It's not the time for tricky cocktails made with hard-to-pronounce liqueurs.


There’s a time and place for cocktails with obscure bitters or rare liqueurs. And then there’s… wherever we are now.

When we’re limiting grocery runs and unnecessary shopping trips, it’s a great time to make cocktails with whatever you have on hand. So let’s start with the basics. This week? Bourbon. While we understand if you don’t want to expend any more effort than pouring it into a glass, it’s a classic cocktail base. And if you’ve got a bottle of bourbon, odds are you can make these three drinks with ingredients already kicking around your pantry and crisper drawer—no mask-and-glove grocery run required.

Carey Jones

Easy: Maple and Whiskey

Carey Jones

Maple syrup—the real stuff, not Aunt Jemima—doesn’t get enough love as a cocktail ingredient. Unlike honey and agave, it’s thin enough that you can shake or stir it right into a drink. And for this riff on an Old Fashioned, all you need is whiskey, maple, and ice. (And ideally, bitters.) Stir and pour.

Instructions: In a mixing glass with ice, combine two ounces of bourbon, half an ounce maple syrup, and two dashes of Angostura bitters and one dash of orange bitters, if you have ‘em. Stir until very well-chilled, then strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Garnish with a thick twist of lemon.

Intermediate: Molasses & Ginger

Carey Jones

Dark molasses has an unmistakable depth to it, which is a great match for bourbon. Here, we pair them with lime juice for lively acidity and ginger ale to brighten it all up. The result is a cocktail that’s refreshing enough to down in the afternoon, but with a satisfying weight to it, too.

Instructions: Combine an ounce and a half of bourbon, 1/4 ounce of molasses syrup (that’s just molasses, cut 1:1 with hot water and stirred until dissolved), and ½ ounce fresh lime juice. Add a dash of Angostura bitters if you have ‘em. Shake until very well-chilled, then strain into a tall glass with fresh ice. Top with two ounces of ginger ale. Give a quick stir. Garnish with a lime wedge, squeezed into the glass.

Advanced: Honey & Apples

Carey Jones

Got a bottle of apple cider vinegar somewhere in your pantry? Put it to work. That’s the key ingredient in this sour, joining lemon juice, bourbon, and honey. It may look like a negligible amount of apple cider vinegar, but a little goes a long way.

Method: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine two ounces of bourbon, an ounce of fresh lemon juice, ¼ ounce apple cider vinegar, and 3/4 ounce of honey syrup (that’s honey cut 1:1 with hot water). Shake until very well-chilled, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.