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What Do You Mix With Bourbon? (2024 Updated)

What Do You Mix With Bourbon

Last Updated on March 13, 2024 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. 

Top 8 Bourbon Mixers You Need To Try 

1. Angostura Bitters

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! 

But what’s the cheapest bourbon for an Old Fashioned cocktail?

2. Apple Cider

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: 

  1. Muddle an apple slice in a cocktail shaker
  2. 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. 
  3. Pour into a tall glass with fresh ice.  

3. Coca-Cola


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! 

4. Coffee


What could be a better combination than whiskey and coffee? [1

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. 

But do you drink bourbon with ice?

5. Ginger Ale

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

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. 

But which is good for eggnog – bourbon or rum?

7. Soda Water

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. 

8. Water


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.

Related Posts:

Famous Bourbon Cocktail Recipes

Famous Bourbon Cocktail Recipes Bourbon Sour

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. 


Mint Julep

Mint Julep

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. 

Serving: 1 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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?

What is good mixed with bourbon?

Bourbon is a versatile spirit that pairs well with various mixers. Some popular options for mixing with bourbon include:

Ginger Ale or Ginger Beer: Creates a refreshing and slightly spicy combination.

Club Soda: Adds effervescence without overpowering the bourbon’s flavor.

Sweet Vermouth: Used in cocktails like the classic Manhattan or Boulevardier.

Lemonade: Provides a sweet and tangy contrast to bourbon’s richness.

Iced Tea: A Southern classic, combining the boldness of bourbon with the smoothness of tea.

Experimenting with different mixers allows you to discover your preferred bourbon cocktail.

What is the best way to drink bourbon?

The best way to drink bourbon ultimately depends on personal preferences. Some popular methods include:

Neat: Sipping bourbon neat allows you to appreciate its full flavor profile without dilution.

On the Rocks: Adding a couple of ice cubes can slightly chill and dilute the bourbon, altering its characteristics.

With a Splash of Water: Adding a small amount of water can open up the flavors and aromas, making it more approachable.

In Cocktails: Bourbon serves as the base for numerous classic cocktails like the Old Fashioned, Mint Julep, or Whiskey Sour.

Experimenting with different methods helps you find the most enjoyable way to drink bourbon.

What can I mix with bourbon besides Coke?

Beyond Coke, there are numerous mixers that pair well with bourbon. Some alternatives include:

Ginger Beer or Ginger Ale: Creates a spicy and refreshing mix.

Lemonade or Orange Juice: Adds a citrusy twist to the bourbon.

Iced Tea: A classic choice for a Southern-style drink.

Apple Cider: Perfect for fall-inspired bourbon cocktails.

Cranberry Juice: Provides a tart and fruity contrast.

Choosing mixers that complement bourbon’s rich and robust flavors allows for diverse and enjoyable combinations.

What does bourbon pair well with?

Bourbon pairs well with a variety of flavors, making it a versatile spirit for food pairings. Some excellent combinations include:

Cheese: Rich, aged cheeses like cheddar or blue cheese complement bourbon’s complexity.

Chocolate: Dark chocolate or desserts with caramel notes harmonize with bourbon’s sweetness.

Grilled Meats: The smoky and charred flavors of grilled meats complement bourbon’s robust profile.

Spicy Foods: The heat of spicy dishes can be balanced by bourbon’s warmth and sweetness.

Experimenting with pairings based on personal preferences enhances the overall bourbon-drinking experience.

Is bourbon good with Coke?

Yes, bourbon is commonly mixed with Coke, creating a popular drink known as the Bourbon and Coke or the Kentucky Coke.

The sweetness of Coke complements the rich and caramel notes of bourbon, making it a straightforward and enjoyable combination.

However, individual preferences vary, and some purists prefer to enjoy bourbon neat or with other mixers to fully appreciate its flavors.

Mixing bourbon with Coke is a personal choice, and the key is to find the combination that suits your taste.

How do you drink bourbon for beginners?

For beginners, exploring bourbon can be an enjoyable experience. Here are some tips:

Start Neat: Begin by sipping bourbon neat to experience its pure flavors. Take small sips and let the spirit coat your palate.

Add Ice or Water: If the initial intensity is too much, try adding a single ice cube or a small splash of water. This can help mellow the flavors and make the experience more approachable.

Experiment with Cocktails: Try classic bourbon cocktails like an Old Fashioned or a Bourbon Sour. These cocktails incorporate other ingredients that can complement and balance the bourbon flavor.

Explore Different Brands: Bourbon brands vary in flavor profiles. Experiment with different brands to discover the nuances you enjoy.

Take Your Time: Bourbon is meant to be sipped and savored. Take your time to appreciate the aromas, flavors, and the overall experience.

Is Jack Daniel’s a bourbon?

No, Jack Daniel’s is not classified as bourbon. It is specifically labeled as Tennessee whiskey.

While bourbon and Tennessee whiskey share some similarities, such as being made primarily from corn and aged in new charred oak barrels, there is a key difference.

Jack Daniel’s undergoes an additional filtration process known as the Lincoln County Process, where the whiskey is filtered through sugar maple charcoal before aging.

This process distinguishes it from bourbon, which does not require such filtration.

Is it OK to drink bourbon straight?

Yes, it is absolutely okay to drink bourbon straight. In fact, many bourbon enthusiasts prefer sipping it neat to fully appreciate its flavors.

Drinking bourbon straight allows you to experience the complexity and nuances of the spirit without any dilution.

However, personal preferences vary, and adding a splash of water or an ice cube is also a common practice to modify the intensity for those who find it too strong.

What are three ways to drink bourbon?

Neat: Sipping bourbon without any additions allows you to experience its full flavor profile.

On the Rocks: Adding a couple of ice cubes can slightly chill and dilute the bourbon, altering its characteristics.

In Cocktails: Bourbon serves as the base for various classic cocktails such as the Old Fashioned, Manhattan, or Mint Julep, offering diverse ways to enjoy its rich flavors.

What is bourbon and Coke called?

The combination of bourbon and Coke is commonly referred to as a “Bourbon and Coke” or a “Jack and Coke” when made with Jack Daniel’s, specifically.

It is a popular mixed drink enjoyed for its sweet and fizzy flavor, combining the richness of bourbon with the sweetness of cola.

Top of Form

Final Verdict: What Do You Mix With Bourbon

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.  


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