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5 Best Summer Bourbon Cocktails: Full Recipes (2024 Updated)

Best Summer Bourbon Cocktails

Last Updated on April 12, 2024 by Lydia Martin

Many people grab clear distilled spirits like gin, tequila, and vodka when the hot summer days come. They typically leave behind a dark spirit like bourbon for the bitter-cold season. Most are unaccustomed to many refreshing bourbon drinks available anywhere.

Well, let’s break the norm! Here are some of the best summer bourbon cocktails that even beginners can easily make.

Top 5 Bourbon Cocktail Recipes For Summer Getaways

1. Summer Breeze

Summer Breeze on desk

What Is It?

This refreshing cocktail has a wonderful sparkling citrus twist to a high-proof whiskey. It is a fun choice of drink with friends over a barbeque or beach party. It contains premium ingredients that are easy to combine, even for beginners.

Prep Time: 3 minutes

Total Time: 3 minutes


  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 2 ounces ginger ale
  • One splash of orange liqueur
  • One orange slice


Use an old-fashioned glass and fill it with all the ingredients. Stir gently. Put crushed ice and garnish it with an orange slice. Serve and enjoy.

Serving: 1

2. Forbidden Sour

Forbidden Sour on desk

What Is It?

This bourbon cocktail is a new twist to the classic Whiskey Sour by beverage and bartending consultant Eben Freeman. Forbidden Sour has a fruit-forward taste that is light and refreshing during the intense summertime heat.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes


  • 1-ounce bourbon
  • 1-ounce pomegranate liqueur
  • ½ ounce fresh lemon juice
  • ½ ounce simple syrup
  • Two dashes of Angostura Bitters (optional)
  • Orange wheel
  • Cherry 


Pour over equal parts of bourbon and pomegranate liqueur into a shaker filled with ice. Fill in the other ingredients and shake until chilled. Then, strain the mixture into a cocktail glass over fresh ice. Garnish with cherry and orange wheel.

Serving: 1

3. Bourbon Rickey

Bourbon Rickey on desk

What Is It?

Bourbon Rickey is a collaborative recipe between Colonel Joe Rickey and bartender George Williamson [1]. In 1883, Williamson, who worked at Shoomaker’s bar, decided to add half lime to Colonel Rickey’s usual bourbon and sparkling water order. This refreshing cocktail has different variations depending on the spirit used.

Prep Time: 3 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes


  • 1.5 ounces bourbon
  • Sparkling water (club soda)
  • ½ freshly squeezed lime


Squeeze the lime and drop it in a highball glass full of large ice cube pieces. Add the bourbon and fill it with sparkling water (or club soda). Stir and serve.

Serving: 1

4. Kentucky Mule

Kentucky Mule on table

What Is It?

Kentucky Mule is a cousin to the famous Moscow Mule classic that substitutes bourbon for the original vodka recipe. It has a bubbly and charming combination that finishes with a whiskey spice. Here are the best bourbons for Kentucky Mule

Prep Time: 3 minutes

Total Time: 3 minutes


  • 2 ounces of bourbon
  • ½ ounce fresh lime juice
  • Ginger beer
  • Mint sprig


Add large ice cube pieces into a highball glass. Pour the ingredients, then top it with ginger beer. Garnish the mix with a mint sprig. Enjoy. 

Serving: 1

5. Bourbon Strawberry Iced TeaBourbon Strawberry Iced Tea on desk with mint leaves

What Is It?

This beverage is another summertime delight that showcases a delicious blend of sweet and tart flavors. With the unsweetened iced tea, this cocktail is the perfect refreshment for the hot days.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes


  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • Two large fresh strawberries(slice into quarters)
  • 1-ounce fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ ounce rich simple syrup
  • Unsweetened iced tea
  • Strawberries
  • Mint sprig


Gently muddle lemon juice and strawberry in a shaker. Add bourbon, simple syrup, and ice. Then, shake until well-chilled. Strain the mix into a highball glass and top it with unsweetened iced tea. Garnish with skewered strawberries and mint sprig.

Serving: 1

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do you drink bourbon in the summer?

Bourbon can be enjoyed in various ways during the summer months, catering to different preferences and occasions. Some popular ways to drink bourbon in the summer include:

On the Rocks: Pour bourbon over ice for a refreshing and chilled beverage that highlights its flavors while keeping you cool.

Bourbon Cocktails: Experiment with bourbon-based cocktails suited for warmer weather, such as Mint Juleps, Bourbon Lemonades, or Whiskey Sours. These drinks often incorporate fresh ingredients like mint, citrus, and herbs to complement bourbon’s depth of flavor.

With Soda: Mix bourbon with soda water or a flavored soda for a light and effervescent summer sipper. Consider using ginger ale, cola, or citrus-flavored sodas to enhance the bourbon’s profile.

Frozen or Blended: Blend bourbon with ice, fruit, and other ingredients to create frozen bourbon cocktails like Bourbon Slushies or Bourbon Smoothies for a fun and cooling treat.

What drinks mix well with bourbon?

Bourbon pairs well with a variety of mixers, offering versatility in crafting flavorful cocktails. Some popular mixers that complement bourbon include:

Sweet Vermouth: Used in classic cocktails like the Manhattan or the Boulevardier, sweet vermouth adds depth and complexity to bourbon.

Bitters: A few dashes of bitters can enhance the flavor profile of bourbon-based cocktails, balancing sweetness and adding complexity.

Citrus Juices: Fresh lemon or lime juice adds brightness and acidity to bourbon cocktails, balancing its richness.

Sodas: Ginger ale, cola, and soda water are popular mixers that complement bourbon, offering effervescence and sweetness.

Fruit Juices: Pineapple, cranberry, or orange juices can be used to create fruity bourbon cocktails, adding layers of flavor.

Is bourbon good for summer?

Bourbon can be an excellent choice for summer, offering a versatile and flavorful base for refreshing cocktails.

Its complex and nuanced flavors, including notes of caramel, vanilla, and oak, can be enjoyed in a variety of summer-inspired drinks.

Can you drink bourbon neat during summer?

Absolutely! Drinking bourbon neat, without any mixers or ice, can be a delightful way to savor its rich flavors during the summer months.

Neat bourbon allows you to appreciate its complexity and nuances, making it a sophisticated choice for warm weather sipping.

Consider enjoying bourbon neat in a shaded outdoor setting or pairing it with light snacks to enhance the experience.

What do you mix with bourbon in the summer?

In the summer, bourbon can be mixed with various ingredients to create refreshing cocktails.

Some popular bourbon-based summer drinks include:

Bourbon Lemonade: A classic combination of bourbon, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, and water over ice.

Mint Julep: A Southern classic made with bourbon, fresh mint leaves, sugar, and crushed ice.

Bourbon Ginger Ale: Mix bourbon with ginger ale and a splash of lime juice for a fizzy and flavorful summer beverage.

Blackberry Bourbon Smash: Muddle fresh blackberries with bourbon, simple syrup, and a splash of soda water for a fruity and vibrant drink.

Is bourbon good in summer?

Yes, bourbon can be enjoyed in the summer.

While it is often associated with colder months, the versatility of bourbon allows for a variety of refreshing summer cocktails.

Whether sipped neat, on the rocks, or mixed into a creative cocktail, bourbon’s complex flavors, including caramel, vanilla, and oak, can complement the warm weather and outdoor gatherings.

What is the most popular summer alcoholic drink?

The most popular summer alcoholic drink can vary based on personal preferences and regional trends.

Some widely enjoyed summer cocktails include the Margarita, Mojito, Piña Colada, Aperol Spritz, and various fruity and refreshing concoctions like the Paloma.

The popularity of specific drinks often depends on factors such as climate, cultural preferences, and current trends.

Do you sip or drink bourbon?

Whether you sip or drink bourbon depends on personal preference and the context.

Bourbon is often enjoyed both ways. Sipping allows one to appreciate the intricate flavors and aromas slowly, often neat or on the rocks.

On the other hand, bourbon can also be used in cocktails, making it a versatile spirit that can be part of various enjoyable drinking experiences.

Whether sipped or mixed, the choice often comes down to individual taste and the desired drinking occasion.

Is bourbon drank warm or cold?

Bourbon can be enjoyed both warm and cold, depending on personal preference and the occasion.

Traditionally, bourbon is served neat, at room temperature, or on the rocks (over ice).

This allows the drinker to appreciate the complex flavors and aromas at their full potential.

However, bourbon is also a common base for various cocktails that can be served cold, such as Mint Juleps, Old Fashioneds, or bourbon-based variations of classic summer drinks.

Which whiskey is best in summer?

Lighter and fruitier whiskies are often preferred in summer.

For warm weather sipping or cocktails, consider reaching for a bourbon or a blended Scotch whisky with a lighter profile.

Bourbons, in particular, can offer caramel and vanilla notes that pair well with the season.

Additionally, Irish whiskey and some Japanese whiskies are known for their smooth and approachable characteristics, making them suitable choices for summer enjoyment.

Is it OK to drink bourbon everyday?

While enjoying bourbon in moderation is generally considered fine for most adults, drinking it every day in excess can have negative health consequences.

Daily alcohol consumption, even in moderate amounts, may contribute to issues like liver damage, addiction, or other health concerns.

It’s crucial to be mindful of one’s alcohol intake and to adhere to recommended guidelines for responsible drinking.

Is it okay to drink bourbon daily?

Drinking bourbon daily can become problematic if it leads to excessive consumption.

Regular alcohol consumption, even if it is just one drink per day, can have health implications.

It’s essential to consider individual tolerance, overall health, and potential risks associated with daily alcohol intake.

Consulting with a healthcare professional is advisable to ensure that one’s drinking habits align with personal health goals and well-being.

Responsible and mindful drinking practices are key to maintaining a healthy relationship with alcohol.

Final Thoughts: Best Summer Bourbon Cocktails

Since the 1700s, bourbon has made some famous classic cocktails like Mint Julep, Whiskey Sour, and Old Fashioned. It has a darker color than other alcoholic beverages like gin, vodka, and tequila, making it an unfamous base when the temperature rises.

But recently, this high-proof alcohol contributed an extra kick to many refreshing summertime cocktails. It uses a high percentage of corn mash (at least 51%) and new charred oak to draw in the sweetness of vanilla, caramel, brown sugar, and chocolate.

It has a sweeter flavor than rye and Scotch, taming key cocktail mixers like bitters and vermouth.


  1. Bourbon Rickey Recipe
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