Ginger & Bourbon

This simple, soothing wintertime cocktail is a favorite for good reason.

Hot Ginger Cocktails | Ginger Bourbon
Photo: Carey Jones
Prep Time:
5 mins
Cook Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
15 mins

What makes a cocktail seasonal? Sure, there’s nothing technically wrong with drinking a Pimm’s Cup in the depths of a January cold snap, or having a poolside hot toddy in August, but some drinks are really made to fit a season. This is definitely the case with the Ginger & Bourbon, a drink that warms the drinker through its toasty temperature, and comforting blend of sweet and spicy flavors. 

The Ginger & Bourbon is a prime example of a simple, hot cocktail. Other popular examples in this category include the aprés-ski classic mulled wine, sweet and sour hot mulled cider, the classic hot toddy, and, of course, a spice-infused whiskey chai. This recipe is most similar to a hot toddy with added interest from homemade ginger tea, which comes together in just a few minutes. 

To make this cocktail, fresh ginger root is peeled and sliced before being simmered in water for about 10 minutes. The water infuses with vibrant the flavors and aromas of fresh ginger. “Ginger adds a foundational layer of piquancy, warmth, and peppery sweetness to whatever it touches,” writes Food Editor Kelsey Youngman. Peeling ginger can be a bit tricky due to its irregular shape and tough exterior. “Instead of trying to shove a peeler in and around the nooks and crannies of a knob of ginger, gently press the edge of a spoon against the skin and pull down,” suggests Youngman. A spoon will make quick work of a whole knob of ginger, making your Ginger & Bourbon ready to enjoy in just minutes. 

This cocktail is all about balance. Ginger’s flavors bloom in hot water which creates a slightly spicy bite that gets balanced with the addition of sweet honey and citrusy Angostura bitters. Plus, the inherent sweetness in bourbon adds a subtle backbone of warmth and comfort. The Ginger & Bourbon gets garnished with a thick lemon peel which while beautiful, perfumes the top of the drink with an enticing citrusy aroma. 


Ginger Tea

  • 2 ounces peeled, thinly sliced fresh ginger

  • 2 cups water

Ginger & Bourbon Cocktail

  • 1 ounce bourbon

  • 1/2 ounce honey

  • 1 dash bitters

  • 1 lemon peel (for garnish)


Make Ginger Tea

  1. In a medium-sized pot, bring two cups of water to a boil over high heat. Add 60 grams of ginger, about a 2” by 1” chunk, peeled and cut into thin slices. Lower heat and let simmer for ten minutes.

  2. Carefully strain out ginger, reserving liquid.

Make Ginger & Bourbon Cocktail

  1. In a heat-safe glass, stir together two ounces ginger tea, an ounce of bourbon, half an ounce of honey, and a dash of Angostura bitters. Garnish with a lemon peel.

Updated by
Lucy Simon
Portrait of Lucy Simon
Lucy Simon is a New York-based wine, spirits, and food writer who has been working and studying the industry for over five years and has been with Food & Wine since the spring of 2021.
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