Essential Cocktail Recipes: 30 Best Whiskey Drinks

Best Whiskey Drinks
For the most part, we prefer to drink our whiskey neat. Whether it be our favorite single malt Scotch, or a good ‘ole American Kentucky bourbon. Pour a finger’s width or two of pretty much anything good, and we’re happy campers. There are times however when we like to get a bit creative with our booze. You know, a nice whiskey cocktail.

Thanks to the popularity of shows like Mad Men (thank you Don Draper), the popularity of classic whiskey cocktails has made a huge resurgence in bars, making it much easier to get a good Old Fashioned at some of our local spots here in San Diego. This surge in popularity has also led to a lot great iterations on some classic whiskey drinks, and we all for progression and creativity. The drawback is that there are still a lot bad drinks out there, and herein lies the problem. How do you go about finding the best whiskey drink recipes on the web?

Well that’s where we come in. We’ve been drinking the stuff for years, and have taken on the daunting task of drinking countless whiskey cocktails to find the best ones. So let’s get to it. We’ve got everything from the classics, to the new school concoctions. Below are the 30 best whiskey drinks – in no particular order.

Old Fashioned

1. Old Fashioned

We won’t waste any time getting to our favorite cocktail, the Old Fashioned. The original recipe dates all the way back to the 1800s, and while it has been changed up a number of times (with many bartenders not actually knowing how to make it) we prefer this particular recipe. Use an orange peel (not a wedge), you’ll thank us later. [View Recipe]

Coke Peanuts and Whiskey 1

2. Coke, Peanuts, and Whiskey

The aptly titled whiskey cocktail takes on the delicious pairing of roasted peanuts with ice-cold Coca-Cola, and adds some Jack Daniel’s to the mix. [View Recipe]

Rob Roy

3. Rob Roy

Created back in 1894 by a bartender at the Waldorf Astoria New York, this drink has gone on to become iconic on the cocktail scene. Celebrating the premiere of the operetta with the same name, you can’t go wrong with any variation of this whiskey drink. [View Recipe]

Hot Blooded

4. Hot Blooded

What original started simply as the Jalapeno, Blood Orange and Whiskey cocktail was recently renamed to Hot Blooded. If you’re looking for a bit of spice in your drink, this is a great choice. [View Recipe]

Mint Julep

5. Mint Julep

Anyone who keeps up with the Kentucky Derby has at least heard of one of these. It’s the traditional drink of the massive sporting event, with nearly 80,000 being served up each year. It takes only 3 minutes to craft, and it’s the perfect way to beat the heat. [View Recipe]

Sea Captains Special

6. Sea Captain’s Special

The first cocktail dedicated to rye whiskey, this bitter-sour concoction includes bitters, pastis, and is topped off with some champagne. [View Recipe]


7. Suburban

Another classic, this drink is said to date all the way back to 1875. Typically (although not always) served up in a traditional cocktail glass, the Suburban blends rye whiskey with dark rum and port, and is finished off with a dash of Angostura bitters. [View Recipe]

Smoke Signals

8. Smoke Signals

When you’re really looking to knock the socks off of your house guests, this is the go-to. Created in Portland, Oregon, this whiskey drink includes a mixture of pecans, sugar, lemon juice, and is topped off with carved ice chunks. [View Recipe]


9. Sazerac

Right behind the Old Fashioned, this bad boy is our second favorite whiskey cocktail. First created in New Orleans circa 1850, this delicious cocktail includes rye whiskey, bitters, simple syrup (or sugar cube), absinthe, and a lemon peel as a finishing garnish. [View Recipe]

Penicillin Cocktail

10. Penicillin

This cocktail is a great way to start whiskey enthusiasts on the path to drinking their single malt neat. It includes 2 ounces of a blended scotch, fresh lemon juice, ginger syrup, honey, and a splash of Laphroaig (oh how we love peat) – providing a nice smokey finish. [View Recipe]

Irish Coffee

11. Irish Coffee

When you’re looking for the ideal whiskey drink to heat you up during a cool summer night, this is the go-to. Made with Irish whiskey (as indicated by the name) along with coffee, sugar and heavy cream, this is a great dessert choice for whiskey drinkers. [View Recipe]

Manhattan Cocktail

12. Manhattan

Blending rye whiskey with sweet vermouth and Angostura bitters in an ice filled cocktail glass, the Manhattan is as classic as they come. [View Recipe]

Bourbon Sweet Tea

13. Bourbon Sweet Tea

Forget the Arnold Palmer, this is the way to enjoy a hard tea. And pouring it into a mason jar to drink from? The ultimate finishing touch. [View Recipe]

Remember The Maine

14. Remember The Maine

This is a classic cocktail that most have forgotten about, but has managed to stay relevant among whiskey cocktail enthusiasts – and for good reason. Featured in Charles H. Baker Jr.s 1939 book ‘The Gentleman’s Companion,’ this old school cocktail blends rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, cherry brandy and absinthe. [View Recipe]

Manhattan cocktail garnished with a cherry and lemon

15. Brain-Duster

With a name like Brain-Duster, how could this thing not be good? Think of the previously mentioned Remember The Maine, but skip the cherry brandy. [View Recipe]

Tom and Jerry Cocktail

16. Tom and Jerry

There is literally no better holiday drink than this – whiskey or other. This classic Christmas cocktail was created all the way back in the early 19th century, and is very addictive. You can even make a batch for the kids – skip the alcohol of course. Beats the hell out of egg nog. [View Recipe]

Whiskey Sour

17. Whiskey Sour

Simple, yet tasty. This classic cocktail blends a shot of bourbon with lemon juice and simple syrup, served on the rocks, and topped off with a lemon wedge. [View Recipe]

Seven and Seven Cocktail

18. Seven and Seven

With many of the other whiskey drinks on the list, you can choose the brand of whiskey. That’s not the case with this cocktail. The recipe specifically calls for Seagram’s 7 whiskey mixed with 7-up, and finished off with a lemon wedge for garnish. [View Recipe]

Sriracha Hot Toddy

19. Sriracha Hot Toddy

You didn’t think we could put together an entire list of the best whiskey drinks without including something with Sriracha hot sauce in it did you? We love this stuff too much, and we just had to experiment. Take all the ingredients of a Hot Toddy – whiskey, honey, ginger, lemon, and add some Sriracha. Now that’s what we’re talking about. [View Recipe]


20. Presbyterian

If you liked the Seven and Seven, this cocktail is right up your alley. Pour 2 ounces of Scotch into a glass with 4 ounces of ginger ale, and you’re ready to roll. [View Recipe]

Rusty Nail Cocktail

21. Rusty Nail

This drink has gotten a bit of a bad rap over the years – being labeled as an old man’s drink, but we respectfully disagree. The mixture of Scotch and Drambuie tastes great together, and the dash of Angsotura bitters is a nice finishing touch. [View Recipe]

John Collins

22. John Collins

Basically a tall version of the previously featured Whiskey Sour. Made with 1.5 ounces of bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup, club soda, and both a Maraschino cherry and orange slice for garnish. [View Recipe]

Suffering Bastard

23. Suffering Bastard

How could you go wrong with a whiskey drink called the Suffering Bastard? The answer is, you can’t. There are some variations of the this drink (a Mai tai version that calls for rum), but we prefer this recipe of bourbon, gin and ginger ale. [View Recipe]

Blood and Sand Cocktail

24. Blood and Sand

Yet another classic, this Scotch based cocktail was invented all the way back in 1922, and was named after the Rudolph Valentino move with the same name. The recipe mixes Scotch whisky, Rosso vermouth, cherry brandy and orange juice. [View Recipe]

The Revolver Cocktail

25. The Revolver

To be honest, we weren’t really sure to expect from a recipe that called for a half ounce of coffee liquor, but the mixture of Buffalo Trace and Kahlua was actually quite good. [View Recipe]

Spiced Bourbon Cider

26. Spiced Bourbon Cider

Hard cider has definitely seen a surge in popularity as of late, and this is by far the best way to enjoy a glass of alcoholic cider. Add bourbon, ground cloves, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon sticks, bitters, and maple syrup to your apple cider, and you’ve got yourself a beverage. [View Recipe]

The Irish Redhead

27. The Irish Redhead

This one’s pretty easy to guess the ingredients right from the title. Made with 3 ounces of Jameson Irish Whiskey, an ounce of Grenadine, and 6 ounces of sprite, it’s the perfect way to settle that uneasy stomach. We’re kidding. Sort of. [View Recipe]

Glasgow Cocktail

28. Glasgow Cocktail

If you’re partial to the spicy-bitter taste, then the Glasgow is for you. After you fill up your mixing glass with ice cubes, add Scotch whisky, dry vermouth, bitters and pasties, pour the mixture into a cocktail glass and enjoy. [View Recipe]

The Brooklyn Cocktail

29. The Brooklyn Cocktail

It may not be as famous as its neighbor (the Manhattan), but that hasn’t stopped the Brooklyn from becoming one of our favorite whiskey drinks. This recipe calls for 2 ounces of rye whiskey, dry vermouth, Maraschino liqueur, and AmerPicon. [View Recipe]

Bacon Bourbon and Hazelnut Hot Chocolate

30. Bacon, Bourbon, and Hazelnut Hot Chocolate

A “best of” list is not complete without including the greatest food known to man – bacon. The perfect way to enjoy those cold winter evenings, this is a recipe for success. [View Recipe]