21 Whiskey Cocktails for Your Repertoire

The Belmont Cocktail Recipe
Photo: Victor Protasio

The world of whiskey-based cocktails is vast and wonderful. Whether you're interested in a bourbon-based fan favorite like the Paper Plane (or just want to understand the difference between whiskey and bourbon), or prefer to keep things classic with an Old Fashioned, whiskey is one of the most versatile and beloved ingredients on our back bars for a reason. Want to make sure that treasured bottle lasts for as many rounds as possible? We've got you covered on storage tips, as well as where to look for must-have bottles. Read on for a variety of whiskey drinks.

01 of 21

Maple Bourbon Smash

Maple-Bourbon Smash

Julia Hartbeck

Grade A maple syrup isn't just for pancakes! We recommend using just half an ounce for a sweet, soothing sipper.

02 of 21

Old Fashioned

Lucas Allen

According to veteran mixologist 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."

03 of 21

Bottled Manhattan

Bottled Manhattan
Greg DuPree

Pre-mixing batches of this rye-forward Manhattan from Existing Conditions in New York's Greenwich Village and chilling them beforehand prevents dilution, resulting in an ideal drink every time.

04 of 21

Gaelic Punch

Gaelic Punch
© Tina Rupp

For hot punches, young Irish whiskeys work best. Heat intensifies the tannic edge of older whiskeys; young ones stay smooth.

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In Cold Blood

In Cold Blood
David Malosh

Bar owner Andrew Volk says this is a 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.

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The Belmont

The Belmont Cocktail Recipe
Victor Protasio

2017 F&W Best New Chef Angie Mar's famed restaurant The Beatrice Inn may (sadly) be no longer, but this herbaceous, citrus-forward whiskey cocktail remains absolutely worth making.

07 of 21

Northern Standard

Northern Standard Cocktail Recipe
Carey Jones

This drink is even better than a Manhattan, thanks to three different bitter elements. Created by mixologist James Ives, the Northern Standard is a full-flavored cocktail that uses Knob Creek rye aged in charred barrels to balance out the richness of Carpano. It's as strong as it is smooth.

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Vanilla Old Fashioned

Vanilla Old-Fashioned, Mas , New York City
© Frances Janisch

Who knew a classic Old Fashioned could taste even better with the addition of vanilla bean? This warming take on the traditional bourbon-based drink is a surefire hit as soon as temperatures drop.

09 of 21

Paris Between the Wars

Paris Between the Wars Cocktail
Photo by Victor Protasio / Prop Styling by Christine Keely

With rich smokiness from the blended Scotch, rounded bitterness from Campari, and a tart bite from fresh lemon juice, this cocktail is well-balanced and refreshing.

10 of 21


Manhattan Cocktail
Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Thom Driver

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.

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Felicitation Punch

Felicitation Punch

© Tina Rupp

In this pleasantly tart punch, veteran mixologist David Wondrich mixes Irish whisky with gin to mimic the taste of a richer, older style of gin.

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Paper Plane

Paper Plane
Guillermo Riveros / Food Styling by Oset Babür-Winter

The Paper Plane has just enough sweetness to counteract its bitter and sour notes; the drink's signature orange hue comes from Aperol.

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New York Sour

New York Sour
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Melissa Gray / Prop Styling by Heather Chadduck Hillegas

The perfect balance of fruity red wine and smoky-sweet bourbon, the New York Sour cocktail is a classic for a reason. Shaking the cocktail with large ice cubes will chill the drink without diluting it — and those large cubes look great in a rocks glass, too. Be sure to pour the wine slowly over the back of a spoon to create a perfect float. If you're feeling adventurous, add an egg white to the shaker for thicker viscosity.

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Bourbon Tea Julep

Bourbon Tea Julep
Kelly Marshall

Tannins from black tea add a beautiful hint of bitterness to this twist on a classic Mint Julep. The citrus oil, oleo saccharum, is made by steeping lemon peels in sugar. Its bright flavor is the perfect lift to finish each sip. 

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© Tina Rupp

Brandy-soaked cherries and small-batch Knob Creek bourbon distinguish this almond-tinged whiskey sour. 

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Bufala Negra

Bufala Negra
© Wendell T. Webber

At the now-shuttered Oakroom, where Al Capone regularly played poker in the 1920s, bartenders used bourbon from Buffalo Trace Distillery in nearby Frankfort, Kentucky.

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Blackberry-Mint Julep


Adding blackberries to a mint julep contributes fruity flavor to the classic warm-weather cocktail.

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Matcha Highball

Matcha Highball
Lucas Allen

A trip to Japan inspired Denver bartender Jason Patz to combine matcha with Japanese whiskey.

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Irish Buck

Irish Buck Cocktail
Eva Kolenko

Light yet oaky, Irish whiskey joins tart lemon juice, honey, and spicy ginger beer in this refreshing, fizzy, basil-scented Irish Buck cocktail.

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Whiskey Chai

Whiskey Chai
Fredrika Stjärne

This boozy, fragrant nightcap shines when you use high-quality cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.

21 of 21

Homemade Eggnog

glasses of homemade eggnog
Photo by Adam Friedlander / Food Styling by Pearl Jones

This holiday favorite gets an extra-festive kick thanks to bourbon, brandy, and dark rum. Don't forget to grate a generous amount of nutmeg on top!

Updated by
Megan Soll
Megan Soll

Megan Soll is an Associate Editorial Director for Food & Wine Commerce. She joined Dotdash Meredith in 2015 and has over 11 years of experience writing and editing food, entertainment, and lifestyle content.

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