Six classic whisky cocktails you should know how to make…

How to make the ultimate Old Fashioned whisky cocktail

From the ultimate Old Fashioned cocktail to the very best Whiskey Sour, we’re here to help you master the art of making everyone’s favourite classic whisky cocktails.

For the beginners out there, the good news is they’re mostly super-easy to make at home – in fact, only one of these recipes even requires a cocktail shaker. The key to making them taste the best they can is using premium ingredients and following the method precisely. Once you’ve mastered the original recipe, you can start to experiment with different types of whisky and your own signature garnish. So, grab your favourite bottle, make sure the freezer is stocked with ice and read on…

  1. The Old Fashioned
  2. Whiskey Sour
  3. Sazerac
  4. Rob Roy/Manhattan
  5. Whisky Highball

The Old Fashioned

Ingredients:

  • 50ml (2 oz) bourbon
  • 3-4 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • A few drops of water
  • Orange

Method:

  1. Add bitters, sugar, and water to an Old Fashioned glass.
  2. Stir.
  3. Add bourbon and ice and stir.
  4. For the most authentic finish, express an orange peel over the top and drop it in the glass. Some prefer to add a slice of orange and/or a cocktail cherry. 

TOP TIPS

Some prefer using Scotch Whisky in an Old Fashioned cocktail, or American Rye.

For added sweetness, add a maraschino cherry or try using orange bitters.

The fruit is there as a garnish only, no muddling or mashing is necessary.

Whiskey Sour

Whiskey Sour cocktail served 'Up'

Ingredients:

  • 50ml (2 oz) bourbon
  • 25ml (1 oz) oz lemon juice
  • 12.5ml (.5 oz) simple syrup
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Cocktail cherry

Method:

  1. Add all ingredients, except for ice, to a cocktail shaker.
  2. Dry shake for 10 seconds.
  3. Add ice and shake again.
  4. Double strain into a chilled glass.
  5. Garnish with a cocktail cherry or a few drops of bitters.

TOP TIPS

Whether a Whiskey Sour should be served ‘Up’ ie. in a chilled coupe or ‘On the Rocks’ ie. over ice in an Old Fashioned cocktail glass is purely a matter of personal taste. Simply choose your favourite.

Make it a New York sour by finishing the drink with a red wine float (20ml will be plenty).

For a fun garnish, wrap a cocktail cherry in an orange slice, spear with a cocktail stick and lay across the glass.

Create a dairy-free version by subbing the egg white for aquafaba – the liquid in a can of chickpeas.

Sazerac

Sunset Sazerac cocktail, Hawksmoor

Ingredients:

  • 40ml (1.5 oz) rye whiskey
  • 10ml (.25 oz) absinthe>
  • 3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
  • 1tsp sugar
  • Splash of water
  • Lemon peel

Method:

  1. Rinse a pre-chilled Old Fashioned glass with absinthe, then add crushed ice and set it aside.
  2. Stir bitters, sugar, and water together in a mixing glass.
  3. Add rye whiskey and ice and stir.
  4. Discard the ice and absinthe from the Old Fashioned glass and strain the whiskey into the glass.
  5. Garnish with a twist of lemon.

TOP TIP: Traditionally, lemon peel was twisted above the glass to express the flavoursome oils before the peel was discarded, but many bartenders opt to drop the lemon peel into the glass as a garnish. Some also prefer the same technique with orange peel for a slightly sweeter citrus finish.

Manhattan

Ingredients:

  • 50ml (2oz) Rye whisky
  • 20ml (.75 oz) sweet vermouth
  • 3-4 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Cocktail cherry

Method:

  1. Add all ingredients to a mixing glass with ice.
  2. Stir.
  3. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  4. Garnish with a cocktail cherry.

TOP TIPS

Switch the Rye Whiskey in your Manhattan for Scotch et voila, you have a Rob Roy.

For less sweetness, use 50/50 sweet vermouth and dry vermouth – this is called a ‘Perfect Manhattan’.

You can also use Bourbon for a Kentucky twist.

Whisky highball

Whisky Highball, Suntory Toki Japanese Whisky

Ingredients:

  • 50ml (2oz) whisky
  • Premium soda
  • Lemon

Method

  1. Fill a highball glass with ice and let it chill.
  2. Add whisky and stir
  3. Add 3-4 parts soda
  4. Stir
  5. Garnish with a twist of lemon or grapefruit

TOP TIP: You can use any type of whisky in a Whisky Highball but many modern bartenders argue that Japanese Whisky is the best option – and specifically Suntory Toki.