Made in America, bourbon whiskey is a spirit that has deservedly risen in popularity throughout the years. Bourbon is typically made using corn and is crafted throughout the United States, from Kentucky to California, and nearly everywhere in between. Although many prefer to drink this amber-hued spirit on the rocks or with a splash of Coke, several unexpected mixers can help in transforming this classic spirit into something fun and modern.
With these clever mixers, you can add your own twist to the Old Fashioned with curiously-flavored bitters or take a bourbon and sweet tea to delicious new levels with a homemade, mint simple syrup. Ahead, the mixers you'll want to add to your home bar before happy hour.
Most whiskey sippers are all too familiar with the surprisingly satisfying shot known as the Pickleback. While the Pickleback calls for a shot of whiskey and a shot of pickle juice (both sipped separately), pickle juice can be used in bourbon cocktails to add a touch of tang. Think Whiskey Sour with added lip-puckering.
This liqueur crafted in Angers, France, is a key ingredient in several classic cocktails, as well as an ample number of newer libations. Created using orange peels from both bitter and sweet oranges, Cointreau proves to be a welcomingly mellow companion and offers a sweet contrast when paired with bourbon.
Flavored bitters can work wonders with bourbon, adding layers of both complexity and flavor. From chamomile bitters to Japanese chili and lime, this popular cocktail ingredient can be mixed with bourbon to add a unique twist to an Old Fashioned, Manhattan or any other bitter-filled cocktail.
Bourbon and sweet tea are both as Southern as it gets. Sweet tea is an ideal mixer for those who may find bourbon a little on the brazen side. For a refreshing concoction, blend the two with ice until you reach a slushy consistency. Add a splash of lemon to mellow down any sugary sweetness.
Infused Simple Syrups
For an easy way to add personality to your bourbon cocktail, opt for an infused simple syrup. Depending on the taste you hope to achieve, infused simple syrups can run the gamut from jalapeno to strawberry. For bourbon, in particular, berry and peach-based simple syrups work well with the spirit's vanilla and caramel notes.
At about 100 calories per 1.5 oz serving, bourbon is fairly low in calories. Unfortunately, a number of cocktail mixers come loaded with sugar and calories. To keep your bourbon cocktail light, but still tasty, opt for coconut water as a mixer. Add fresh citrus for an added taste of the tropics.
Move over, vodka. Bourbon is now being used in bars and homes across the country to make the Bloody Mary. Similar to the original vodka concoction, the bourbon-based Bloody Mary also calls for tomato juice, lemon juice, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and celery salt. And no Bourbon Bloody Mary is complete without a savory (and usually over-the-top) garnish.
As you know, balsamic vinegar is delicious on everything from salads to roasted pork. But what about cocktails? The flavor profile of balsamic vinegar, which ranges from sweet to tart, makes it an ideal companion for bourbon cocktails. When mixing balsamic vinegar and bourbon, some trial and error may be involved, but the result might just become a new favorite.