Wade Cothran | Aug 06, 2020
The 5 Best Bourbon Cocktails for Boozy Summer Nights
Summer’s here! It’s everyone’s favorite season, and the time of year in which the mercury starts rocketing up our thermometers, and in which we start spending more and more time outside, hanging out on patios, catching up with friends, and enjoying life in the open air. As the days start lengthening and becoming warmer and warmer, it’s only natural to begin craving a totally different set of taste sensations to those we enjoy in the colder months - we begin reaching for refreshing, crisp, and revitalizing flavors that cool us off and quench our thirst.
In this sense, there’s something thrillingly contradictory about bourbon and bourbon-based cocktails. This iconic American whiskey is known for its warming qualities and piling on the woozy, spicy, and heady notes that make it such a beloved spirit. However, chuck a couple of carefully-selected mixers into your cocktail shaker along with a shot or two of your favorite Kentucky gold, and it magically becomes the ideal base for a summer evening drink. Its sweetness and syrupy character provide the perfect foundation for layering with zesty, crisp, and deliciously refreshing ingredients.
This week, we’re diving headfirst into the satisfying realm of summer bourbon cocktails. We’ve searched the recipe books, visited the beach bars, and selected five of our all-time favorite summer cocktails, ideal for sharing on those balmy summer evenings. Check them out below, and prepare to become the host with the most!
The Jalapeno Blaster
We get it - sticking the heat of a jalapeno chili into a summer night cocktail might seem a bit counter-intuitive, but have faith: it really is a miracle worker on a hot evening. There’s something just irresistible about using chilies in a bourbon cocktail, and in fact, the subtle heat of these iconic Mexican chilies gives the perfect balance for the sweetness of the whiskey. It’s memorable, unusual, and unique, and it’s guaranteed to become a brand new favorite at all your parties!
- 3 oz watermelon juice
- 1 oz lemon juice
- 1 oz jalapeno simple syrup
- 2 oz bourbon
- Mint leaves
- Candied chilies to garnish
Make your syrup by combining a 50/50 blend of sugar and water, and stir in some chopped jalapenos - the strength really is up to you. Leave the syrup to steep in a fridge for at least an hour.
When it’s time to make your cocktail, add the watermelon juice, lemon juice, jalapeno syrup, a couple of fresh mint leaves, and your whiskey to your shaker. Chuck in plenty of ice, shake vigorously and strain into your favorite BruMate whiskey glass. Finish the drink with a couple of mint leaves and the candied chilies from your syrup as a garnish, and enjoy.
Summer punches are always a big hit at parties, bringing a touch of Caribbean fun. But who says they always have to be rum-based? Any true fan of bourbon whiskey will jump at the chance to tell you that a good quality bourbon can do anything and everything a decent rum can do (and yes, maybe even more besides), and that it’s the ideal ingredient to give your punch a boost of boozy flavor. This simple, straightforward, and beautifully spiced punch is sure to get the party going, and shows off your palate and creativity… what’s not to love?
For the Syrup:
- 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 star anise
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 5 cloves
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
For the Punch:
- 6 oz bourbon
- 3 oz spice syrup
- 2 oz lime juice
- 8 oz club soda
- Lime wedges, for garnish
Make the syrup by combining the ingredients and allowing them to steep for an hour. Strain to remove the whole spices, and set aside.
To mix your punch, stir the ingredients into a pitcher, adding the soda last. Fill your BruMate glasses with ice, pour over the punch, and garnish with a fresh lime wedge. Perfection!
Berry Bourbon Lemonade
There’s no shortage of delicious bourbon lemonade recipes that regularly do the rounds each summer, each with plenty of refreshments to offer. However, we think we’ve found the ultimate one, as this berrylicious lemonade really captures the thirst-quenching flavor of fresh blackberries and lends that unmistakable rich color to the cocktail. The addition of bitters and cardamom also takes the flavor to a whole new level, meaning this cocktail is guaranteed to be a hit with anyone looking for the ultimate flavor combination!
- 6 blackberries
- ½ lemon, juice only
- ½ oz simple syrup
- 2 dashes of bitters
- 2 dashes of ground cardamom
- Plenty of ice
Add the berries to your cocktail shaker, and give them a good mash. Tip in the lemon juice and syrup, followed by the cardamom, bourbon, bitters, and ice. Give it all a good shake, and then carefully pour into your BruMate glass, being sure to get a few lumps of blackberry in there for added flavor!
Thyme for Bourbon
There’s something delightfully sophisticated about this bourbon cocktail for summer, as it combines the best of American whiskey with the thyme and honey flavors that remind us of an English summer garden. Elegant, enticing, and endlessly satisfying, the result is one that is guaranteed to please and show off your mixology skills to the maximum. The best bit? It’s so easy to make!
- 2 oz bourbon
- 2 oz lemon juice
- 2 oz water
- 1 oz honey and thyme syrup
Make the syrup by bringing together ½ cup of water and an equal amount of honey in a small saucepan. As it comes up to a simmer, add about 5 sprigs of fresh thyme to the mix, and cook gently together for a few minutes before allowing to cool right down.
When you’re ready to serve, fill your Brumate glass with ice. Take a cocktail shaker, and add the whiskey, honey and thyme-infused syrup, and the lemon juice and water, add ice, and gently shake. Strain into the glass, and garnish with a lemon wheel and another sprig of fresh thyme for the perfect finish.
Indian Summer Nights
“Indian Summer” is the British name for a summer which starts unusually late and extends long into the autumn months, providing satisfying weather conditions for longer than expected. It’s all about extended pleasure and making the most of what nature provides, and the unexpected surprises we all appreciate when they come along. No wonder, then, that this delicious and surprising cocktail is named after this weather phenomenon, as it’s packed full of delicious flavors that linger in the best possible way.
The great thing about this cocktail is it’s ideal for use with the less-inspiring and cheaper bourbons in your home bar collection. It lifts the sweetness of your whiskey and boosts it with a stunning range of syrupy flavors that blast your taste buds. Wonderful!
- 2 oz bourbon
- ½ oz lemon juice
- ¼ limoncello
- 1 tsp apricot jam
- 10 fresh sage leaves
Chuck all of the ingredients in an ice-filled shaker, and give it a really vigorous shake - you want all that jam to break down and spread itself evenly throughout the liquid, and you need the sage leaves to be well bruised in order to release their flavor.
Double strain the cocktail into a BruMate glass filled with ice, and finish with a sage leaf garnish.
That’s it - five awe-inspiring cocktails to enjoy with your insulated BruMate glass when the sun reaches its peak and warms you right through the evening and into the nighttime. Cheers!