Whiskey is a complex spirit and there are many varieties of whiskey to choose from. But don’t let that keep you from enjoying this incredible drink, especially if you are a new resident on whiskey street. One of the best ways to simplify this complex liquor into a delicious and drinkable cocktail that anyone can enjoy is with the right mixer. Here’s a few things to know about mixing whiskey in a cocktail:
- Whiskey pairs well with sweet drinks
- Whiskey can be mixed in both hot and cold drinks
- Drinks like Irish coffee can be enjoyed morning or night
- Different cocktails call for different types of whiskey
Most whiskey has a discernible bite, accompanied by caramel and vanilla tasting notes. These characteristics pair well with sweet, sugary drinks. The sweetness helps to remove the bite and enhance the sweet notes within the whiskey.
Whiskey is also one of the few spirits that can be used in both hot and cold drinks. It doesn’t matter if you’re bundled up inside on a cold winter evening or at a backyard BBQ on a hot summer day, there is a whiskey mixer for every season.
Different whiskey cocktails call for specific types of whiskey. If you’re going to mix in some vermouth, go with a rye whiskey. Drinks like Irish or Kentucky mules call for that variety of whiskey to make them properly. That being said, don’t be scared to experiment. Like Bob Ross said “there are no mistakes here, only happy accidents.”
Below you’ll find our recommendations for the best whiskey mixers to create delicious whiskey cocktails for any occasion:
1. Coca Cola
Perhaps the most recognizable and easy to make whiskey cocktail is a Jack and Coke. In a pinch, you can stroll over to the nearest bodega and pick up a can of coke, or find the vending machine in your hotel and snag a coke for around a dollar. The sweetness blends in nicely to mask the bite of whiskey. And the carbonation burns oh so good. Just because it’s simple to make and popular doesn’t mean it’s not refreshing and delicious. Trust us, it is.
2. Ginger Ale
Almost equally as abundant as Coca Cola, you can find ginger ale just about anywhere, and all it takes is ginger ale, ice and whiskey to make a delicious cocktail. Add a little lime and you’re really set. If you aren’t a Coca Cola kind of person, give a whiskey ginger a try. The carbonation adds a little of that satisfying burn, while the sweetness does wonders to mellow out the bite of whiskey.
Canada Dry Ginger Ale
On a hot summer day, there are few whiskey cocktails as refreshing as adding a little whiskey to your lemonade. And if you feel like classing the joint up a little bit, add some fresh berries (whatever your flavor) into the mix. It’s a little sweet, a little tart, a little boozy, and completely refreshing.
4. Club Soda
If the above three options are too sweet for your palette, try club soda for your whiskey mixer. It will water down your whiskey a bit, but there isn’t any sweetness to mask the whiskey flavor. Toss in a lime with your club soda and whiskey to make it a little more refreshing. Club soda makes whiskey a little more drinkable, but maintains all the whiskey bite.
5. Sweet Vermouth
Mix your alcohol with more alcohol — why not? Sweet vermouth is a fortified wine which can have some pretty complex flavorings, much like whiskey. This combination is the basic workings of a Manhattan, that is, if your whiskey is of the rye variety. Sweet vermouth is a linchpin in a handful of whiskey cocktails and is a versatile mixer to have in your arsenal.
If you’ve never had an Irish coffee for dessert, you’re missing out. Or you can pour a little nipper into your morning cup of joe on a chilly morning out camping to get nice and loose for your day in the wilderness. Good both hot or cold and in the morning or evening, coffee and whiskey downright complement one another.
Black Rifle Coffee
7. Apple Cider
Apple cider and whiskey can be delicious when served hot on a cold nights, or refreshing when cold on those hot summer days. The earthy, caramelly tones from the whiskey compliment the sweetness of the cider and really make the bite of the whiskey vanish. Add a cinnamon stick to your cocktail for extra spicy goodness.
Mountain Cider Apple Citer
8. Ginger Beer
All mules don’t need to be from Moscow. Try a Kentucky or Irish mule instead. Replace vodka with your favorite Kentucky Bourbon or Irish whiskey for a spicy, sweet and smooth cocktail. Be sure to have copper mugs on hand — it’s the best way to enjoy a mule, whether from Moscow, Kentucky or Ireland.
Fever Tree Ginger Beer
9. Hot Tea
Your grandpa made it through the Spanish flu, polio and tuberculosis, and you know how? Hot tea and whiskey (probably). When you’re feeling a bit under the weather, a little whiskey in your hot tea will help (or at least make you forget you’re sick for a couple hours). Toss in a lemon wedge to make the simpleton version of a hot toddy.
Numi Earl Gray Tea
10. Maple Syrup
When you like your whiskey on the rocks, try adding a few drops of maple syrup in your glass. Many whiskeys have caramel and vanilla notes in them. This blends well with the sweetness of maple syrup. Add a lemon wedge into the mix to brighten up your whiskey cocktail.