I Never Entertain Without My Mom's Super Simple 5-Step Bourbon Cocktail

bourbon lemonade cocktail
Inti St Clair/Getty Images​

At MyDomaine, we understand the importance of designing a home you love—one that you're proud to live in and proud to show off to friends and family. But even with that intrinsic desire to host, actually entertaining at home can sometimes feel overwhelming and intimidating. 

So, to make opening up your home a little less stressful, we’re sharing the recipes, products, and simple tips that we go back to every time we entertain. Happy hosting!

Growing up outside of Louisville, Kentucky, (pronounced 'loo-ah-vuhl" for anyone who's curious), everyone gets a bourbon education—when they hit legal drinking age, of course. We learned that though bourbon can technically come from anywhere in the United States, the best stuff is made in the Bluegrass state, and that the mint julep is the only drink needed to celebrate that famous horse race on the first Saturday in May. From Bourbon Ball candy to the famous Bourbon Trail, the liquor is definitely ingrained in the culture.

When I eventually moved to New York City, I realized not everyone has the same fondness for bourbon that I do. That is, until they try this cocktail. My clear liquor-imbibing friends who swore they weren't whiskey people love this take on a Bourbon Lemonade every time. It's sweet, but not too sweet, and the maple syrup cuts the bite of the bourbon that can keep the whiskey-wary away. It's the perfect drink to introduce non-bourbon drinkers to the spirit; they can still taste the flavors of the whiskey without feeling the heat of a bourbon neat, and the addition of the blueberries and sprig of thyme make the simple cocktail seem so elevated.

It's the perfect drink to introduce non-bourbon drinkers to the spirit; they can taste the flavors of the whiskey without feeling the heat of a bourbon neat.

It's the staple of my annual Derby party, and one of my go-to cocktails when the weather warms up. Plus it's super easy to make (no shaking or intense measuring required), so it's incredibly simple to whip up at a party while chatting with guests — all hallmarks of an excellent party drink.

My mother adapted this recipe from what was one of our favorite restaurants in Louisville, the now-shuttered Corbett's by chef-owner, Dean Corbett. On the menu, this drink was called The Hayride, and that's still what we call it today. It's not an exact replica, but it certainly gets the job done, and fits in with my mother's model of effortless entertaining. Here's what you need to make your own Hayride.

The Ingredients

  • Ice
  • 2 ounces of Kentucky bourbon whiskey (we like Woodford Reserve or Bulleit)
  • Lemonade
  • 1/2 tsp maple syrup (preferably the good stuff from Vermont)
  • Fresh blueberries
  • Sprig of thyme (optional)


  1. Fill a lowball glass with ice.
  2. Add 2 ounces of bourbon.
  3. Pour in lemonade, making sure to leave a little space by the top of the glass.
  4. Add maple syrup and stir mixture.
  5. To garnish, float a handful of blueberries on top and add a sprig of thyme.

Related Stories