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5 Bourbon Cocktails to Make This Summer

These five classic bourbon cocktails are refreshing, easy to make, and ideal for sipping slowly in some small patch of shade.

No, you might not be able to have as chill a summer as you once were able to enjoy. You have kids and work and chores — and kids. But the warmer months are ideal for finding little moments to kick back with a cocktail in hand. When you find those moments, we suggest concocting one of these five variations on classic bourbon cocktails. They’re refreshing, easy to make, and ideal for sipping slowly in some small patch of shade.

1. The Boulevardier

What is it? Basically a Negroni made with whiskey in lieu of gin. It’s a cocktail that is both substantial and refreshing.

Try it with:  Russell’s Reserve for its sweetness and subtle herbal notes.

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How to Make a Boulevardier

Ingredients

2 oz bourbon
3/4 oz Campari
3/4 oz sweet vermouth

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Directions

Stir bourbon, vermouth, and Campari over ice and strain into a chilled glass (optional large ice cube) garnished with a Luxardo maraschino cherry.

2. The Bourbon Arnold Palmer 

What is it? A boozy Arnold Palmer is one of the easiest summer cocktails to whip up since it’s just a 50/50 mix of lemonade and tea plus a couple of ounces of hooch. While the King preferred his with vodka, we think bourbon makes it better.

Try it with: Four Roses Small Batch. Its soft oak and fruity sweetness add depth and flavor to the refreshing drink.

How to make a Bourbon Arnold Palmer

Ingredients

2 oz bourbon
2-3 oz of lemonade
2-3 oz of iced tea

Directions

Pour everything over ice in a highball glass.

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3. The Peach Whiskey Sour

What is it? A fresh spin on the classic sour, elevated with fresh juice and the addition of peaches for extra depth. Mostly phoned in by bartenders, the whiskey sour is one of those drinks that doesn’t get the respect it deserves. But when it’s made well, it’s a tasty summery beverage.

Try it with: Bulleit 10 Year. The bourbon brings a nice body to this crisp summer cocktail.

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How to Make a Peach Whiskey Sour

Ingredients

2 oz bourbon
3/4 oz simple syrup
1 oz lemon juice
1 1/2 oz frozen pureed peaches

Directions

Shake all ingredients over ice, strain into a glass with one large ice cube and garnish with a slice of peach.

4. The Kentucky Buck

What is it? Made with ginger beer, bourbon, lemon juice, and bitters, the Kentucky Buck is a righteous summer drink perfect for kicking off a Friday happy hour. It’s also one hell of a refreshing reward for mowing the lawn.

Try it with: Wild Turkey Rare Breed. At 116 proof, it gives the Buck a little extra kick.

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How to make the Kentucky Buck

Ingredients

A few dashes of Angostura bitters
1/2–3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
2 oz bourbon
Ginger beer

Directions

You could make this drink in a shaker, but we start with a highball glass full of ice add bitters, lemon juice, bourbon and top off with ginger beer, stir and garnish with a strawberry.

5. The Mint Julep

What is it? The classic derby cocktail. Calendar be damned. For us, summer starts on the first Saturday in May and you can’t watch the Derby without a mint julep. It’s a perfect summer cocktail.

Try it with: Woodford Reserve. Thanks to its rich vanilla notes, it’s our go-to bourbon in a julep.

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How to Make a Classic Mint Julep

Ingredients

Fresh mint
1/4–1/2 oz simple syrup
2 oz bourbon
Club soda

Directions

In either a silver cup or a highball glass, muddle two or three mint sprigs with a dash or two of simple syrup, fill the glass with crushed ice, add bourbon, top off the glass with club soda and garnish with a mint sprig after slapping it in your hand once or twice to release extra aromatics from the mint.