5 Classic Whiskey Cocktails You Should Know How to Make

Being able to make a good whiskey cocktail is one of the cornerstones of a true gentlemanly life. While you might not ever be able to put “makes the best damn Old Fashioned north of Florida” on your resume, the ability to produce a delicious whiskey cocktail is still an accomplishment to be proud of (and show off, when you can).

To help you with this skill, we’ve collected the classiest of the classic whiskey cocktails with their basic recipes. As you’ll notice, most of these are built from similar ingredients and processes, simply swapping in and out specific types of whiskey. There’s a reason these drinks are classic, after all. Whether you’re using cheap whiskey or something more expensive, these drinks are worth a try.

More Cocktails to Try

The Old Fashioned

how to make an old fashioned cocktail
Dan Baker/The Manual
  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 3-4 dashes bitters (Angostura or Orange)
  • 1 sugar cube
  • A few drops water
  • Orange peel

Method: In an Old Fashioned glass, add cocktail bitters, sugar cube, and water. Stir. Add bourbon and ice and stir. Express an orange peel over the top and drop in the glass.

Check out our picks for the best whiskey for an old fashioned.

Whiskey Sour

How to Make a Whiskey Sour Cocktail
Dan Baker/The Manual
  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • .75 oz simple syrup
  • 1 egg white
  • Cherry for garnish

Method: In a shaker tin, add all ingredients except for ice. Dry shake for 10-15 seconds. Add ice and shake again. Double strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a cocktail cherry.

Check out our picks for the best whiskey for whiskey sours.

Sazerac

sazerac-whiskey-cocktail-lemon
  • 1.5 oz rye whiskey
  • .25 oz absinthe
  • 3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
  • 1 sugar cube
  • A few drops water
  • Lemon peel 

Method: Rinse a pre-chilled Old Fashioned glass with absinthe, then add crushed ice and set it aside. Stir bitters, sugar, and water together. Add rye whiskey and ice and stir. Discard the ice and absinthe from the Old Fashioned glass and strain the whiskey into the glass. Garnish with a lemon peel.

Check out our list of the best rye whiskey under $50.

Rob Roy

rob roy cocktail cherry garnish
Christian Kargl/Getty Images
  • 2 oz Scotch whisky
  • .75 oz sweet vermouth
  • 3-4 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Cherry for garnish

Method: Add all ingredients to a mixing glass with ice. Stir. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cocktail cherry.

Check out our list of the best Scotch cocktails you can make at home.

Manhattan

manhattan cocktail
Dan Baker/The Manual
  • 2 oz rye whiskey
  • .5 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1-2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Cherry for garnish

Method: Stir liquid ingredients together with ice. Strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with a cherry.

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