Summer is right around the corner.

And though we love a pour of neat whiskey, it lacks compatibility with swelteringly hot weather. Unless a whiskey drinker wants to spend the whole summer cocooned in the air conditioning, the rising mercury means taking your whiskey either on the rocks or in a cold summer cocktail. If you prefer to sip on the latter, then take note of these five bourbon cocktails that are perfect for summer weather.

As a genuine born-in-the-Bluegrass Kentucky farm boy, I cope with summertime in the tradition of the Southern gentleman: by serving Mint Juleps in pewter and silver Julep cups from a batch kept in a frosted pewter pitcher. I still rely on the classic Julep recipe, but I prefer to concoct it with Maker’s Mark because I find the floral character of wheated bourbon complements the mint from my garden.

Mint Julep, makers mark bottle

Mint Julep

Mint Julep

Ingredients:

  • .5 oz. Mint Simple Syrup
  • 2 oz. Maker’s Mark
  • Two Mint Sprigs

Preparation: Pluck the leaves off of one mint sprig and place them in the bottom of your Julep cup. Pour the syrup on top. Fill the Julep cup with crushed ice, and then pour in the bourbon. Garnish with the remaining mint sprig.


If you favor flavors other than sweet vanilla, floral citrus, and mint, there are a plethora of options from which to choose. One comes from Fitz Bailey of Coopers’ Craft, who took the beachside classic Crush and gave it a bourbon spin.

Summer Crush cocktail with garnish

Summer Crush

Summer Crush

Ingredients:

  • 1 Navel Orange, Freshly Juiced
  • 2 oz. Coopers’ Craft Bourbon
  • 1 oz. Orange Liqueur
  • 3–4 oz. Lemon-Lime Soda
  • Orange Wheel (For Garnish)
  • Mint Sprig (For Garnish)

Preparation: Fill a rocks glass with crushed ice. Pour the bourbon, orange liqueur, and fresh orange juice in the glass. Give it a gentle stir. Top it with the soda and garnish with the orange wheel and mint sprig. For a lower-calorie version, replace the soda with seltzer water.


If you really want to beat the heat with a cocktail, the best advice you can get would probably come from a Texan. The Texas Conclusion has the added advantage of utilizing full-bodied Garrison Brothers bourbon, ensuring that the identity of the whiskey will sing right through the chorus of other ingredients.

The Texas Conclusion

Ingredients:

  • 1.75 oz. Garrison Brothers Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey
  • 1 oz. Lavender Lemon Syrup*
  • .75 oz. Lemon Juice
  • .5 oz. Montenegro
  • Ginger Ale (To Top)
  • Dehydrated Lemon Wheel (For Garnish)

Preparation: Combine all the ingredients in a shaker tin, save for the garnish, shake vigorously, and double strain into a coupe glass. Top with cold ginger ale and garnish with a dehydrated lemon wheel.

*Lavender Lemon Syrup

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. Lemon Juice
  • 8 oz. Sugar
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 strip Lemon Zest
  • 1 tsp. Dried Lavender

Preparation: Put a saucepan over medium heat and combine the sugar and lemon juice with a cup of water. Stir until it forms a syrup. Add the zest and lavender. Simmer for several minutes, then strain out the lavender and zest. Store mixture and allow to cool before using.


Another way to make your bourbon stand out in a cocktail is to reach for a barrel-proof expression. The Tradition brings out the spiciness of Bulleit Bourbon in a full-bore, cask-strength style.

The Tradition, bourbon bottle and cocktail on rocks

The Tradition

The Tradition

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz. Bulleit Barrel Strength Whiskey
  • 1 dash Aromatic Bitters
  • 1 dash Dry Curaçao
  • 1 barspoon Gomme Syrup
  • Lemon Peel (For Garnish)

Preparation: Combine all ingredients, save for the garnish, in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Garnish with a lemon peel.


Finally, if you want to be on the cutting edge this summer, take all the juicy citrus and combine it with the new Four Roses Small Batch Select Bourbon. Small Batch Select is not just new, but it’s also the Four Roses whiskey that draws the most on the rosy flavor of its “O Yeast,”

Four Roses Summer Citrus cocktail with garnish

Summer Citrus

Four Roses Summer Citrus

Ingredients:

  • 1.25 oz. Four Roses Small Batch Select Bourbon
  • .5 oz. Lemon Juice
  • .5 oz. Grapefruit Juice
  • .5 oz. Clover Honey Simple Syrup
  • 1 dash Angostura Bitters
  • Lemon Twist (For Garnish)

Preparation: Combine all of the ingredients, save for the garnish, in shaker tin with ice. Shake and strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Garnish with a lemon twist.