Food & Drinks

9 of the Best Summer Bourbon Cocktails

The return of summer brings with it the onset of hot and humid temperatures, leaving many in search of the perfect drinks to cool them off after a day in the sun. While bourbon may have a reputation as a liquor that will warm you up, the rich flavors of the spirit pair perfectly with several summertime flavors like berries, peaches, and mint.

If you’re a bourbon lover looking for new ways to cool off with the spirit this summer, here are nine summer bourbon cocktails to get you started.

Blackberry Bourbon Sour

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Summertime means many fruits are back in season, and through July and August, blackberries reign supreme. The Blackberry Bourbon Sour blends the sweetness of blackberries and the zippiness of lime juice with bourbon for a flavor reminiscent of berry pies — perfect for sipping on a summer afternoon.

The Southern Jam

The Southern Jam is one of the best summer bourbon cocktails.

As bourbon is a staple in the American South, it’s only right that the spirit be paired with another southern staple: jam. This cocktail allows room for experimentation as any of your favorite berry jams will work, but for this recipe, we recommend raspberry. Simply combine bourbon, lemon juice, raspberries, and raspberry jam into a shaker, mix, and serve over ice for a refreshing and sweet summer cocktail.

Strawberry and Maple Brown Derby

The Strawberry and Maple Brown Derby is one of the best summer bourbon cocktails.

A riff on the Brown Derby, the Strawberry and Maple Brown Derby swaps out honey for maple syrup and adds strawberries for extra sweetness and an added fruit flavor. These flavors, combined with bourbon and grapefruit juice, are perfect for cooling down after a day in the sun.

The Southern Knight

The Southern Knight is one of the best summer bourbon cocktails.

A mouthwatering mix of bourbon, lemon juice, strawberry syrup, and ginger beer, the Southern Knight is a light and balanced cocktail perfect for enjoying at any summer happy hour.

Bourbon Peach Punch

The Bourbon Peach Punch is one of the best summer bourbon cocktails.

Summer indicates the return of outdoor hosting, and the Bourbon Peach Punch is a great cocktail to make for your guests all season long. A blend of bourbon, pineapple juice, lemon juice, and peach slices, this cocktail’s tropical fruit flavors are perfect for imbibing on long summer nights.

Mint Julep

The Mint Julep is one of the best summer bourbon cocktails.

While the Mint Julep is the official drink of the Kentucky Derby, the refreshing cocktail is perfect for sipping even weeks after the race has passed. A low-fuss combination of bourbon, simple syrup, and mint, the Mint Julep is best served in its iconic copper mug.

Kentucky Mule

The Kentucky Mule is one of the best summer bourbon cocktails.

If your friends are drinking Moscow Mules but vodka isn’t your spirit of choice, the Kentucky Mule might be the perfect rendition for you. Simply swap vodka for bourbon and add freshly squeezed lime juice and ginger beer for an effervescent cocktail perfect for beating the heat.

Gold Rush

The Gold Rush is one of the best summer bourbon cocktails.

Widely considered a modern classic, the Gold Rush combines bourbon, lemon juice, and honey syrup for a cocktail that’s equal parts sweet and sour. With a golden hue, the Gold Rush is sunshiney and delicious, the perfect antidote for sweltering temperatures.

Paper Plane

The Paper Plane is one of the best summer bourbon cocktails.

Created by NYC mixologist Sam Ross and inspired by the M.I.A. song “Paper Planes,” this cocktail is a perfect summer sip for bourbon and Aperol lovers alike. Featuring bourbon, Aperol, Amaro Nonino, and lime juice, the Paper Plane is a refreshing and delicious summer sip.

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