It’s everyone’s favourite time of year, when the mercury rises, and we start spending our afternoons and balmy evenings lazing around on terraces, catching up with friends both new and old, and enjoying life to the full. As the days grow longer and the weather grows warmer, we start craving a totally different set of drinking experience to those we typically enjoy in the colder months – a more refreshing, revitalising, and crisp set of flavours, which quench the thirst and cool the blood.
There’s something wonderfully contradictory about Bourbon in this sense. On the one hand, this great American spirit is beautifully warming, piling on the spicy notes and woozy, heady heat of quality whiskey. On the other, with a couple of cleverly-selected mixers and a bit of cocktail know-how, it becomes the perfect base for a summer night long drink, its sweeter notes providing the perfect foundation on which to build up fruity and crisp, zesty flavours.
In this week’s blog, we’ve picked out five of our all-time favourite summer Bourbon cocktails, which are perfect for making when the sun is blazing or the humidity of the summer nights calls out for something cooling, refreshing, and utterly delicious. Check them out below, and enjoy!
OK – this one might seem a little strange for a summer night cocktail, but trust us: it really works. There’s something thrilling about using chillies in a Bourbon long drink, and actually, the gentle heat of these Mexican treats is the perfect garnish for the sweetness and unctuousness of the whiskey. Unusual, memorable, and unique, it’s destined to become a new favourite!
Kick things off by making a jalapeno sugar syrup. Do this by making a simple syrup of 50/50 sugar and water, and stirring in some chopped chillies before leaving them to steep in the fridge for an hour.
Take your cocktail shaker, and add the watermelon juice, lemon juice, jalapeno syrup, a couple of mint leaves, and the whiskey. Shake with plenty of ice, and strain into an Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with mint leaves and a couple of the candied chillies from your syrup mix. Delicious!
Bourbon 5-Spice Punch
Who says that summer punches have to be rum-based? Ask any true fan of Kentucky’s finest, and they’ll jump at the chance to tell you that a good Bourbon can do everything a rum can (and perhaps even more), especially when mixed into a quality punch that’s made to bring out the very best in the whiskey. This simple and spicy punch recipe is guaranteed to get the party started, and really ups the ante when it comes to creativity… so be sure to mix it up for your next garden gathering!
For the Spice Syrup
For the Punch
In a pitcher, stir together the ingredients for the punch, adding the club soda last. Fill long glasses with ice, and pour the punch over the top before garnishing with lime.
Blackberry Bourbon Lemonade
There are dozens upon dozens of great Bourbon lemonade recipes out there, each with their own distinct twist on the classic. However, we reckon this one might just be the best for a blazing summer’s day, as the richness and juiciness of blackberries really adds a thirst-quenching dimension as well as a beautifully tempting colour. What’s more, the addition of cardamom and bitters takes the aromatic aspect to a whole new level!
Add the blackberries to a martini shaker, and mash. Add the lemon juice, simple syrup, cardamom, bitters, bourbon, and ice.
Shake well. Add ice to a highball glass, and pour the cocktail in, being sure to get some lumps of berries into the glass.
It’s Bourbon Thyme!
There’s something wonderfully sophisticated about this summer Bourbon cocktail, with its delicate infusion of thyme and honey. It brings to mind English summer garden parties (although hopefully the weather where you are is considerably better than it is in the UK), and the kind of elegance that only fresh herbs can provide. The best part? It’s incredibly simple to make, and it’s guaranteed to impress!
Make your honey and thyme syrup by combing ½ cup of water and ½ cup of honey in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, and add 5 thyme sprigs to the syrup. Simmer gently for 5 minutes, and allow to cool.
Fill a cocktail glass with crushed ice.
Combine the Bourbon, lemon juice, honey and thyme syrup, and water in a cocktail shaker with ice, and gently shake. Strain into your glass, and garnish with another thyme sprig and a lemon wheel.
An Indian summer is what the Brits call a summer that starts and ends later than usual, stretching those hot months out towards the latter end of the year. It’s all about extended pleasure and unexpected surprises… which is perhaps where this cocktail gets its name from. This beautifully elegant and refreshing cocktail really makes the most of even the more uninspiring Bourbons you might find at the back of your liquor cabinet, lifting the sweetness of the whiskey and intensifying it with a range of sticky, syrupy flavours that taste like a Mediterranean holiday. Perfection!
Place all of the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously (you want that jam to break up and spread evenly throughout the cocktail, and the sage leaves to be nicely bruised).
Double-strain into a glass with ice, and garnish with another sage leaf.
There you have it: five tempting Bourbon cocktails that simply have to be tried this summer! Refreshing, delicious, and packed full of character, they’re guaranteed to make the hotter months of the year more memorable and enjoyable than ever.