Cocktails involving whiskey, enlighten me!
December 28, 2011 5:32 PM   Subscribe

What are some nice cocktails that I can make from this bottle of Makers Mark that was gifted to me?

I'm not a whiskey drinker, I'm primarily a craft beer drinker but I do enjoy a nice cocktail now and then. I know that I've had some fancy whiskey based drinks in the past and really enjoyed them but I couldn't tell you what they were so tell me what your favorites are. I am aware of Mint Juleps.
posted by MaryDellamorte to Food & Drink (23 answers total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
There is the obvious old standby of a whiskey ginger. But, I like to fancy it up a bit with an orange buck: whiskey + ginger beer + orange juice + orange bitters. Serve on ice and pretend it's a warm summer evening.
posted by joan_holloway at 5:36 PM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Better make you an Old Fashioned. Perhaps a Manhattan.

Those are two of the six "basic drinks" from The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks.


5 parts American whiskey
1 part Italian (sweet) vermouth
dash of Angostura bitters to each drink

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass and serve garnished with a maraschino cherry.

Old Fashioned

12 parts American whiskey
1 part simple syrup
1-3 dashes Angostura bitters to each drink

In an old-fashioned glass, add bitters to simple syrup and stir. Add about 1 ounce of whiskey and stir again. Add two cubes of cracked, but not crushed, ice and top off with the rest of the whiskey. Twist lemon peel over the top and serve garnished with the lemon peel and a maraschino cherry.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 5:38 PM on December 28, 2011 [3 favorites]

It's not a cocktail, but check out bourbon and soda water if you haven't tried it. It tempers the strength of the whiskey without masking its subtle flavors.
posted by scose at 5:45 PM on December 28, 2011

Love Manhattans and Old Fashioneds.

My favourite whiskey-based drink is a Sazerac, which is basically whiskey + bitters + sugar/simple syrup in a glass that's been "washed" with absinthe or pastis. (I've also had a version that's half bourbon and half cognac and is 100% delightful). The internet says rye is traditional, but I really like them with bourbon, though Maker's Mark is maybe almost too sweet for something like that. Also it's kind of a pain to make compared to an old-fashioned which has a similar if slightly less complex flavour profile, mainly because who has pastis or absinthe lying around.

I mean, me, when I drink Maker's at home I usually just drink it neat or with a very small amount of ice, it's a very easy whiskey to drink if you're interested in becoming a whiskey drinker. Start out with loads of ice and then slowly dial back.
posted by SoftRain at 5:54 PM on December 28, 2011

Seconding scose, you can even add ice to that and make it a very diluted bourbon and soda on the rocks. It's very good this way, and coincidentally looks like a bigger/stronger drink than it really is.
posted by brina at 5:55 PM on December 28, 2011

I'm a big Manhattan guy myself. If you want to make a top-shelf Manhattan, get some fancy vermouth (check out Vya or Carpano Antica). (I also prefer rye in a Manhattan, but that doesn't answer your question!)

The above ratio 5-to-1 whiskey-to-vermouth is probably a bit high, but this is a matter of taste. For me, it depends on the whiskey, but I may go as low as 2-to-1. The better the whiskey, the higher the ratio, generally. For Makers, which is a decent-but-not-top-shelf whiskey, I'd prefer something like 3-to-1.

Also, check out Luxardo for a really nice maraschino cherry. Avoid the bright red things in any case.

Manhattans are better the colder they are. Keep the vermouth in the fridge, and keep the shaker and glass in the freezer.
posted by mikeand1 at 5:55 PM on December 28, 2011

Response by poster: In case anyone is interested or comes across this thread later on, another use for good whiskey or bourbon is to simulate a bourbon-barrel aged beer. Add 1 oz. of quality bourbon and .5 oz. butterscotch liqueur to 10 oz. of beer. In my opinion, it works best with imperial stouts, double IPAs, American strong ales, and Flemish sours.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 6:09 PM on December 28, 2011 [5 favorites]

Makers was my gateway into the world of Bourbon. I second the notion to try Makers and rocks. Proceed from there to sampling some Woodford Reserve and Knob Creek, and after that there are many small batch distilleries catering to a world of different flavors and styles.

posted by Fleebnork at 6:17 PM on December 28, 2011

Im usually a cocktail drink and not straight liquor.

I enjoy whiskey sours.
posted by HMSSM at 6:32 PM on December 28, 2011

I had a brown derby last week - very nice. Bourbon, grapefruit juice, and honey.
posted by Squeak Attack at 6:50 PM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Maker's is a great entry level bourbon. Nthing all the suggestions for drinking it on the rocks or with a bit of soda. You will like this a lot more than you think.
posted by Sara C. at 7:25 PM on December 28, 2011

Deb at the Smitten Kitchen enjoys her bourbon.
posted by killy willy at 8:52 PM on December 28, 2011

There is the obvious old standby of a whiskey ginger. But, I like to fancy it up a bit with an orange buck: whiskey + ginger beer + orange juice + orange bitters. Serve on ice and pretend it's a warm summer evening.

I actually came in here to suggest this drink or something very close to it. At a bar near me, they do bourbon, ginger ale, bitters, and an orange peel, and call it an "Art Snob".
posted by LionIndex at 8:55 PM on December 28, 2011

While I am a big fan of drinking quality spirits straight up, cocktails are certainly better when you use better booze (such as the aforementioned Maker's Mark). I'll nth the Manhattan, Old Fashioned, and Whiskey Sour suggestions.

I'll also suggest a Perfect Manhattan. This is the same as a regular Manhattan except that you use half the amount of sweet vermouth and add in the same amount of dry vermouth. So, to use the same proportions that OnTheLastCastle suggested above, your recipe will be:
5 parts American whiskey
0.5 parts Italian (sweet) vermouth
0.5 parts French (dry) vermouth
dash of Angostura bitters to each drink
And don't forget to garnish it with a maraschino cherry or two!
posted by asnider at 11:35 PM on December 28, 2011

I can't help but notice no one's mentioned eggnog. My husband and I spent the better part of the Christmas weekend drinking store-bought eggnog doctored with Maker's Mark and a lot of fresh ground nutmeg. It's better if you leave the flavors to blend several hours before drinking. Heaven.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 11:57 PM on December 28, 2011

My take on the perfect Manhattan using bourbon is to replace the sweet vermouth with a big splash of maraschino juice from the jar and then making up the rest of the 1 part with dry vermouth. If I could find Kirsch, I would like to try that. Bourbon is already fairly sweet, so adding much more sweetness to the cocktail can be cloying to some palates. (This is why I prefer my Manhattans traditional, made with rye.)

However you make it though, get it as cold as you possibly can.
posted by Ardiril at 1:16 AM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

Back in my bartending days, I had a customer who ordered Makers and ginger (ale) every time he came in (about 4 times per week). I always shook my head, but finally tried it once, and it's not too bad.

If you like it, it's a decent cocktail to have when the bartender doesn't look like he/she might now how to actually make a Manhattan or Old Fashioned.
posted by kuanes at 4:17 AM on December 29, 2011

I too am primarily a craft beer drinker. However, Manhattans made with Makers Mark was my gateway to the world of whiskey. I still keep a bottle of Maker's on hand, but have moved on single-malt scotches. You're in for some fun!

So yeah, start with a Manhattan (tons of info out there on this drink, so I won't bother reiterating), I will say though... If you find you have trouble tolerating the alcohol "burn" from the whiskey (like I did at first), here are two things you can try:

1. Let the ice melt a bit. A tiny bit of water goes a long way to remove the "heat" from the alcohol.

2. Stir in a spoonful or two of the juice from the maraschino cherry jar. I know, Manhattan purists will cry blasphemy at this, but the sweetness really cuts the alcohol burn, and before you know it, you won't need to add the extra dash of sugar water any more.
posted by teriyaki_tornado at 5:29 AM on December 29, 2011

I got this idea from another thread and it is very delicious:
* .75 parts lime juice
* .75 parts simple syrup (i.e. equal parts sugar and water mixed together)
* 2 parts bourbon
posted by mmascolino at 9:24 AM on December 29, 2011

I drink my bourbon almost exclusively straight, but while I was sick recently, it was all hot toddies all the time. Take a good cup of black tea (or green I guess, if that's more your thing) and add a spoonful of honey, a generous shot of bourbon and a squeeze of lemon juice. It may not be the fanciest cocktail, but it's delicious and quite soothing. Maker's Mark in apple cider is also quite fantastic.
posted by radioaction at 1:30 PM on December 29, 2011

Lion's Tail. Perfect cold-weather drink.
posted by manicure12 at 2:18 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

Manhattans are better the colder they are. Keep the vermouth in the fridge, and keep the shaker and glass in the freezer.

I realize this is an old thread, but we get a Washington state CSA during the summer, and are stuck with an abundance of cherries. A most horrible first-world problem of course. But one solution we've found is to pit them and store them in freezer bags in the freezer. A couple dropped into a Manhattan is a nice touch.

Combined with bourbon straight from the freezer, I don't usually need to mix with ice.

I've been experimenting with bitters, and found that most of them actually work with a Manhattan. Chocolate, orange, and Angostura all work nicely.
posted by formless at 1:48 AM on June 25, 2012

That bourbon would probably work just fine in a "Buck":
  • 1.5 – 2 oz Brandy, Gin, Rum or Whiskey
  • Juice and Shell of half a Lemon or Lime
  • 4 – 6 oz Ginger Ale
Squeeze lemon or lime juice into a collins glass
Add the juiced shell of the fruit
Add a couple of lumps of ice, then the spirit of choice
Top with ginger ale
posted by notyou at 1:18 PM on August 2, 2012

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