4 Perfect Summer Bourbon Cocktails

As you may recall, one of our Noblers decided it was time to go whole hog and get to Kentucky to learn, taste, and get into the Bourbon culture. In the recent post Bourbon Is The New Black, Bourbon has been elevated to a must-have at your bar at home. It has also become quite a conversation piece at higher end bars with knowledgeable bartenders and among friends like Noblers who enjoy not only a good drink, but also a good story. This is the last of a series of three posts from what Joe found on that trip.

Enough talk my friends! Bourbon is awesome. The Bourbon Trail is awesome. So only one thing left to discuss…

Here are just a few of my favorite bourbon centric cocktails that are great to add to your arsenal. You’ll notice, simplicity is key as you want that bourbon to shine through in all it’s glory. So get to mixing and enjoy!

Vanilla Old-Fashioned

One 1-inch piece of vanilla bean, split

One 1-inch piece of orange zest

1/4 ounce Simple Syrup

2 dashes of orange bitters

2 ounces bourbon


1 orange wheel

In a rocks glass, muddle the vanilla bean and orange zest with the Simple Syrup and bitters. Add the bourbon and ice, stir and garnish with the orange wheel.

(From: Food and Wine)

Bufala Negra (a variation of the previous recipe we posted earlier)
A great cocktail—the balsamic gives it a unique start and finish, and the basil makes it extremely refreshing. If it’s too sweet, leave out the brown sugar cube. Great for appetizers and, heck, just drinking on its own on a hot summer day.

1½ oz. Bourbon

4 Basil Leaves

1 Brown Sugar Cube

1/2 oz. Aged Balsamic Syrup

2 oz Ginger Beer

Muddle the balsamic syrup, basil leaves, and sugar in the bottom of a cocktail shaker.  Add bourbon and ice and shake vigorously to combine.  Strain into a rocks glass with ice and top with ginger beer and a fresh basil leaf.

Peach and Mint Bourbon Iced Tea

Fantastic with appetizers like pimento cheese and crackers.  Be careful—these will go down easy and sneak up on you.


About 8 bags of Lipton tea

2 quarts of water


2 ounces of any bourbon—cheaper and on the sweeter side is best

Several sprigs of mint

2-3 ripe peaches

Simple syrup


Make your tea ahead of time so it has time to chill in the refrigerator. Make tea by putting tea bags and water in a pot, bring to a quick boil and immediately turn off the heat. Let sit 10 minutes, remove teabags. When you’re ready to make your cocktail, muddle a few mint leaves and a dash of simple syrup in a highball. Add 1 slice of peach, very lightly muddle. Add ice and bourbon, then tea. Stir and add a mint sprig peach wedge for garnish.

Kentucky Buck

1 ounce lemon juice

1 strawberry

2 oz Wild Turkey Bourbon

Angosutra Bitters

1/2 oz Simple Syrup

Ginger beer Muddle strawberry with lemon juice. Add Wild Turkey, simple syrup and 2 dashes of bitters and shake with ice. Strain over ice and fill with ginger beer.


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