Best Summer Bourbon Cocktails

Settle into the Shade with a Good Glass of Bourbon

Typically served with ice, bourbon can be a delicious drink to help you beat the summer heat and cool off with friends. This particular spirit is primarily made from corn and is aged in a barrel to help it gain rich, rewarding flavor as it ages. Bourbon’s roots can be traced back to the 1820s in the United States.

In fact, it is the United States’ only native spirit and was first created in the state of Kentucky (and bourbon is still widely enjoyed in cocktails during the Kentucky Derby). Thanks to its long and rich history, bourbon is still a popular drink today both on its own and as a mixer in cocktails.

Although bourbon is a strong drink, it has sweet flavors that create a really rich taste. Most bourbon has hints of vanilla and caramel; depending on the barrel used to age it, bourbon can also have notes of maple or other earthy tones. Bourbon’s rich amber color can make for some beautiful cocktails that look perfect sitting poolside.

It has just enough bite to get you going, but mingles well with fruits or other refreshing mixers. We’ve found quite a few bourbon cocktail recipes that are perfect to help you cool down this summer. Remember this list next time you are making drinks for a pool party or looking for a way to beat the heat.

Blackberry Bourbon Lemonade2 oz Bourbon, 2 oz Lemon Juice, 1 oz Blackberry Puree, 1 oz Simple Syrup, Bitters, Sparkling Wine, Mint, Blackberries, Lemon Slices

This cocktail is reminiscent of childhood summers spent with a basket in hand and fists full of fresh berries. It’s perfectly refreshing after a long day of work (or sweating away under the summer sun) and has the perfect balance of alcohol and sweet fruit. Whip up a pitcher to share with friends or create a single serving to be sipped from a chilled mason jar. To create this drink:

  • Make sure to strain the blackberry puree, then mix with bourbon, lemon juice, and ice
  • Add a dash of bitters and mix well
  • Top the drink with a dash of sparkling wine
  • Garnish your glass with a sprig of mint
  • Float the blackberries and lemon slices in the drink, then serve

Floral Old Fashioned 2 oz Bourbon, 1/2 oz Chamomile Syrup, Bitters, Edible Flowers, Lemon Twist, 1/4 cup Sugar, 1 tbsp Dried Chamomile Flowers

This recipe calls for chamomile syrup, so we’ve also included directions for crafting that syrup in addition to the cocktail recipe. This old fashioned is both visually appealing and delicious, thanks to the addition of the chamomile. It’s perfect for a luau-themed party thanks to the addition of the flowers, but it can also be enjoyed out on the deck. To create this drink:

  • Begin by creating the syrup. Combine sugar, dried chamomile, and 1/4 cup of water in a saucepan over medium-heat
  • Stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves, then allow to cool before straining
  • To create the cocktail, combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice and mix thoroughly
  • Pour drink over ice and garnish with edible flowers and lemon twist, then serve

Mint Julep2 oz Bourbon, 1/4 oz Simple Syrup, Bitters, Mint

Perhaps the most popular bourbon cocktail, the mint julep is as delicious as it is refreshing on a hot summer day. Although you can add other flavored syrups, we’ve decided to bring you a traditional mint julep recipe that will be sure to wow. This drink is easy to create, so its perfect for whipping up a few servings to share with friends. To create this drink:

  • Muddle 8 mint leaves and simple syrup in a glass
  • Add in bourbon and ice
  • Stir until well-mixed
  • Top with crushed ice, dash of bitters, and mint spring, then serve

Old Pal1 oz Bourbon, 1 oz Campari, 1 oz Dry Vermouth, Lemon Twist

This drink is perfect for a single serving, combining the bite or bourbon with the fruity Campari and sweet vermouth. It is a twist on a classic Negroni and dates back to the 1920s, though it’s become more popular in recent times. Although the recipe is for one drink, you could whip up two and share with a close friend to get a break from the summer heat. To create this drink:

  • Mix all liquid ingredients in a shaker filled with ice
  • Strain into glass and garnish with lemon twist, then serve

Lemon Bourbon Thyme Cocktail2 oz Bourbon, 1/3 cup Maple Syrup, 1/3 cup Lemon Juice, 1 tbsp Thyme, 1 tsp Lemon Extract, Lemon Wedge

Combining rich bourbon with tangy lemon and refreshing thyme, this drink is sure to best the heat and help you relax. Its flavor is crisp and sure to wake up your palette, but still smooth and delicious. Plus it looks so professional, you’ll be able to snap a quick pic to gain Instagram flair. You will need to create the simple syrup used so it may be best to think ahead when preparing this drink. To create this drink:

  • Begin creating the simple syrup by combining the maple syrup, lemon juice, and thyme in a saucepan
  • Heat to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes
  • Remove from heat and cool, then strain and add lemon extract
  • Make the cocktail by combining bourbon with the simple syrup in a shaker with ice
  • Mix vigorously and pour over ice before garnishing with a lemon wedge, then serve

When your friends all decide to spend a day at the pool or a particularly bad heat wave hits, pull up this list and whip up a quick bourbon cocktail to combat the heat. Each of these drinks is delicious and perfect for summer. You could even go really crazy and mix up a batch of each, then throw a late night pool party with friends to enjoy a sip of each cocktail.

Just remember: summer means heat and heat means dehydration, so make sure to take sips of water along with your bourbon cocktail. We know you will love each of these delicious drinks, so go ahead and pick one favorite to start re-creating!