7 Summer Bourbon Cocktail Recipes

It's National Bourbon Day. Yes, that's a real thing. It follows close on the heels of National Donut Day and National Cognac Day, and the day after World Gin Day. Y'all, these are all real days. So naturally, of all these "holidays," I had to do a bourbon whiskey cocktail recipe post, since it is in the name of my website. Today I'm coming at you with seven of my favorite bourbon cocktail recipes. Some of these are classics, while others are twists on classics, and others are my own creations. However, these are all largely best enjoyed as summer bourbon cocktail recipes, and most of which are easy to make with many ingredients you probably already have at home. Make it the summer of you, and bourbon. Because bourbon.

Bourbon Stone Sour

  • 1.5 oz. bourbon
  • 1 oz. simple syrup
  • .75 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 oz. orange juice
  • Orange slice
  • Cherry

Of all the summer bourbon cocktail recipes here, this one is probably my favorite on a really hot day, at least of the ones that are cocktails that others have created. Also known as the "California Sour," it derives its name from the addition of orange juice, but is otherwise comparable to your typical whiskey sour. Shake all the ingredients with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with an orange slice and cherry.

Bourbon Peach Smash

  • 1.5 oz. bourbon
  • .75 oz. peach simple syrup
  • .75 oz. lemon
  • 2 peach slices
  • Several mint leaves

This is the bourbon cocktail of Whiskey Tango Globetrot. That's because it's the cocktail I made at the beginning of the year for the launch of WTG. It's essentially your token whiskey smash cocktail, except instead of using regular simple syrup, I made a peach-infused simple syrup. To do this, you take the typical simple syrup recipe (equal parts water and sugar to a boil), and then bring it to boil with slices from a couple peaches, crushing the peaches once it's come to a boil to release its juice. Remove from heat and steep for 30 minutes. Once it's cooled and you're ready to make a cocktail, you'll muddle the peach slices and mint in a cocktail shaker. Add the rest of the ingredients with ice and then shake and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with mint and peach slices.

The Summer Jam

  • 1.5 oz. of your favorite spirit (Tequila, vodka, gin, and mezcal are often my go-to in this cocktail, but we're living dangerously with bourbon.)
  • .75 oz. lemon or lime juice
  • 2 spoonfuls of your favorite jam (In this most recent case, strawberry rhubarb)
  • Garnish with fruit/herb of your choice

I can't tell you how easy and equally delicious this is. Not everyone has simple syrup lying around, which is where that jar of strawberry jam comes in handy. Add a couple spoons of it to a cocktail shaker and muddle it. Add the citrus and spirit into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice.

Kentucky Buck

  • 1.5 oz. bourbon
  • .75 oz. lemon juice
  • .75 oz. simple syrup
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Ginger beer.

I love this summer bourbon cocktail recipe because I get to add one of my favorite non-alcoholic drinks, Bundaberg Ginger Beer. I have searched long and hard to find a better ginger beer and none compare to this Aussie ginger beer. Add all of the ingredients (except the ginger beer) to a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake. Strain into a glass filled with ice and top with ginger beer. Garnish with a strawberry or other fruit of choice.

Mint Julep

  • 3 oz. bourbon
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • Mint

This couldn't feel any more appropriate after American Pharoah (yes, it's spelled wrong because the horse's name really is spelled wrong) won the Triple Crown last weekend, the first time it's been done in 37 years. The Mint Julep, after all, is basically the drink of Churchill Downs. But there are so many variations of the drink. This one I'm bringing to you from David Wondrich, who is one of the foremost cocktail historians (yes, cocktail historians is a thing). Place a few mint leaves in a pre-chilled glass and add sugar and muddle. Pack glass with crushed ice and pour in bourbon. Stir briskly until the glass starts to frost. Add more crushed ice and stir. Garnish with mint leaves.

Bourbon Margarita

  • 2 oz. bourbon
  • 1 oz. Grand Marnier
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • .5 oz. simple syrup or agave

Yes, that's right, a bourbon margarita. Nothing crazy here, I'm just replacing the typical tequila that's called for in a margarita and adding bourbon. More complexity, less of a hangover. Add all of the ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice and of course garnish with a lime.

Gold Rush

  • 2 oz. bourbon
  • .75 oz. honey syrup
  • .75 oz. lemon juice

The Gold Rush has the tables turned on your classic hot toddy during the winter, featuring the same base ingredients of bourbon, honey, and lemon. The process is a little different, as you'll need to make a honey syrup, which is equal parts honey and water (brought to a boil and then cooled down, just like simple syrup). Then you add everything to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice and you've got a different take on a whiskey sour.