Skip to main content

Summer whiskey cocktails: These are our favorites

Summer weather was meant for whiskey cocktails

Whiskey cocktails
Louis Hansel/Unsplash

You might not immediately think of whiskey as a summery spirit, and we get that. When you imagine nuanced single-malt Scotch whisky or spicy, warming rye whiskey, you likely envision a cold (possibly snowy) evening. You probably also have thoughts of drinking it neat. What about using whiskey as a summertime mixer?

If you only reach for gin, vodka, tequila, and rum for your mixing needs during the warmer months, you’re missing out. That’s because myriad blended Scotch whiskies, single malts, rye whiskeys, bourbons, and various other types of whiskey are perfect for mixing. Don’t believe us? There are countless summer whiskey cocktails perfect for now until the leaves start falling (and beyond).

Our favorite summer whiskey cocktails

Whiskey cocktail
Bon Vivant/Unsplash

Now that we’ve established that whiskey is a great base for a warm-weather cocktail, it’s time to find some for you to mix up. If you’re going for seasonal appropriateness, you’ll stay away from boozy, warming drinks like the Sazerac, Old Fashioned, and Manhattan. Luckily, there are a lot of summery whisky cocktails to choose from. Keep scrolling to see some of our favorites.

Whiskey Highball

Highball cocktail
Brent Hofacker / Adobe Stock

When it comes to refreshing, summery, whiskey-based drinks, none comes close to the appeal of a Whiskey Highball. The drink can be traced back to 1895 when it was first referred to as the “Splificator” in a bartending manual. The drink also appeared in Harry Johnson’s ‘Bartender’s Manual’ in 1900. Regardless of when it was created, it’s a very simple mixed drink consisting of the whiskey of your choice and club soda or some sparkling water. A lime or lemon twist completes the thirst-quenching drink.

What you’ll need to make a Whiskey Highball

  • 2 ounces of whiskey (we prefer bourbon)
  • A soda water topper
  • Lime wedge garnish

The Whiskey Highball Recipe Steps

1. Add ice to a Highball or pint glass.
2. Add two ounces of the whiskey of your choice.
3. Top with soda water or sparkling water of your choice.
4. Stir gently to combine.
5. Garnish it with a lemon or lime wedge

Lynchburg Lemonade

Lynchburg Lemonade

If you’re a fan of whiskey, you probably recognize the city in this cocktail’s name. Lynchburg, Tennessee, is home to none other than Jack Daniel’s. The drink wasn’t invented in Tennessee, though. It was created by a bartender and owner named Tony Mason in Huntsville, Alabama, in 1980. He shared the drink with a sales rep and the distillery made their version without paying its actual inventor. He sued but was only awarded $1 for all of his troubles. At least, the internet knows that he created this drink made with Jack Daniel’s, triple sec, simple syrup, lemon juice, and lemon-lime soda.

What you’ll need to make a Lynchburg Lemonade

  • 1.5 ounces Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey
  • .5 ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • .5 ounces simple syrup
  • 1 ounce of triple sec
  • Lemon-lime soda topper.

The Lynchburg Lemonade recipe steps

1. Add ice to a shaker.
2. Add whiskey, lemon juice, simple syrup, and triple sec to the shaker.
3. Shake vigorously to combine all the ingredients.
4. Strain ingredients into an ice-filled Highball or pint glass.
4. Top with lemon-lime soda.
5. Garnish with a lemon wedge.

Gold Rush

Gold Rush
Daniel Hanssen / Unsplash

One of the best contemporary cocktails, Gold Rush is a cocktail made with bourbon, honey syrup, and fresh lemon juice, It’s a take on the whiskey sour with sugar being swapped out for honey. It was created by a bartender named T. J. Siegal at New York’s Milk & Honey in the early 2000s. The combination of warming, mellow bourbon, sweet honey, and fresh, citrusy lemon makes it an outstanding choice for the hazy summer days ahead.

What you’ll need to make a Gold Rush

  • 2 ounces bourbon whiskey
  • .75 ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • .75 ounces of honey syrup
  • Lemon peel garnish

The Gold Rush recipe steps

1. Add ice to a shaker
2. Add bourbon, lemon juice, and honey syrup to the ice-filled shaker.
3. Shake vigorously to combine.
4. Strain into a chilled old fashioned or rocks glass.
5. Garnish with a lemon peel.

Mint Julep

Mint Julep
Adam Jaime/Unsplash

There are few whiskey cocktails more synonymous with warm weather than the Mint Julep. While the julep can be traced to Europe as a cure-all more than a thousand years ago, the contemporary Mint Julep was likely created sometime in the mid-to-late 1700s in the southern part of the US. It should come as no surprise that this drink of bourbon, sugar, mint leaves, and water has become entrenched in the history of horse racing in the south, with it being the official drink of the Kentucky Derby since 1938.

What you’ll need to make a Mint Julep

  • 2 ounces of bourbon whiskey
  • 1 teaspoon of granulated or powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of water
  • 4-5 mint leaves

The Mint Julep recipe steps

1. In a stainless-steel Julep cup (or a pint glass), muddle the sugar and water to combine.
2. Add ice to the glass.
3. Add bourbon whiskey.
4. Stirn to combine.
5. Garnish with a mint leaf.

Christopher Osburn
Christopher Osburn is a food and drinks writer located in the Finger Lakes Region of New York. He's been writing professional
Chenin Blanc is the summer white wine you’ve been waiting for
Chenin blanc wine guide
Chenin blanc wine


Chenin blanc has lurked in the shadows for some time. When it’s on the verge of a breakout, something else eclipses the trend, like funky orange wine a decade or so ago and chardonnay’s recent rebound.

Read more
These are our favorite hazy IPAs for hazy summer days
Summertime is a great season for hazy IPA beers
A glass of beer on a beach


It might feel like they’ve always been around, but New England-style IPAs have only been a style since 2004. This is when John Kimmich, brewer and founder of the now iconic The Alchemist in Vermont, first brewed the wildly popular Heady Topper. In the last 20 years, this IPA style has exploded.

Read more
These are the best Kentucky distilleries to visit this summer and fall
Take a road trip to Kentucky this summer
Buffalo Trace


The epic road trip is a classic summer staple that we look forward to every year. Whether it’s a trip to a nostalgic beach destination, a popular amusement park, or a National Park, we don’t mind spending hours in a cramped, sweaty car if the destination is worth it. And while we enjoy all of the sites we previously mentioned, a road trip is made even better if the final stop involves alcohol. Especially whiskey.

Read more