26 Perfect Whiskey Cocktails to Make Right Now
Bourbon and rye give a potent kick to this playful cocktail. At Mother of Pearl in New York City, Jane Danger serves the drink in a shark mug garnished with two thin pineapple fronds arranged to look like a fish.
In Cold Blood
Andrew Volk says this is currently the most popular order at Portland Hunt & Alpine Club in Maine. The drink, according to Volk, is "approachable but geeky with the salt"—which he adds to balance the bitterness of the artichoke-flavored aperitif Cynar.
For hot punches, young Irish whiskeys work best. Heat intensifies the tannic edge of older whiskeys; young ones stay smooth.
At The Oakroom, where Al Capone regularly played poker in the 1920s, the bartenders use bourbon from Buffalo Trace Distillery in nearby Frankfort, Kentucky.
Descanso Beach Smash
John Coltharp noticed many beach bars focused on sweet drinks like piña coladas, and came up with this pleasantly bitter and refreshing concoction—with Aperol from the well-stocked bar.
This creamy, spiced drink honors an Irish Halloween bread called barm brack, which contains currants and raisins.
Cork County Bubbles
Rock 'n' Rolla
Apple juice, lemon juice, and maple syrup make this take on a bourbon sour accessible and easy to prepare.
At San Francisco’s Linden Room, Ron Boyd created a floral white vermouth featuring chamomile, dried artichokes, and coriander, which he stirs into his twist on the classic Rob Roy cocktail.
Pre-mixing batches of this rye-forward Manhattan from Existing Conditions in Greenwich Village and chilling them beforehand prevents dilution before pouring the cocktail, resulting in a perfect drink every time.
Big Batch Rye Sours
Hibiscus flowers, curaçao, and lemon juice bring bright and refreshing floral notes to this rye-based cocktail. You can also make it a day ahead and keep it chilled until you’re ready to serve.
According to cocktail historian David Wondrich, the old-fashioned is a direct descendant of the earliest known “true” cocktail, which in 1806 consisted of “a little water, a little sugar, a lot of liquor and a couple splashes of bitters.”
A trip to Japan inspired Denver bartender Jason Patz to combine matcha (a vivid green-tea powder) with Japanese whisky.
Sean Muldoon likes drinking this tart, sherry-spiked Champagne cocktail with shellfish, especially shrimp, lobster, or crab.
To replicate the flavor of smoked Galliano, which chef Angie Mar creates and uses at The Beatrice Inn, this version of the cocktail uses smoky Islay Scotch.
According to popular legend, this cocktail was created at the Manhattan Club in 1874, at a party given by Winston Churchill's American mother to celebrate Samuel J. Tilden's election as governor of New York.
This pre-dinner drink is an orange-infused variation on the Commodore No. 2 (bourbon, crème de cacao, lemon juice, and grenadine) from the Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book.
Caffè Di Alpi
Warming cocktails on your mind? Bartender Steve Peters dreamed up Caffè di Alpi ("Alpine Coffee" in Italian) as a deliciously warming après-ski drink.
The Bobby Boucher
Based on the Bobby Burns cocktail of the 1930s, this cocktail trades scotch for bourbon and vermouth for cherry Herring, making it a little Southern and sweet.
After the grape-killing phylloxera epidemic in France all but wiped out Cognac production in the 1870s, bartenders replaced it with American-made rye whiskey. The recipe here is for the “modern” (rye-based) Sazerac.
Po Po Punch
This citrusy, tiki-style punch is from mixologist Joaquín Simó. It features orange-spiced Ramazzotti Amaro (a bittersweet herbal Italian digestif) and homemade orange cordial.
Spicy ginger ale and the baking-spice notes from a big hit of Angostura bitters perk up the bourbon in this bubbly reviver from Chall Gray at Little Jumbo in Asheville, North Carolina. If you can’t find Blenheim, look for ginger beer.