Last Updated on July 1, 2022 by Lydia Martin
Bourbon has made a resurgence over the past decade. While some purists might scoff at drinking it in cocktails, we think the spirit’s complexity would work extremely well with different flavors! But what do you mix with bourbon?
If you’re bored of drinking this American whiskey neat and would like to experiment with making classic cocktails, here are the top bourbon mixers you should definitely try.
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Top 8 Bourbon Mixers You Need To Try
1. Angostura Bitters
You aren’t a true-blue bourbon fan if you haven’t had an Old Fashioned cocktail.
Angostura bitters are what give this bourbon cocktail its signature flavor. It’s slightly bitter, laced with spicy notes like cinnamon and clove, which definitely balances out this whiskey’s caramel and vanilla flavors.
And although Angostura bitters aren’t necessarily a mixer, they pair so well with sweet vermouth and bourbon that we couldn’t keep them off the list, much less bump them down from number one!
2. Apple Cider
Apple cider and bourbon are fantastic together, which is why you’ll find plenty of food and drink recipes that showcase these two showstoppers!
This ingredient has a fresh, sweet flavor that will balance out the deep, smoky flavors found in bourbon whiskey.
Ask your local bartender for a Tender Knob the next time you’re out and about. Or better yet, whip up one in your own home!
Here’s how to make this bourbon cocktail:
- Muddle an apple slice in a cocktail shaker.
- Add 1.5 ounces of bourbon, 2 ounces of apple cider, a splash of agave nectar, and a pinch of cinnamon, and shake well until combined.
- Pour into a tall glass with fresh ice.
Coca-cola is one of the best mixers for bourbon. It makes the drink more palatable, especially for inexperienced drinkers!
The sweetness in Coca-cola will balance out bourbon’s taste while still retaining its signature caramel, vanilla, and smoky flavor. Like Jim Beam and Jack Daniel’s, many popular brands have pre-mixed this bourbon drink in cans.
It’s relatively simple to make this cocktail on your own! Mix one part bourbon to five parts of coke, add lots of ice, and garnish with a lime wedge. Stir and enjoy!
What could be a better combination than whiskey and coffee? 
You could even say that both ingredients have the same base flavors — deep and smoky and just a tad bitter.
You can enjoy bourbon and coffee hot or cold, but we prefer it hot. This pick-me-up is perfect for cold winter months!
To make a Kentucky Coffee Cocktail (yum!), mix together one part of bourbon with six parts of steaming hot coffee in a large mug. Add a bit of honey liqueur and adjust according to your palate. Top off with whipped cream.
5. Ginger Ale
Ginger ale’s sour and citrusy flavor makes it the perfect addition to bourbon!
It adds a fantastic contrast to the bourbon’s natural smoky and caramel flavor, making a drink with interesting depth yet still super refreshing.
To make ginger ale and bourbon (one of the best summer bourbon cocktails!), mix one part bourbon with five parts ginger ale and add lots of ice cubes.
You can also experiment with ginger beer or fresh ginger syrup. These ingredients will create the most delicious whiskey cocktails.
6. Homemade Eggnog
Sweet, creamy homemade eggnog pairs beautifully with bourbon whiskey!
This Christmas staple brings out the sweetness in the liquor even more.
While this creamy drink is more geared towards little children, adults can spike it with bourbon whiskey, rum, or other distilled spirits to make cocktails.
To make easy eggnog bourbon drinks, mix 1 liter eggnog with 6 ounces of bourbon whiskey in a large pitcher with ice. Sprinkle each serving with a bit of nutmeg or cinnamon on top.
7. Soda Water
Soda water is just water that’s been carbonated. It will dilute the spirit but not alter the original taste of the liquor.
Soda water and bourbon together make a great cocktail. Simply pour the liquor over ice and blend with this ingredient until you’re happy with the outcome.
You may also experiment with using club soda or seltzer in your bourbon drinks, as they are all very similar products in both taste and texture.
And last is water.
Many people, including the average bourbon lover, find this liquor a bit harsh for sipping neat — especially cask-strength or higher proof bourbon. Some bars offer their bourbons with a pipette of water to cut back a bit of that alcoholic bite.
It’s also said that water will bring out more subtle flavors and aroma, making the liquor more palatable and flavorful.
Use room temperature water as a mixer until you find you can taste true bourbon without diluting the drink too much. We discovered that a splash of water is more than enough for a single drink.
Famous Bourbon Cocktail Recipes
The Bourbon Sour is a classic bourbon cocktail that uses a frothy egg white and lemon juice. Here’s how to make one of the best bourbon cocktails:
- Prep Time: 3 minutes
- Total Time: 3 minutes
- 2 oz bourbon
- ¾ oz lemon juice
- ½ oz syrup
- 1 egg white
Pour lemon juice, simple syrup, and the liquor into a cocktail shaker and shake well until well combined. Add ice and shake everything together until chilled. Strain and pour the frothy mixture into a cocktail glass. Serve immediately.
The Mint Julep is one of the most popular bourbon cocktails and requires only three ingredients you most probably have in your kitchen! Here’s how to make this scrumptious glass:
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- 2.5 oz bourbon
- ½ oz simple syrup
- 5 mint leaves
- Mint sprig
- Crushed ice
Place the mint leaves and syrup at the bottom of a rocks glass and muddle together until all its natural juices have been extracted. Add the bourbon for Mint Julep and top the remaining with ice. Stir everything together with a bar spoon until the glass becomes frosty. Garnish with mint.
Can you mix other spirits with bourbon?
Yes, you can definitely mix other spirits with bourbon to create popular cocktails! The best spirits to mix with this liquor are rum, vodka, and tequila, as they will best complement its natural flavors. Also, contrary to popular belief, mixing different spirits will not make you sick.
Does bourbon go with Sprite?
Yes, bourbon goes well with Sprite. We can say that this drink is just as good as bourbon and cola, albeit not as popular! The lemon-lime notes in Sprite will bring out the natural smokey and sweet flavors in bourbon.
Can you mix maple syrup with bourbon?
Yes, you can mix pure maple syrup with bourbon! This combination is a great way to spike desserts for an older audience. You can even add it to classic bourbon cocktails for a Maple Bourbon Old Fashioned. But what’s the best bourbon for an Old-Fashioned?
The smokey and caramel notes in bourbon make it the perfect complement to mixers like Coca-cola, apple cider, and ginger beer. Still, we have to say that our personal favorite is Angostura bitters. An Old Fashioned cocktail just wouldn’t be complete without it!
The next time you’re craving bourbon but want a little something other than sipping it neat, why not whip out this list to take the guesswork out?
Hope you learned a little something about what to mix in your favorite bourbon cocktails.
Lydia Martin hails from Redmond, Washington, where you’ll find some of the best cocktail bars and distilleries that offer a great mix of local drinks. She used to work as a bar manager in Paris and is a self-taught mixologist whose passion for crafting unique cocktails led her to create Liquor Laboratory. Lydia can whip up a mean Margarita in seconds! Contact at [email protected] or learn more about us here.