Seasonal Spotlight - "Top 9 Whiskey Cocktails For The Novice"

After a considerable hiatus from blogging, we have returned with this special post. To all of my lovely followers and fans, thank you for sticking around. I hope you enjoy this edition filled with lovely cocktails and info even for the home bartender, whiskey connoisseur, or cocktail aficionado.

March is "Whiskey Month" and the best way to celebrate is with a proper whiskey cocktail (or two). Whether you choose to use Canadian whisky, Irish, Tennessean, rye, bourbon, scotch or Japanese whisky mixed into a tiki cocktail, classic highball, or Manhattan, there are plenty of ways to celebrate "whiskey/whisky. Try these 9 simple, easy-to-make whiskey cocktails with some cool variations at home or from your favorite watering hole this month or all year long. Mostly classics (the correct way to make), but some are obscure. Get these tried and true recipes only available from RYS.


Whiskey Sour

  • 1.5 oz Blended Whiskey or Bourbon, such as Crown Royal, Bulleit, or Wild Turkey
  • 1.5 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1.5 oz Sugar Syrup (2:1 water to sugar boiled and simmered in saucepan for 10 mins - let cool)
  • 1/2-1 oz Egg White (optional, gives a frothier head)
  • Garnish a lemon & cherry flag or just a lemon slice
  • Collins or highball glass

Prep - Add all ingredients to a shaker. Shake well and dump all contents into a collins glass or highball glass. No fresh ice. Garnish lemon and cherry flag or just a lemon slice. The key to making this drink taste great is the fresh lemon and syrup. Don't buy bottled or use pre-made sour mix. Just ask our customers the difference. Variation on this cocktail would be a New York Sour by floating 1 oz red wine (Pinot Noir) around the rim.


The Old Fashioned

  • 2 oz Rye Whiskey, such as Bulleit, Whistle Pig, Templeton, or Wigle (organic from Pittsburgh)
  • 2 medium-sized orange slices muddled
  • 1 sugar cube
  • 3-4 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • splash of seltzer water
  • Rocks glass

Prep - Muddle orange slices, bitters, and sugar cube in the bottom of a rocks glass. Make sure sugar cube is dissolved and remove orange rind (bitter). Add a splash of seltzer, crushed ice, and whiskey. Stir well. Most recipes call for a muddled maraschino cherry, but I think this version is better. Modern variation by using Maple Bourbon or Maple Whiskey and 1/2 oz diluted maple syrup.



  • 1.5-2 oz Bourbon (some recipes call for rye or blended, but I prefer bourbon)
  • High quality ginger ale
  • Seltzer water
  • Collins or highball glass

Prep - Fill a collins or highball glass with ice. Build ingredients by pouring equal parts of ginger ale and seltzer. Stir. Modern variation on this classic cocktail would be to split the bourbon into bourbon and ginger liqueur, like Domaine de Canton and/or add a splash of fresh ginger syrup.


Blood & Sand

  • 3/4 oz Scotch, such as Dewar's, Glenfiddich, or Johnnie Walker
  • 3/4 oz Cherry Herring
  • 3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • Garnish cherry and/or orange peel
  • Chilled cocktail glass or coupe

Prep - Add all ingredients to a shaker or mixing glass. Add ice and shake well, Strain into a chilled coupe or cocktail/martini glass. Garnish.


Ward 8

  • 2 oz Rye Whiskey
  • 1/2 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 oz Orange Juice
  • 2 teaspoons of grenadine
  • Garnish cherry
  • Chilled cocktail glass

Prep - Add all ingredients to a shaker. Shake well. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish cherry.


Mint Julep

  • 6-8 spearmint leaves
  • 2 oz Small Batch/High-End Bourbon, such as Woodford Reserve, Blanton's, or Basil Hayden's
  • Water
  • 1/4-1/2 oz sugar Syrup or granulated sugar (amount depends on sweetness - more sugar = more sweet)
  • Crushed ice
  • Mint sprigs
  • Julep glass or cup, preferred, or highball glass

Prep - Muddle mint leaves, sugar, and a splash of water in the bottom of glass. Stir. Add a layer of crushed ice. Add bourbon. Stir again. Add another splash of water. Add another layer of crushed ice forming a dome over the glass. Garnish a handful of mint sprigs.


Manhattan/Rob Roy

  • 2.5 oz high end Bourbon, such as Bulleit, Scotch (Rob Roy), such as Balvenie, or blended whiskey, such as Crown Royal or Canadian Club
  • 1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 3 dashes of Angostura bitters or Orange bitters (I prefer orange bitters)
  • Garnish bing cherries or lemon twist
  • Chilled cocktail glass or coupe

Prep - Add all ingredients to a mixing glass. Add 1 scoop of ice. Stir well with barspoon - 20 times clockwise and 20 times counter-clockwise. Strain with a julep strainer into a chilled cocktail glass or coupe. Garnish lemon twist or cherries. For more sweet/less potent, reduce whiskey or add more sweet vermouth. A Dry Manhattan would be just a splash of vermouth or substitute the sweet vermouth with dry vermouth. A Perfect Manhattan would be a 1/4 oz each of dry and sweet vermouth.


Lynchburg Lemonade

  • 1.5 oz Jack Daniel's or Gentleman Jack
  • 1/2 oz Triple Sec
  • 3-4 oz Fresh Lemon Sour (1:1 equal parts fresh lemon juice and sugar syrup preferably no older than 1 week - keep refrigerated)
  • Lemon-lime Selzer or soda (I prefer selzer, less sweet)
  • Garnish lemon slice
  • Large collins glass or pint glass

Prep - Add all ingredients except seltzer or soda to a shaker. Shake well. Strain into an ice-filled collins or pint glass. Top lemon-lime soda or seltzer to top. Garnish lemon slice. For a minor variation, substitute ginger beer for seltzer or soda and get a Tennessee Highball



  • 1 oz Bourbon or Rye Whiskey (I prefer bourbon)
  • 1 Campari
  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • Garnish orange peel
  • Cocktail glass, coupe, or rocks glass

Prep - Add all ingredients to a mixing glass. Add ice. Stir well. Strain into a cocktail glass or coupe using a julep strainer. For 'on the rocks', add ingredients to an ice-filled rocks glass and stir. Garnish orange peel.















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