You can never go wrong with whiskey neat or on the rocks, but if you want to experience how versatile whiskey can be, consider experimenting with a good mixer. Some connoisseurs may scoff at the idea of mixed drinks, but there are no set rules on how to drink whiskey. Often, mixing whiskey with other ingredients can help bring out its sweet, spicy, savory, or smoky sides. Plus, crafting whiskey cocktails makes for a fun way to experience the complex spirit with friends and family. Some mixers work better with certain whiskeys than others, so choose wisely. Read on to learn about 10 of the best whiskey mixers.
Ginger can range in flavor from sweet to spicy and is an excellent whiskey sidekick in many cocktails. Sweet ginger ale and whiskey make a perfect pairing in a simple Whiskey Ginger, while bright and bold ginger beer brings out bourbon’s spicy notes in a refreshing Kentucky Mule. Love a fiery kick? Muddle some fresh ginger for a smoky Penicillin cocktail.
2. Coca Cola
Whiskey and Coke are a classic combination for a reason: Coca Cola’s sweet, earthy, caramel flavors pair perfectly with the vanilla and oak notes in whiskey. The variation on Rum and Coke works especially well with bourbon-style whiskey and gets even better with a squeeze of lime. For a unique twist on the classic cocktail, try the BLACKENED® Coke cocktail recipe.
3. Soda Water
Adding soda water to whiskey helps open up the spirit’s flavor, much like adding still water when doing a whiskey tasting. For lovers of cold, bubbly drinks, this combination is best represented by the classic whiskey and soda Highball. Fizzy seltzer plays nice with bolder whiskey and a squeeze of lemon.
Lemon’s citrusy zing helps temper whiskey’s booziness, making lemon juice, lemonade, and lemon soda great whiskey mixers. For a great whiskey cocktail in the summer, there’s nothing easier or more refreshing than a Whiskey Lemonade. (For a twist on the classic, try this BLACKENED® Lemonade cocktail recipe.) In the winter, no Hot Toddy is complete without lemon juice and a lemon wheel garnish. No matter the month, a Whiskey Sour is a safe bet with bright, bracing lemon juice.
5. Apple Cider
Apple cider complements the oak and caramel notes that are ubiquitous in whiskey and is the perfect whiskey mixer for fall. Though best after a fall hike or day out apple picking, an apple cider whiskey cocktail is a great choice for savoring whiskey’s sweeter side all year round.
6. Grapefruit Juice
Like most citrus, grapefruit gets along well with whiskey: The tart citrus balances beautifully with the spicy spirit. Test drive the combination with a bittersweet Grapefruit Penicillin, a refreshing Brown Derby, or a Bourbon Grapefruit Sidecar at brunch. You can even combine classics by making an Old Fashioned Paloma!
7. Sweet Vermouth
Many cocktails rely on a winning combination of whiskey and vermouth, and for good reason. Much like whiskey, vermouth is deeply complex and flavorful. With notes of vanilla, orange, and clove, sweet vermouth shines in cocktails like the Boulevardier and the Manhattan and anything with a spicy Rye. Dry vermouth has a more herbal, floral profile, which works better in cocktails like the Old Pal.
8. Sour Mix
A combination of sugar, water, lemons, and limes, sour mixes are at the base of many cocktails, including the king of sour cocktails, the classic Whiskey Sour. Sour mixes can be made ahead of time and make batching cocktails easy. Store-bought versions can erre on the artificially sweet side, so making your own homemade version is the way to go.
9. Cocktail Bitters
Bitters create flavor, aroma, and balance in many whiskey cocktails. They’re like the salt and pepper of whiskey mixers and help regulate sweetness and acidity. Look no further than the Old Fashioned for evidence. The classic cocktail comes together with nothing more than good whiskey, sugar, and bitters. For a fun riff on the tried-and-true cocktail, try a BLACKENED® Smoked Old Fashioned.
Amaro’s bitter, earthy flavors are a natural complement to whiskey, especially those that lean sweet. Amaro is a broad category of spirit, so some amari may work better with whiskey than others. Try light to medium amari with rye whiskey and amari with dark cocoa qualities with bourbon. For a spin on a Manhattan, try swapping vermouth for an amaro Averna.
Find Your Favorite Whiskey Mixer With BLACKENED®
At the end of the day, finding the best whiskey mixer comes down to personal preference and experimenting with different mixers is the only way to find the right ones for you.
Visit our online shop to buy BLACKENED® Whiskey online, available in 375 ml and 750 ml bottles as well as a 15 pack of 50 ml airplane bottles that are perfect for making cocktails and mixed drinks. Or use the store locator to find BLACKENED® whiskey near you and pick up your whiskey in person.
For mixed drinks with an added punch, try BLACKENED’s cask strength whiskey.