Top 9 Must-Try Whiskey Cocktails for Your Next Bar Night

Whiskey is a great addition to cocktails of all types. It has a bold flavor profile that can be balanced by sweetness or bitterness, depending on the drink.

A classic whiskey cocktail is the Manhattan. It’s simple to make and allows the rye or bourbon to shine. For a more unique and complex whiskey cocktail, try the Brown Derby. They appeal to all five senses and create a perfect guest ambiance.

These cocktails are a must-try at places like whiskey bar Austin if you want to impress your friends with sophisticated and creative concoctions.


The Sazerac is a whiskey-based cocktail that originated in New Orleans. It was originally made with cognac, but the drink shifted to rye whiskey after the phylloxera plague wiped out large swaths of French wine production.

The rye whiskey is balanced by the anise flavor of the absinthe rinse and the sweet and spicy notes from Peychaud’s bitters. Well-made rye, like Michter’s US*1, works great for this recipe.

Whiskey Sour

This classic whiskey cocktail is sweet and sour with just enough booze. It’s a surefire way to keep your friends happy and coming back for more.

The original recipe calls for egg white, which tames the tart flavor and adds a unique richness to this drink. If you’re worried about salmonella, dry shake the ingredients without ice first, then re-shake with fresh ice before straining into your glass. This drink should be a litmus test for finding the best whiskey bar Austin, getting the classics right lets you know you are in the right place.

Brown Derby

Created during the glitz and glamour of 1930s Hollywood, the Brown Derby is a whiskey drink that blends tart citrus and rich bourbon. This cocktail also features honey, bridging the gap between the two ingredients and adding sweetness.

Only three ingredients are needed to prepare this easy-to-make cocktail. Combine the bourbon, grapefruit juice, and honey syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice. Stir thoroughly. After straining into a cocktail glass, add a grapefruit peel or wedge as a garnish.

Milk Punch

The classic milk and whiskey drink is easy to suggest when a guest hanks for something warm. It’s also a great way to ease someone into the whiskey world when they are just getting familiar with it.

Most bartenders recommend whole milk for its fat content, which helps it curdle and filter the punch. Other options include half-and-half or heavy cream. The higher the fat content, the better the punch will taste.

Rusty Nail

Rusty Nail is a simple whisky cocktail about the pairing of Scotch and Drambuie. This combo made its first public appearance in 1937, but it took another generation before the drink found its home in cocktails.

This cocktail pairs Grant’s Scotch with Drambuie, a sweet gold-colored liqueur made with scotch whiskey, honey, herbs, and spices. It’s a potent and surprisingly simple drink that was a favorite of the Rat Pack back in the day.

Old Pal

Old Pal is the perfect winter sipper, like a Negroni-style cocktail but with rye whiskey instead of gin and dry vermouth rather than sweet.

This simple drink is a great addition to any bartender’s whiskey recipe book. It features a balanced mix of rye whiskey, Campari, and dry or Blanc vermouth.

Gold Rush

This bourbon drink feels like it’s been around forever, but it was invented just 20 years ago at Milk & Honey in New York. The Gold Rush’s simple concept — substituting honey for sugar in a whiskey sour — broadened bartenders’ ideas of what whisky can be mixed with.

Lemon and honey play well with any spirit, so try this recipe with rye, gin, or even unaged white whiskey. It’s also easy to batch in pitchers for a crowd.


No new cocktail of the 21st century has soared higher in popularity than the Penicillin, which combines Scotch with honey, lemon, and ginger for a high-end take on the Whiskey Sour. Paper Plane

If you’re looking for a whiskey cocktail that’s bright and citrusy, try this jazzed-up version of the classic John Collins. 

This bittersweet modern cocktail has four ingredients, balancing boozy, sweet, and bitter flavors. To experiment, swap dark rum for bourbon or use bold Campari instead of Aperol. Garnish with a wide strip of orange or lemon zest.

You May Also Enjoy