash or Golden Rush cocktail.

We love shaking up some summer whiskey cocktails to enjoy in hot weather. Our favorites include the Mint Julep, Manhattan, Kentucky Mule and the iconic Old Fashioned.

We love Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon in summertime. It has a sweet upfront taste with vanilla and caramel notes, and oak and baking spices on the middle palate. The finish is bold, with strong spice and orange peel aromas. It is as easy and satisfying to sip on the rocks, as it is to shake into a tall, cool cocktail.

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