24 Perfect Whiskey Cocktails to Make Right Now

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

No matter how your favorite label spells it, great whiskey (or whisky) cocktails can thaw you during the lingering months of winter or cool you down when the weather hits a heatwave. We love to sip a classic Manhattan cocktail with rye just as much as a playful punch with bourbon. Looking for a refreshing sip? Try a fruity take on a whiskey sour or a mint julep. Lacking a strong sweet tooth? Whiskey drink recipes don't have to be sweet, as long as bitters and Aperol are around. Read on for some of our favorite whiskey cocktails and punches for every time of year.

01 of 24

In Cold Blood

In Cold Blood
David Malosh

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.

02 of 24

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.

03 of 24

Bufala Negra

Bufala Negra
© Wendell T. Webber

At The Oakroom, where Al Capone regularly played poker in the 1920s, the bartenders use bourbon from Buffalo Trace Distillery in nearby Frankfort, Kentucky.

04 of 24

Barm Brack

Barm Brack
© Tina Rupp

This creamy, spiced drink honors an Irish Halloween bread called barm brack, which contains currants and raisins.

05 of 24

Felicitation Punch

Felicitation Punch

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.

06 of 24

Colorado Cooler

Colorado Cooler
© Tina Rupp

Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey is a distinctive small-batch whiskey made in Denver from 100 percent malted barley. The flavor is malty and slightly vanilla-y.

07 of 24

Rock 'n' Rolla

Rock 'n' Rolla
© David Malosh

Apple juice, lemon juice, and maple syrup make this take on a bourbon sour accessible and easy to prepare.

08 of 24

Rob Rye

rob-roy

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.

09 of 24

Bottled Manhattan

Bottled Manhattan
Greg DuPree

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.

10 of 24

Big Batch Rye Sours

Big-Batch Rye Sours Recipe
Gregory DuPree

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.

11 of 24

Old-Fashioned

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."

12 of 24

Blackberry-Mint Julep

201206-xl-blackberry-mint-julep
PEDEN + MUNK

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

13 of 24

Matcha Highball

Matcha Highball
Lucas Allen

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

14 of 24

Lady Irish

Lady Irish

Sean Muldoon likes drinking this tart, sherry-spiked Champagne cocktail with shellfish—especially shrimp, lobster, or crab.

15 of 24

Manhattan

Manhattan
Wendell T. Webber

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.

16 of 24

Commodore 64

2010-xl-cocktail-commodore-64

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.

17 of 24

Caffè Di Alpi

fw2008-xl-caffe-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.

18 of 24

The Bobby Boucher

the bobby

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.

19 of 24

Sazerac

sazerac
Lucas Allen

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.

20 of 24

Po Po Punch

po p

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.

21 of 24

Hello Friday

hello friday
Victor Protasio

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.

22 of 24

Bourbon Tea Julep

Bourbon Tea Julep
Kelly Marshall

Tannins from black tea add a beautiful hint of bitterness to Alexander Smalls' twist on a classic mint julep. Oleo saccharum, also known as citrus oil, is made here by steeping lemon peels in sugar; its bright flavor is the perfect lift to finish each sip.

23 of 24

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 equally strong as it is smooth.

24 of 24

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 cocktail 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 the spoon to create the perfect float. If you're feeling adventurous, add an egg white to the shaker for a thicker viscosity.

Updated by
Megan Soll
Megan Soll

Expertise: Food, Drinks, Cooking, Entertaining, Kitchen Products

Megan Soll is a Senior Commerce Editor for Food & Wine. She joined Dotdash Meredith in 2015 and has over 10 years of experience writing and editing food, entertainment, and lifestyle content. Her work can be found on Food & Wine, Shape, Travel + Leisure, The Hollywood Reporter, and Racked NY.

Experience Megan has been a Senior Commerce Editor for Food & Wine since February 2022. Previously, Megan worked across several Dotdash Meredith brands editing content for People, Real Simple, Travel + Leisure, Southern Living, Food & Wine, and more. She has worked at Dotdash Meredith for over 6 years.

Starting with a role as digital intern at Travel + Leisure, Megan was immediately immersed in all aspects of the digital landscape, from coding in HTML to social media and (of course) writing. She reported and wrote for Racked NY about fitness and fashion, for The Hollywood Reporter on red carpet premieres, and for Travel + Leisure on long roundups and city guides. After taking a course on front-end web development she became a freelance producer for Food & Wine, building articles, galleries, and photo assets for the website.

After a year in an editing and writing role at Shape, Megan returned to Food & Wine for a staff role and became an associate editor in 2018 primarily focused on commerce content. She wrote, edited, and updated hundreds of articles and galleries including product roundups and gift guides, all optimized for SEO and affiliate revenue. She was promoted to Ecommerce Editor at F&W in the fall of 2020, Ecommerce Editor across several Meredith brands in summer of 2021, and has been Senior Commerce Editor for F&W since January 2022.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles