13 Refreshing Bourbon Cocktails That Are Perfect For Summer

Summer brings hot and humid temperatures that leave many searching for the perfect cocktails to cool them off after a long sunny day. While bourbon may be considered a popular choice in winter and fall, bourbon-based cocktails can be very delightful and refreshing on a hot summer's day when paired correctly. So, if you are a bourbon enthusiast looking for new ways to enjoy the spirit during summer, here are some delicious bourbon cocktails that are sure to quench your thirst.

1. Mint Julep

Mint Julep

The Mint Julep, the celebrated Kentucky Derby drink, is undoubtedly one of the best summer cocktails. It is refreshing and can be prepared within less than five minutes. 



Muddle the mint leaves in a Julep cup or Collins glass. Add the simple syrup, bourbon, and some crushed ice, then stir. Garnish with the mint sprig and serve. 

2. Bourbon Rickey

Bourbon Rickey

If you're looking for a refreshing summer cocktail that isn't too sweet, the Bourbon Rickey is the perfect choice. It is a variation of the classic Gin Rickey, but the bourbon adds a comforting and warm twist, making it ideal for bourbon lovers seeking a light and zesty drink during hot summer days. 



Fill a glass with ice. Add the lime juice and bourbon, then fill the rest of the glass with sparkling water. Stir well to combine. 

3. Kentucky Mule

Kentucky Mule

A twist on the classic Moscow Mule, the Kentucky Mule replaces vodka with bourbon to create a richer and warmer flavor profile. 



Fill a copper mug with the bourbon and lime juice. Put ice and top off the mixture with the ginger beer. Add a mint sprig for garnish and serve. 

4. Peach Bourbon Smash

Peach Bourbon Smash

This fruity and aromatic cocktail perfectly combines bourbon's richness with the natural sweetness of ripe peaches. It's easy to prepare and ideal for summer gatherings. 



Muddle the peach slices with the simple syrup and mint leaves in a cocktail shaker. Add the bourbon and some ice. Shake well and strain into a glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a peach slice and mint. 

5. Bourbon Sweet Tea Cocktail

Bourbon Sweet Tea Cocktail

The fact that both bourbon and sweet tea are rooted in Southern tradition makes them a match made in heaven. The Bourbon Sweet Tea cocktail not only quenches your thirst but also offers a touch of sophistication and relaxation to your summer outdoor parties. 



Muddle some fresh mint sprigs in a cocktail shaker to extract the oils. Add the bourbon, honey simple syrup, citrus bitters, Arnold Palmer tea, and some ice on top of the muddled leaves. Shake the mixture for 30 seconds, then strain it into a standard rocks glass with ice. Garnish with a fresh lemon wedge and mint sprig. 

6. Paper Plane

Paper Plane


The Paper Plane cocktail is a timeless classic that combines equal parts of four main ingredients: bourbon, Aperol, Amaro Nonino, and lemon juice. It's a drink that's sure to impress bourbon lovers looking for a unique and well-balanced libation. 



Put all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake until well chilled. Strain the drink into a coupe glass filled with ice and enjoy. 

7. Forbidden Sour

Forbidden Sour

If you want to take your drinks to the next level, this Forbidden Sour cocktail adds only one special ingredient that makes all the difference. Besides the usual simple syrup, lemon juice, and bourbon trio, the Forbidden Sour includes a serving of pomegranate liqueur that adds a sophisticated and exotic Mediterranean flavor profile. 


  • 1 oz. Four Roses Small Batch Select
  • 1 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 oz. pomegranate liqueur
  • ½ oz. simple syrup
  • Garnish: orange wheel and cherry


Add the bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup, and pomegranate liqueur into a shaker with ice and shake for 30 seconds. Strain the mixture into a rocks glass and garnish with a cherry and an orange wheel. 

8. Gold Rush

Gold Rush

The Gold Rush is a delightful variation on the Bee's Knees cocktail but with bourbon instead of gin. The combination of honey and whiskey transforms the drink's flavor and mouthfeel, making it a cocktail that transcends the sum of its parts. 



Add the bourbon, honey syrup, and lemon juice into an ice-filled shaker and give it a good shake. Strain over ice into a glass and garnish with the lemon wedge. 

9. Bourbon Old Fashioned

Bourbon Old Fashioned

The Bourbon Old Fashioned is a simple yet sophisticated drink that highlights the flavors of bourbon with a touch of sweetness and aromatic bitters. 



In an old-fashioned glass, muddle the cherry and simple syrup together. Add the bourbon, bitters, and ice cubes to the glass. Stir gently to combine the ingredients and chill the drink. 

10. Sweet Bourbon Peach Smash

Sweet Bourbon Peach Smash

The Sweet Bourbon Peach Smash is a delicious cocktail that combines the smoothness of whiskey with the sweetness of ripe peaches and a hint of mint. 


  • 2 oz. Bulleit Bourbon Whiskey
  • 1 ripe peach 
  • 4 mint leaves
  • ½ oz. simple syrup
  • ½ oz. fresh lemon juice
  • Peach slice and mint sprig for garnish


Muddle the peaches and mint in a sturdy glass. Add the bourbon, lemon juice, and ice, then stir. Garnish with a peach slice and mint sprig. 

11. Tropical Hibiscus Bourbon Cocktail

Tropical Hibiscus Bourbon Cocktail

The Tropical Hibiscus Bourbon cocktail is probably the most unique drink on this list. This vibrant drink infuses the rich taste of bourbon with the exotic flavors of hibiscus and tropical fruits. 



Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake for 30 seconds. Strain the liquid into a rocks glass with ice. 

12. Blackberry Bourbon Smash

Blackberry Bourbon Smash

Speaking of delicious summer bourbon cocktails, the Blackberry Bourbon Smash is packed with sumptuous berry flavors. It's refreshing and perfect for warm weather, or anytime you want a burst of fruity goodness in your bourbon. 



Muddle the blackberries and mint leaves in a shaker to release their flavors. Add the bourbon, simple syrup, and lemon juice, then shake. Strain the mixture into a rocks glass with crushed ice and garnish with a blackberry or mint sprig. 

13. Classic Bourbon Highball

Classic Bourbon Highball

Simple drinks are classic for a reason, and the Classic Bourbon Highball cocktail is proof of that. It is a must-try for novice cocktail makers and excellent for outdoor summer gatherings. 



Fill a tall glass with ice cubes and add the bourbon. Top up the glass with soda water or ginger ale and stir gently. Garnish with a lemon or orange slice. 


These refreshing bourbon cocktails offer a diverse range of flavors and styles perfect for beating the summer heat. From classic and sophisticated to fruity and vibrant, there is a bourbon drink for any summer occasion. So gather your friends and family and treat yourself to these delightful bourbon cocktails. 


Is It Okay to Store Bourbon Cocktails for a Long time?

While it's always best to consume cocktails fresh, some can be batched and stored in the refrigerator for a day or two. However, the quality may deteriorate over time, so it's advisable to serve them as soon as possible.

What Is the Best Way to Serve Bourbon Cocktails for a Summer Party? 

For a summer party, consider preparing large batches of the cocktail in advance and serving them in pitchers or drink dispensers with ice. Guests can then help themselves to refills, making the experience both convenient and enjoyable. 

Are There Any Specific Garnishes That Work Best With Bourbon Cocktails? 

Garnishes like lemon wedges, mint sprigs, and fresh fruit slices work well with most bourbon cocktails. However, you can get creative with unique garnishes that complement your drink's flavors. 

How Do I Make Non-Alcoholic Versions of These Cocktails? 

To make non-alcoholic cocktails, simply omit the bourbon and replace it with an appropriate substitute like lemonade, iced tea, or flavored syrup. 

Where Can I Purchase Bourbons for Cocktails? 

For a wide range of bourbons, look no further than Nestor Liquor. They offer a diverse collection of spirits, including popular bourbon brands, making it easy to find the perfect bottle for your summer cocktail creations.
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