The clock strikes 10 P.M., and the only thing on your mind after a long, arduous day is that rewarding nightcap, a cocktail best savored in the wee hours. If your day has already been quite the whirlwind, the last thing you want to do is slave over a cocktail as you unwind. Thankfully, there are an ample number of whiskey cocktails that are a breeze to make. The cocktails ahead are made using only a handful of ingredients and are easy in technique, making them ideal for nightcap sipping.
Here are our picks for the best whiskey cocktails to enjoy after hours.
Red Moon Over Manhattan
The Recipe: Red Moon Over Manhattan
The Hero Ingredient: You can't help but love a unique twist and this sip, which is a spin on the classic Manhattan, boasts just that with the addition of red wine.
Pro Tip: In addition to being great for gatherings, Sugar & Charm's Eden Passante reveals that her Red Moon Over Manhattan is also low on calories. "This tasty cocktail is so quick to make it’s great for serving your guests at a gathering. It is fairly low in calories, coming in at less than 150 calories a drink, so win win," she says.
Why We Love It: Although this cocktail is a remixed version of the Manhattan, it doesn't stray too far from the basics of this classic drink.
The Recipe: Whiskey Dreamsicle Cocktail
The Hero Ingredient: Crown Royal Vanilla Flavored Whisky, which is one of the Canadian brand's flavored spirits, adds a dessert-y spin to this sip.
Pro Tip: To pretty up your cocktail, Ashley Rose of Sugar & Cloth recommends using a coupe glass and garnishing your drink with edible flowers. "Pour into a glass over ice (or in a coupe for extra girly flair like we did!) and garnish with edible flowers," she says.
Why We Love It: You can't help but love it when a treat from your childhood can be turned into an adults-only, boozier version. In addition to being super easy to make, the Whiskey Dreamsicle Cocktail is brimming with nostalgia.
The Recipe: Manhattan
The Hero Ingredient: Sweet vermouth is a great addition to the Manhattan, given that the amount used can dictate how sweet your cocktail is.
Pro Tip: For added flavor, Sugar & Charm's Eden Passante suggests rubbing an orange slice around the rim of the glass.
Why We Love It: Classic cocktails like the Manhattan are classic for a reason. They've stood the test of time, and are just as delicious now as they were years ago.
Rosemary Ginger Whiskey Sour
The Recipe: Rosemary Ginger Whiskey Sour
The Hero Ingredient: Many variations of the whiskey sour exist, but the Rosemary Ginger Whiskey Sour is certainly one of few that deliciously calls for fresh grated ginger.
Pro Tip: In addition to being delicious, Pickled Plum's Caroline Phelps shares that this drink can also be somewhat healthy. "For my version I’ve added freshly grated ginger and rosemary to bump up the taste level and make it more fancy looking," she says. "It also tasted healthier and more refreshing, which I always love."
Why We Love It: Fresh lemon juice and fresh ginger are an extremely tasty duo in this take on the whiskey sour.
The Recipe: Classic Mint Julep
The Hero Ingredient: As its name indicates, mint is the ingredient that takes the mint julep to refreshing levels of minty flavor.
Pro Tip: Rather than making your own simple syrup, The Modern Proper reveals that you can buy pre-made simple syrup to save some time. "In a hurry? Skip making simple syrup at home and buy the pre-made stuff instead," she writes.
Why We Love It: Although the mint julep is synonymous with the glitz of the Kentucky Derby, it's a surprisingly easy cocktail to make, given that it only calls for four ingredients.
Rose + Rosé Bourbon Cocktail
The Recipe: Rose + Rosé Bourbon Cocktail
The Hero Ingredient: Not only is rose syrup a tasty addition to this bourbon-based drink, it can be purchased in store, making an easy cocktail even easier to make.
Pro Tip: Hello Glow's Stephanie Gerber offers this tip for a less acidic cocktail: "If you want a slightly less acidic cocktail, use a couple small segments of grapefruit peel rather than the slices for the garnish. The peel will impart the oils of the fruit without adding to the drink’s acidity."
Why We Love It: Rosé wine and whiskey are two drinks one wouldn't usually consider combining, but creativity certainly pays off with this cocktail.
The Recipe: Snickerdoodle Martini
The Hero Ingredient: The addition of Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey to this three-ingredient martini gives it a welcome sweet and spicy kick.
Pro Tip: Taylor Kiser of Food Faith Fitness suggests dipping an actual snickerdoodle cookie in your Snickerdoodle Martini. "Maybe you could dip a snickerdoodle into the snickerdoodle martini to overcome the liquid aspect," she says.
Why We Love It: If you're looking for a nightcap that's equal parts cocktail and dessert, the Snickerdoodle Martini is a perfect option.
Glasgow Hot Toddy
The Recipe: Glasgow Hot Toddy
The Hero Ingredient: Scotch whisky creates a hot toddy that's invitingly on the smoky side, in regards to flavor.
Pro Tip: Boulder Locavore's Toni Dash reveals that the Glasgow Hot Toddy is a fitting drink for a number of occasions. "Whether taking the edge off a winter cold or taking the edge off a chilly day, a Glasgow Hot Toddy is a what you want to be sipping," she says.
Why We Love It: In addition to being a great cocktail for unwinding, a hot toddy is also a great nightcap option if you're feeling a little under the weather.
Authentic Irish Coffee
The Recipe: Authentic Irish Coffee
The Hero Ingredient: The inclusion of heavy whipping cream adds a layer of decadence to this coffee-based cocktail.
If you're enjoying this beverage in the evening, we suggest using decaf coffee.
Pro Tip: Toni Dash of Boulder Locavore provides a detailed explanation on how you can float the cream on top of your Irish coffee. "Turn a small dining spoon upside down and holding it at a 45 degree angle with the tip of the spoon touching the glass just above the surface of the cocktail, slowly pour the cream onto the back of the spoon allowing it to flow over the sides of the spoon float on top," she says.
Why We Love It: A boozy step up from your nightly cup of joe, this recipe only calls for three extra ingredients.
The Recipe: Whiskey Smash
The Hero Ingredient: While simple syrup can be used in this cocktail, the use of maple syrup provides a worthy sweetener for the Whiskey Smash.
Pro Tip: A Couple Cooks reveal that using a muddler quickens the process. "Using a muddler to muddle the lemon and mint releases their oils and juices, without having to spend time squeezing out lemon juice with a juicer," says the couple.
Why We Love It: With ingredients like lemon, mint and maple syrup, the Whiskey Smash is sweet, tart and refreshing.