Whiskey Cocktail Recipes


Whiskey is wonderful for so many reasons. Most of them are obvious: superior flavor and quality borne through centuries of tradition and with decades of patience. All too often overlooked, however, is its versatility as a liquid. Sometimes we get so precious with our beloved spirit that we blind ourselves to the fact that whiskey goes great in a cocktail. In fact, an argument could be made for its placement atop the cocktail spirit pyramid. 

And you don’t have to be some sort of mustachioed mixologist in order to prove the point. If you’re just starting to explore this space, the gratification ought to be instant. Because it’s all too easy to make some of the most classic whiskey cocktails at home. American whiskies—bourbon and rye—are worked effortlessly into arrangements such as the Old Fashioned or the Manhattan. For the former you need nothing more than water, spirit sugar, and a dash of bitters! For the latter it requires a proper rye and a sweet red vermouth. For either, you can substitute any style of whiskey you prefer: Irish, scotch (better known as a Rob Roy), Japanese, Canadian…You will still come away with something sensational. Or you can just grab the absinth and assemble a Sazerac. 

There are, of course, plenty of tipples built specifically to showcase Irish Whiskey. Bartenders have plenty of time to perfect them. Long before Scotch was even known as a category, the Emerald Isle was home to the world’s most popular category of brown spirit. Today, we’re seeing a return to those glory days, as Irish Whiskey enjoys an unprecedented period of growth. Its stature is rising, and so is its positioning on the back bar—towards the top shelf. Indeed, there are countless examples of high end, super premium Irish spirit that should be sipped neat to start. 

Just don’t forget to explore the cocktails, is all we’re saying. Since Ireland is home to myriad styles of whiskey, including single malt, single grain, pot still and blended, it remains the most versatile mixer of them all! The Whiskey Ginger—aka the Irish Buck—comes from these rolling green hills. The Tipperary is a more elegant arrangement incorporating Chartreuse and vermouth. The Irish Blonde was conceived by the cocktail legend himself, Dale Degroff. It combines the most accessible Irish whiskey you can find with orange curaçao and fino sherry. Even more elaborate is the Psycho Killer, a five ingredient favorite that requires Campari, creme de cacao and Banana liqueur. 

And we haven’t even gotten to the Irish Coffee—a drink so universally beloved it’s basically a category onto itself. We could clearly go on all day. But you’ve got some drinks to make. And we’ve got some recipes to share. Here are three absolute essentials, ranging in difficulty from easy to expert. 

Irish Coffee recipe:

1 1/2 ounces Irish whiskey

Top with hot brewed coffee

2 teaspoons brown sugar

Garnish: whipped cream

Steps

Prepare the mug by filling with hot water for 2 minutes. Let sit, then discard water. 

Add whiskey and sugar to the heated glass, fill with coffee and stir. 

Top with an inch of unsweetened lightly whipped cream.

Irish Manhattan recipe: 

50 ml Blended Irish Whiskey

15ml Sweet Vermouth

5ml Maraschino (cherry) Liqueur 

Dash of Angostura Bitters

Maraschino Cherry

Fresh orange

Steps

Stir whiskey with vermouth, maraschino liqueur and Angostura over ice.

Strain and pour into a chilled coupe class.

Zest an orange twist over the drink and drop into glass. 

Garnish with Maraschino cherry. 

Irish Lady recipe: 

1½ ounces Irish Whiskey

1 ounce lemon juice

½ ounce simple syrup

½ ounce triple sec

1 egg white 

Steps

Combine ingredients into cocktail shaker with ice

Shake really hard for 1 minute

Strain and empty ice; replace chilled mix into empty mixer.

Shake again—without ice—for addition minute.

Strain into coupe glass.