10 of my Favorite Summer Whiskey Cocktail Recipes

Though May Grey is going strong in Southern California, it seemed high time to drop a summer cocktail recipe post. After all, we all know that summer unofficially starts Memorial Day Weekend, at least in the states. But while my annual post featuring summer cocktail recipes takes a lot of different forms, it seemed fitting to finally do a post on my favorite summer whiskey cocktail recipes. For the whiskey purist, that may be blasphemy, and for those who don’t drink whiskey, it may not seem all that appealing. However, there are some amazingly delicious and balanced whiskey cocktail recipes that are great for summer. See a few of my favorites below.

Summer Whiskey Cocktail Recipes

Stone Sour

  • 1.5 oz. bourbon

  • 1 oz. simple syrup

  • .75 oz. lemon juice

  • 1 oz. orange juice

  • Orange wedge and cherry, to garnish

Fittingly, the Stone Sour whiskey cocktail is also known as the "California Sour. It derives its name from the addition of orange juice, but is otherwise just another variation of a whiskey sour. To make it, you’ll shake all the ingredients with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with an orange slice and cherry.

French 95

  • 1.5 oz. bourbon

  • 2.5 oz. Champagne

  • .5 oz. Simple syrup

  • 1 oz. Lemon juice

The French 95 is a whiskey take on one of my favorite all-time cocktails, the French 75. This specific recipe comes from Difford’s Guide, which adapted it from the original 1977 French 95 cocktail recipe, which comes from Stanley M. Jones' book, Jones Complete Barguide. To make it, you’ll add all of the ingredients, except the Champagne, to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake. Then strain into a ice-filled glass, and top with Champagne, garnishing it with a lemon peel.

Whiskey Jam

  • 1.5 oz. of your favorite whiskey

  • .75 oz. lemon juice

  • 2 spoonfuls of your favorite jam

  • Garnish with fruit/herb of your choice

This cocktail seems fitting to my southern roots. Honestly, it doesn’t get too much simpler and delicious than this. After all, not everyone has simple syrup lying around. So instead, reach for that jar of jam in your fridge, adding a couple spoons of it to a cocktail shaker to muddle. Then, add lemon juice and whiskey with ice and shake. Double strain into a rocks glass filled with ice.

Jam cocktail.jpg

Gold Rush

  • 2 oz. bourbon

  • .75 oz. lemon juice

  • .75 oz. honey syrup

Like the above Whiskey Jam cocktail recipe, the Gold Rush is about as simple and delicious of a summer cocktail as you can make. The only ingredient you probably wouldn’t have on hand is honey syrup, which is simply equal parts honey and water. To make the Gold Rush, you’ll add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice and garnish with a lemon slice.

Cameron’s Kick

  • 1 ounce blended Scotch whisky

  • 1 ounce Irish whiskey

  • 1/2 ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice

  • 1/2 ounce orgeat

Cameron’s Kick takes us across the pond for both Scotch and Irish whiskey. The cocktail is attributed to Harry MacElhone’s 1922 book, Harry’s ABC of Making Cocktails, and a whiskey cocktail you’ll find a century later on many cocktail menus. To make it, you’ll pour all of the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice, and shake. Then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Peach Bourbon Smash

  • 1.5 oz. bourbon

  • .75 oz. peach simple syrup

  • .75 oz. lemon juice

  • 2 peach slices

  • Several mint leaves

This is the official cocktail of Whiskey Tango Globetrot, since I made it in conjunction with the launch of WTG a few years ago. A variation of a whiskey smash, the main difference is that I made an infused simple syrup with peaches rather than the traditional simple syrup recipe. To do this, simply take the traditional 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 juices. Remove from heat and steep for 30 minutes to cool. To make the peach bourbon smash cocktail you’ll muddle a couple peach slices and mint in a cocktail shaker. Then, add the whiskey, peach simple syrup, lemon juice, and ice, and then shake. Strain it into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with mint and peach slices.


Mint Julep

  • 2 oz. bourbon

  • 1 tbsp. simple syrup (equal parts water and sugar)

  • Several sprigs of mint

The Mint Julep might as well just be the official (southern) drink of summer. The Mint Julep’s popularity in the south can in part be attributed to the Kentucky Derby, when more than 120,000 Mint Juleps are downed on one Saturday afternoon. However, beyond just the Kentucky Derby, the Mint Julep is altogether delicious, refreshing and one of the most classic whiskey cocktails. Need I say more?

Mint Julep.jpg

This version comes straight from the Kentucky Derby. Traditional examples typically call for a teaspoon of sugar and muddling a few sprigs of mint with it. This Mint Julep recipe, however, calls for a tablespoon of simple syrup, which has been refrigerated for several hours with a few sprigs of fresh mint. You'll fill a glass, or if you’re feeling fancy, a Mint Julep cup, with crushed ice, adding a tablespoon of syrup and the bourbon, and stirring rapidly to frost the outside of the glass. Garnish with a mint, and there you have a classic Mint Julep cocktail.

Ward Eight

  • 2 oz. bourbon

  • .75 oz. lemon juice

  • .75 oz. orange juice

  • 1 tsp. grenadine

The Ward Eight is essentially Boston's version of the whiskey sour, replacing sugar with grenadine, and adding orange juice. To make the Ward Eight, you'll add all of the ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice, shake, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. For a slight variation, add it to a glass with ice and top with a little club soda.

The only additional note I'll make is that about the grenadine. Most grocery stores only carry Rose's grenadine, which I don't think holds a candle to other grenadine syrups like Jack Rudy's Small Batch Grenadine. Or, you could just make your own grenadine, which I highly recommend. Here’s a great grenadine recipe from Jeffrey Morgenthaler.

Kentucky Buck

  • 2 oz. bourbon

  • .75 oz. lemon juice

  • .75 oz. simple syrup

  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters

  • 1 strawberry, sliced

  • Ginger beer

The "buck" is a style of drinks that typically consists of a spirit, citrus, and ginger beer. It's easy to make and refreshing, albeit a little dangerous. The Kentucky Buck gets its name, obviously, because of the use of bourbon as the spirit of choice. For this bourbon cocktail recipe, you'll muddle the lemon juice, simple syrup, and strawberry in a cocktail shaker. Next, add the bourbon, bitters, and ice, and shake. Strain into an ice-filled glass and then top with ginger beer and garnish with a strawberry.


  • 2 oz. blended Scotch whiskey

  • .5 oz. lemon juice

  • .5 oz. lime juice

  • .5 oz. simple syrup

  • 1 egg white

  • 3-4 dashes absinthe

  • Soda

Long before Scotch whiskey had gone mainstream, it was being used in cocktails, such as this cocktail which has often been attributed to late-1800s bartender Harry Johnson. If the ingredients didn't give it away, this is your classic hair-of-the-dog drink, though it's also been suggested as an aperitif. Combine all the ingredients (except the soda) to a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a glass and top with a splash of soda. Garnish with an orange peel or wheel (Photo from PUNCH).