16 Popular Whiskey Drinks

Karen Frazier
Whiskey Sour

Many people enjoy whiskey cocktails. There are many styles of whiskey (or whisky if you're in Scotland or Canada), and each adds its own unique taste to mixed drinks. Whiskey blends well with many mixers so a number of popular cocktails are made with whiskey.

1. Whiskey Sour

A sour is one of the oldest types of cocktails that contains equal parts sweet and sour with two parts of a strong (in this case, whiskey). With sweet and sour notes, a whisky sour is a lovely balance between the whiskey, lemon juice, and sugar syrup. Whiskey sours have been around since the late 1800s, and people enjoy the balance of sweet and sour with strong whiskey. Use any whiskey you choose here, but it's nice with rye and with a smooth Canadian whisky.

Ingredients

  • 1½ ounces whiskey
  • ¾ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¾ ounce simple syrup
  • Ice
  • 1 maraschino cherry

Instructions

  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine the whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup.
  2. Add the ice and shake.
  3. Pour into a rocks glass filled with ice.
  4. Garnish with a cherry.

2. Sazerac

Created in New Orleans, the Sazerac has a nice sweet flavor balanced by bitters, lemon, simple syrup, and herbal liqueur. All the different flavors create a lovely balance and a nice sweetness. People enjoy the combination of herbal and citrus flavors with warm rye or bourbon.

Sazerac cocktail

3. Irish Coffee

Irish coffee is a great hot drink that is particularly popular on cold winter days. Brown sugar syrup and unsweetened heavy cream blended with coffee and Irish whiskey give the drink a taste like warmed Irish cream liqueur with coffee.

Irish Coffee

Ingredients

  • 1½ ounces Irish whiskey
  • 1 ounce brown sugar simple syrup (equal parts brown sugar and water simmered until the sugar dissolves)
  • 4 ounces freshly brewed hot coffee
  • ¼ cup heavy cream (unsweetened), lightly whipped

Instructions

  1. In a coffee mug, combine the whiskey and brown sugar syrup. Stir.
  2. Add the coffee and stir.
  3. Top with the cream.

4. Tom and Jerry

The Tom and Jerry is another hot whiskey drink that tastes like creamy, warm, boozy eggnog. Its creamy sweet flavors make it a very popular cocktail, especially in the winter. You can make your own Tom and Jerry batter, or buy a pre-made mix at the store.

Tom and Jerry

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 2¼ cups sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup milk
  • Whiskey or bourbon
  • Freshly grated nutmeg

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Fold in ½ cup of the sugar.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Fold them into the egg white.
  3. Add the remaining ¾ cup of sugar and vanilla.
  4. Refrigerate, covered, until you are ready to make the drink. It will last for up to one week.
  5. To make the drink, heat one cup of milk until it is warm. Put it in a mug and stir in 1¾ ounces of whiskey or bourbon and three tablespoons of the refrigerated mix.
  6. Top each drink with freshly grated nutmeg.

5. Old Fashioned

The old fashioned cocktail has sugar, a splash of water, bitters, and whiskey with a twist of orange and a cherry for garnish. Typically, a strong whiskey such as bourbon, Tennessee whiskey, or rye works very well in an old fashioned cocktail. The sweetness of the sugar cube blends beautifully with the bourbon, while the hint of orange in the garnish draws out citrus notes in the whiskey. People really enjoy the balance of flavors in this drink, which was popular in the 60s and has never gone out of style.

Old fashioned cocktail in a rocks glass

6. Manhattan

Manhattan cocktails have gained a reputation for sophistication, so many people enjoy drinking them because they have the same cachet as a martini. Manhattans are lightly sweet from the sweet Vermouth, with the warming taste of good whiskey and a dash of bitters. Rye whiskey is a traditional choice for a Manhattan, but you can also try bourbon or Canadian whisky.

Manhattan cocktails

Ingredients

  • Crushed ice
  • 1 ounce sweet Vermouth
  • 2½ ounces rye whiskey
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 maraschino cherry

Instructions

  1. Chill a cocktail glass.
  2. Fill a mixing glass with ice. Add the Vermouth, whiskey, and bitters. Stir.
  3. Strain into the chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the cherry.

7. Rob Roy

A bartender at the Waldorf Astoria created the Rob Roy, which includes Scotch whisky, back in the 1890s. Since then, the drink has retained its popularity because of its warming properties and its dry flavors. If you like Scotch, you'll love the Rob Roy.

Rob Roy cocktail

8. Seven and Seven

This is a light, refreshing American whiskey drink that owes its fizzy lightness to the addition of 7-Up (although you can use any other lemon-lime beverage you wish). The name, Seven and Seven, refers to 7-Up and Seagram's 7 Crown Whiskey (although you can also use any smooth Canadian whisky), which are its only two ingredients. The light refreshing nature of the drink, as well as how easy it is to make, allows the Seven and Seven to remain a popular cocktail.

Seven and Seven

Ingredients

  • Crushed ice
  • 2 ounces Seagram's 7 Crown Whiskey
  • 4 ounces 7-Up
  • Lemon wedge

Instructions

  1. Fill a Collins glass with crushed ice.
  2. Add the whiskey and 7-Up. Stir.
  3. Garnish with a lemon wedge.

9. Rusty Nail

The rusty nail is most commonly made with a blended Scotch whisky; however, you may use a single malt Scotch if you prefer. Drambuie is a flavored Scotch-based liquor, so experiment with using more or less to vary your rusty nail to have the perfect mix.

Rusty Nail Cocktail

Ingredients

  • 1-ounce blended Scotch whisky
  • 1-ounce Drambuie
  • Ice
  • Wedge of lemon for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a mixing glass, add the Scotch and Drambuie. Add the ice and stir.
  2. Strain into a rocks glass with ice.
  3. Garnish with lemon

10. Mint Julep

Mint juleps are sweet with a strong mint flavor. They intended to include bourbon, which adds a strong flavor that blends well with the sweetness and mint. Mint Juleps are particularly popular in the South, and they are a common drink served at the Kentucky Derby.

Mint julep

11. Scotch and Soda

If you love Scotch whisky but sometimes like it a little more diluted, then the classic Scotch and soda is for you! This works best with a blended Scotch whisky.

Scotch and soda highball

Ingredients

  • Ice
  • 2 ounces blended Scotch whisky
  • Club soda
  • Lemon wedge (optional garnish)

Instructions

  1. Fill a highball glass with ice.
  2. Add the Scotch whisky.
  3. Top off with club soda and stir.
  4. No garnish is needed, but you may garnish with a lemon wedge if you wish.

12. Hot Toddy

Nothing will warm you up quite like a hot toddy. This centuries-old winter warmer made its way to the United States from the British colonies, and it remains a popular hot cocktail today. Use any type of whiskey you like, but blended Scotch whisky, rye, and bourbon are all especially tasty choices.

Warming up with a hot toddy

13. John Collins

There are three main types of Collins drinks - John, Tom, and vodka. All are in a category of a cocktail known as a fizz, which is a basic sour cocktail with a fizzy element added. While vodka Collins is relatively easy to figure out which spirit it contains, the John Collins contains American whiskey (rye or bourbon) while the Tom Collins contains gin. Otherwise, the recipe for all three is the same. Only the spirit they contain is different.

John Collins cocktail

Ingredients

  • 1½ ounces American whiskey (bourbon or rye)
  • ¾ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¾ simple syrup
  • Ice
  • 4 ounces club soda
  • Cherry and orange slice for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine the whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup.
  2. Add ice and shake.
  3. Strain into a Collins glass filled with ice. Add the club soda and stir.
  4. Garnish with a cherry and an orange slice.

14. Bobby Burns Cocktail

This cocktail is named after the poet, Robert Burns. It's a simple stirred cocktail - no shaker necessary.

Bobby burns cocktail

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce blended Scotch whisky
  • 1 ounce sweet Vermouth
  • ½ ounce Bénédictine
  • Ice
  • Lemon peel for garnish

Instructions

  1. Chill a cocktail glass.
  2. In a mixing glass, combine the Scotch whisky, Vermouth, and Bénédictine.
  3. Add ice and stir.
  4. Strain into the chilled cocktail glass and garnish with the lemon peel.

15. Brown Derby

The Brown Derby came into being during the glamor of 1930s Hollywood. It was created at the Vendôme Club and because it contains America's native whiskey, bourbon, it's as American as its origins.

Brown derby cocktail with grapefruit garnish

Ingredients

  • 1½ ounces bourbon
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • ½ ounce honey syrup
  • Ice
  • Grapefruit wedge or peel for garnish

Instructions

  1. Chill a cocktail glass.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, combine the bourbon, grapefruit juice, and honey syrup.
  3. Add the ice and shake.
  4. Strain into the chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the grapefruit peel or wedge.

16. Four Horsemen

Can't decide which type of whiskey you're in the mood for? The Four Horsemen cocktail has you covered with a mix of Scotch whisky, bourbon, and Tennessee whiskey.

four horsemen cocktail

More Whiskey Cocktails

Whiskey is present in a number of mixed drinks.

Mix Up Delicious Whiskey Cocktails

These are just a few of the very many whiskey cocktails you can make. With the warm and complex flavor profile of whiskey, combining it with the right mixers creates delicious drinks for all seasons.

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16 Popular Whiskey Drinks