Different Ways to Drink Bourbon

What is Best to Mix with Bourbon?

Ever been in a dilemma, staring at that golden liquid in your glass, wondering What is Best to Mix with Bourbon to elevate its taste to legendary status? Let’s cut to the chase. We’re about to embark on a flavor-filled journey, mixing up the bourbon game. Your taste buds won’t know what hit ’em.

And by the end of this read, you’ll be the mix-master among your friends, armed with the secret sauce (or mixers, in this case) to transform any bourbon from good to “Where have you been all my life?” So, let’s dive into the bourbon mixology 101, shall we? It’s time to shake, stir, and sip our way to bourbon bliss.

What is Bourbon?

What is Best to Mix with Bourbon?
Credits to GQ

Bourbon is a type of American whiskey, distinguished by its rich flavor and smooth character. It’s primarily made from corn—at least 51% of its mash bill—along with a mixture of other grains. By law, bourbon must be produced in the United States, aged in new, charred oak barrels, and bottled at 80 proof or higher.

It cannot contain any added flavoring or coloring. The aging process, which must occur for a minimum of two years for straight bourbon, imparts a deep amber color and contributes to its distinctive flavors of vanilla, oak, caramel, and spice. Bourbon’s unique qualities make it a favorite among whiskey enthusiasts and a versatile spirit for cocktails.

What is Best to Mix with Bourbon?
Credits to Keeper’s Heart

Types Of Bourbon

Bourbon encompasses a diverse spectrum of flavors and styles, each rooted in the heritage and craftsmanship of its production. From single barrel to small batch, the varieties offer nuanced experiences that captivate the palate and evoke the spirit of the past.

Single Barrel Bourbon

Imagine bourbon as a solo artist, where each bottle comes from a single barrel, offering a unique flavor profile. Single Barrel Bourbon is the VIP experience of bourbons, with each batch singing a different tune but always hitting those high notes of quality and taste.

Types Of Bourbon Single Barrel Bourbon
Credits to Tasting Table

Small Batch Bourbon

Small Batch Bourbon is like the carefully curated playlist of the bourbon world. Distillers select a handful of barrels to blend together, aiming for a specific flavor profile. This is where craftsmanship meets artistry, resulting in a harmonious blend that’s both consistent and exceptional.

Types Of Old Growth Bourbon Small Batch Bourbons
Credits to Deborah Silver Music

Straight Bourbon:

As a hallmark of authenticity, straight bourbon adheres to stringent aging requirements, ensuring a minimum of two years in new charred oak barrels.

Renowned for its robust character and smooth finish, straight bourbon embodies the timeless craftsmanship and enduring legacy of America’s distilling tradition.

Types Of Old Growth Bourbon Straight Bourbons
Credits to Scotch & Scones

Kentucky Bourbon

Ah, Kentucky Bourbon, the heartthrob of the bourbon world. While bourbon can be made anywhere in the U.S., Kentucky has the fame, the heritage, and the limestone water that many believe adds to the spirit’s distinctive taste. It’s like the bourbon that comes with its own pedigree.

Tennessee Bourbon

Tennessee Bourbon plays by its own rules, notably undergoing the Lincoln County Process, where the spirit is filtered through charcoal before aging. This extra step gives it a smoother, mellower flavor, setting Tennessee Bourbon apart with a distinct character in the bourbon family.

High Rye Bourbon

High Rye Bourbon spices things up with a higher percentage of rye in the mash bill. This type is the life of the party, offering a bolder, spicier flavor that stands out in cocktails or shines bright like a diamond on its own.

Wheated Bourbon

Wheated Bourbon is the smooth operator, swapping rye for wheat in the mash bill. This switcheroo makes for a softer, sweeter bourbon, perfect for those who appreciate a gentler sip. It’s like the comforting hug of the bourbon world.

Each type of bourbon brings its own personality to the table, ready to mix and mingle with a variety of companions. Whether you’re in the mood for something bold and spicy or smooth and sweet, there’s a bourbon out there with your name on it. Let’s explore what to mix with these charmers to elevate your bourbon experience.

What is Best to Mix with Bourbon?

Bourbon Mixing

When bourbon meets the right mixer, it’s like a culinary match made in heaven, where every sip tells a story of flavor harmony. Let’s dive into the top contenders that make bourbon truly sing.

Ginger Ale

Ginger Ale and bourbon? Yes, please! This is like the classic rom-com duo—unexpected yet perfectly matched. The spicy kick of ginger ale dances beautifully with bourbon’s deep flavors, creating a refreshing yet warm concoction that’s hard to beat.


Cola and bourbon are the quintessential American pair, like burgers and fries. The sweetness of cola complements the rich, oaky notes of bourbon, offering a cocktail that’s both familiar and comforting. It’s the go-to for a reason; simple, delicious, and always a crowd-pleaser.


Mixing bourbon with lemonade is like a summer fling—bright, exciting, and oh-so-refreshing. The tangy zest of lemonade cuts through the sweetness of bourbon, creating a drink that’s perfect for sipping on a sunny day or at a backyard BBQ.

Sweet Vermouth

For those who enjoy a bit more complexity, sweet vermouth steps up to the plate. Combine it with bourbon, and you’ve got yourself a Manhattan, a sophisticated cocktail that’s smooth, aromatic, and downright classy. It’s the drink of choice for those moments when you want to feel like the main character in a noir film.

Club Soda

Club Soda is the minimalist’s mixer—a way to lighten up your bourbon without masking its flavor. This combination is all about enhancing the bourbon, adding a fizzy texture and a touch of hydration. It’s the perfect choice for those who appreciate bourbon’s nuances and prefer a cleaner, crisper drinking experience.


Coffee and bourbon? Now we’re talking. This pairing is for the bold at heart, blending the rich, robust flavors of coffee with the warm, caramel notes of bourbon. It’s a match that feels both indulgent and invigorating, perfect for an after-dinner treat or a kick-start to your evening.

Simple Syrup & Bitters

Lastly, the classic duo of simple syrup and bitters with bourbon brings us the Old Fashioned. This combo is about elevating bourbon’s profile with a touch of sweetness and complexity. It’s a timeless cocktail that proves sometimes, simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

Each of these mixers brings out a different side of bourbon, from its bold and spicy notes to its smooth and sweet whispers. Experimenting with these pairings is not just about creating drinks; it’s about discovering new dimensions of flavor and enjoying the journey. So, grab your bourbon, pick your mixer, and let the flavor adventure begin!

Different Ways to Drink Bourbon

Bourbon, with its rich tapestry of flavors, is like the Swiss Army knife of spirits—versatile and ready for any occasion. Here’s how you can enjoy this liquid gold in a variety of styles:

Different Ways to Drink Bourbon
Credits to Tasting Table


For the purists, bourbon neat is the way to go. No ice, no mixers, just bourbon in its purest form, room temperature. This method lets you appreciate the spirit’s full flavor profile, from the deep caramel notes to the spicy rye kick. It’s like reading a book by its author, unedited and uncut.

On the Rocks

If you’re looking to chill your bourbon a bit, “on the rocks” is your move. A few ice cubes in your glass not only cool the bourbon but slightly dilute it, making the flavors more accessible and the drink a bit smoother. It’s like dipping your toes in the pool before diving in.

With a Splash of Water

Adding a splash of water to your bourbon can enhance its flavors, making the drink more aromatic and opening up nuances you might not notice when it’s served neat. It’s akin to watering a plant, helping it to bloom and reveal its true beauty.

In a Cocktail

Bourbon cocktails are where creativity meets tradition. Whether it’s a classic Old Fashioned, a sweet Manhattan, or a refreshing Mint Julep, bourbon serves as a robust foundation for a myriad of cocktail creations. It’s like jazz music—rooted in tradition but open to improvisation.

With a Mixer

For a more casual drink, mixing bourbon with ginger ale, cola, or even lemonade can create a beverage that’s easy to enjoy and perfect for social gatherings. It’s the spirit equivalent of a casual Friday—relaxed, approachable, and still stylish.

In a Flight

A bourbon flight is a great way to explore different types and brands of bourbon side by side. It’s like going on a mini-tour of the bourbon world without leaving your seat. Each sample offers a glimpse into the diverse world of bourbon, from high ryes to wheated varieties.


Infusing bourbon with fruits, spices, or even herbs can add an exciting twist to the spirit. It’s a way to personalize your bourbon experience, creating unique flavor profiles that reflect your own tastes. It’s like giving bourbon a bespoke suit—tailored just for you.

No matter how you prefer to enjoy your bourbon, there’s a style that suits every mood, occasion, and palate. The beauty of bourbon lies in its versatility, so don’t be afraid to experiment and find your favorite way to sip this beloved American spirit.

TIP When Mixing Bourbon: When diving into the art of bourbon mixology, remember: balance is key. Start with less mixer than you think you need—you can always add more, but you can’t take it back. Bourbon’s rich profile should be the star of the show, with the mixer enhancing, not overpowering, its flavors.

Wrapping Up

Bourbon, with its deep roots in American history and its complex flavor profile, stands out as a spirit of remarkable uniqueness and versatility. Whether you’re sipping it neat, on the rocks, or mixed into a sophisticated cocktail, bourbon brings warmth and depth to any drinking experience. We’ve explored various ways to enjoy bourbon and mixers that complement its rich flavors.

Now, it’s your turn to take the plunge. Experiment with the recipes, find your perfect bourbon match, and embrace the joy of discovering new flavors. Remember, the world of bourbon is as vast as it is delicious—each sip a new adventure.


Disclosure: Our blog contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.

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