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7 delicious whiskey mixers that aren’t Coke

Jack and Coke is a classic, but sometimes you want to mix it up a little

Whiskey being poured into a glass.
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We all love a Jack and Coke. Of course, we do. It’s a classic cocktail staple, and that’s a beautiful thing. But some days, we’re craving something different. Something out of the ordinary. Some days, we seek the bar stool less traveled, if you will.

Before you roll your eyes and think that there’s some new trendy drink mixer on the market made of some magical organic fruit no one has ever heard of, don’t worry. Most of these whiskey mixers are refrigerator staples you probably already have. While you should pour most whiskeys into a glass and sip them neat or on the rocks, a nice and simple cocktail with a handy mixer can be just as tasty. So grab some whiskey, your favorite whiskey glass (rocks or highball glass), and one of these best whiskey mixers.

A bottle of Canada Dry Club Soda on white background.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Club soda

They don’t get much easier than a whiskey highball when talking about classic whiskey cocktails. A highball is simple: ice, whiskey, club soda, and a twist of lemon. And they, indeed, are delicious. Lime, grapefruit, orange, and perhaps even a dash of bitters can change up and wake up a simple whiskey soda.

A bottle of Canada Dry Ginger Ale on white background.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Ginger ale

Right up there with a Jack and Coke is whiskey ginger. Also, for an excellent reason, it’s downright tasty. Genuine whiskey ginger can fool a drinker into thinking they’re sipping on a cream soda. Mixed well, very little booziness or ginger shines through, just the pure vanilla goodness that hides in both drinks.

A can of Goslings Ginger Beer on white background.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Ginger beer

Ginger beer separates itself from ginger ale by being more aggressive with ginger and carbonation. It also has a nice spicy kick to it. Ginger beer is a crucial ingredient in mule cocktails, such as a Moscow Mule, customarily made with vodka. But a Kentucky Mule is a cocktail made with bourbon, ginger beer, and lime; all served over crushed ice. Of course, a spicy, bubbly whiskey cocktail would be fantastic if lime isn’t around.

A bottle of Martini & Rossi Vermouth on white background.
Martini & Rossi

Vermouth

Well, vermouth might be cheating a little bit as one of the best mixers. Technically, we’re talking sweet vermouth, but dry vermouth will also work in most cases. But adding sweet vermouth to a whiskey is a quick way to finish a cocktail neatly.

Add a cherry and some Bitters – you have a Manhattan. So, if you’re wondering what to mix with whiskey, this little concoction adds up to one of the most incredible cocktails ever created.

A gallon of apple cider on white background.
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Apple cider

Apple cider and whiskey is a great fall drink — warm or cold. The drink melds fall flavors perfectly but throw in some vanilla, caramel, or a cinnamon stick to amplify it even more. You could add ginger beer and soda water for a nice sparkling effect.

A cup of coffee beside spilled coffee beans.
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Coffee

Irish coffee is yet another one of those quintessential whiskey cocktails. And it’s so simple: whiskey and coffee. A proper Irish coffee is a little more than that, so include some sugar. A nice one could be topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. Like the apple cider cocktail, coffee, and whiskey also work with iced coffee and cold brew. You can’t go wrong if you have the right coffee beans.

A glass of lemonade surrounded by lemons.
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Lemonade

A bourbon lemonade is a great way to toast a tough day of yard work. The tart but sweet goodness of a well-made glass of lemonade is an ideal mixer for a bourbon. Served over ice, a bourbon lemonade allows both beverages’ great tastes to peek through.

The lemonade helps temper the booziness of the whiskey, while the oaky burn tempers the sweetness of the lemonade. For a little bit more of a push, try a rye-heavy whiskey or straight rye whiskey, which will cut through the lemonade a bit more.

Is whiskey gluten-free?

Whiskey, in its pure form, is typically considered gluten-free. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye grains. During the distillation process, the gluten proteins do not carry over into the distilled liquid, which includes whiskey. However, it’s important to note that some whiskeys may be aged or finished in barrels previously used to store other spirits containing gluten, such as bourbon or beer. In such cases, there is a possibility of cross-contamination.

Suppose you have celiac disease or are highly sensitive to gluten. In that case, it’s recommended to exercise caution and check with the specific whiskey brand or manufacturer for information regarding their production processes and any potential gluten contamination risks. Some brands explicitly state whether their whiskey is gluten-free, so it’s a good idea to look for those labels or contact the company directly if you have concerns.

What’s the healthiest option to mix whiskey with?

When determining the healthiest option among beverages, it’s essential to consider various factors. Here’s a breakdown of the choices we’ve provided:

  • Coffee: Coffee is low in calories and may have some health benefits, such as improved cognitive function and increased alertness. However, excessive consumption or adding sugar and cream can negate these benefits. Opting for black coffee or adding minimal healthier alternatives like unsweetened plant-based milk can make it a healthier choice.
  • Lemonade: Lemonade is typically made by combining lemon juice, water, and sweetener. While lemons are a good source of vitamin C, commercially available lemonades often contain added sugars. Consuming excessive amounts of added sugars can contribute to various health issues, such as weight gain and increased risk of chronic diseases. Using minimal or natural sweeteners like stevia can be a healthier choice if you make lemonade at home.
  • Club soda: Club soda is carbonated water and contains no significant calories or nutrients. It can be a good option for staying hydrated without added sugars or artificial sweeteners.
  • Ginger ale: Ginger ale is a carbonated soft drink flavored with ginger. Commercially available ginger ales often contain added sugars and artificial flavors. It’s worth noting that the ginger content in these drinks is typically minimal and may not provide substantial health benefits. Opting for ginger tea or infusing water with fresh ginger can be a healthier alternative.
  • Ginger beer: Ginger beer is similar to ginger ale but has a more robust ginger flavor and is less carbonated. Like ginger ale, commercial ginger beers often contain added sugars. If you’re looking for the healthiest option, choosing drinks without added sugars or making your own ginger-infused beverages using fresh ginger would be better.
  • Vermouth: Vermouth is an alcoholic beverage made from fortified wine flavored with various botanicals. While moderate alcohol consumption can be part of a balanced lifestyle for some individuals, excessive alcohol intake can lead to numerous health problems. Additionally, vermouth contains alcohol, which has its own set of health considerations. It’s essential to consume alcohol in moderation, considering your health and circumstances.
  • Apple cider: Apple cider is a non-alcoholic beverage made from pressed apples. It can provide some nutritional benefits, including vitamins and antioxidants. However, commercially available apple ciders may contain added sugars, so checking the label or making your cider using fresh apples is essential.

In terms of overall healthiness, options like club soda and homemade apple cider (without added sugars) are likely to be the healthier choices, as they contain fewer additives and calories. However, individual dietary needs, preferences, and health goals should also be considered when deciding on beverage consumption.

Lindsay Parrill
Lindsay is a graduate of California Culinary Academy, Le Cordon Bleu, San Francisco, from where she holds a degree in…
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