Bourbon & Root Beer Cocktail Recipe

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Bourbon & Root Beer Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 16, 2024


The Bourbon & Root Beer cocktail is a simple yet delightful mix that marries the complexity of bourbon with the sweet and creamy notes of root beer. This drink is a modern twist on the classic American root beer float, sans the ice cream. It's a hit at casual gatherings and is particularly favored by those who appreciate a nostalgic nod to classic soda fountain culture.

  • Origins: The exact origins are unclear, but it likely evolved from the American tradition of mixing spirits with soda.
  • Popularity: It has gained a following for its easy-drinking nature and the familiarity of its flavors.
  • Occasions: Perfect for BBQs, summer picnics, or just a relaxed evening at home.

How Bourbon & Root Beer Tastes?

The Bourbon & Root Beer cocktail is a harmonious blend of sweet and spicy, with the vanilla and caramel notes of bourbon complementing the sassafras and licorice flavors of the root beer. It's a medium-bodied drink with a smooth finish, offering a comforting warmth from the bourbon.

Interesting facts about Bourbon & Root Beer

  • Versatility: The cocktail's simplicity makes it highly adaptable to various types of bourbon, from smooth to robust.
  • Seasonal Appeal: It's particularly enjoyable in the fall, aligning with the seasonal flavors of spices and caramel.
  • Cultural Icon: Root beer has a storied history in America, making this cocktail a tribute to traditional American beverages.


  • Bourbon: 2 oz(60ml)
  • Root beer: 6 oz(180ml)
  • Ice: Cubes


Bourbon, the American classic, with its rich vanilla, caramel, and oak wood flavors, forms the soul of this cocktail. Using 2oz hits the sweet spot of strong but not overpowering sweetness—too little and you're drinking spiked root beer; too much, and it's more like knocking back a whiskey with a root beer chaser!

Mary Mitkina

Root Beer

Root beer brings a nostalgic twist of vanilla, wintergreen, and sassafras flavors which mixes harmoniously with the bourbon. 6oz delivers just enough soda to make it smooth and sip-able without drowning the bold bourbon—any less and your cocktail feels stiff, more and you might as well be at a kid's birthday party. No root beer? Try ginger ale for a spicier kick!

Alex Green

Ice Cubes

Ice does more than chill; it melds these flavors as it slowly melts. Skipping the ice means a lukewarm and possibly too-concentrated drink, but too much ice, and your cocktail becomes a watered-down shadow of its intended glory. Cubes are the classic choice, but you could switch to a large ice sphere for slower dilution and even cooler presentation!

Emma Rose

Recipe. How to make Bourbon & Root Beer Drink

  1. Fill a Collins glass with ice cubes.
  2. Pour 2 ounces of bourbon over the ice.
  3. Gently top with 6 ounces of chilled root beer.
  4. Stir slowly to combine the ingredients without causing the root beer to foam excessively.
  5. Serve with a straw and enjoy.

Pro Tips

  • Chill Your Root Beer: Make sure your root beer is well-chilled before mixing to maintain a refreshing temperature throughout.
  • Quality Bourbon: Opt for a high-quality bourbon to ensure the best flavor profile for your cocktail.
  • Slow Stir: Stir gently to avoid excessive foaming and to preserve the carbonation of the root beer.

Perfect Pairings

Food Pairings

  • BBQ Ribs: The sweetness of the BBQ sauce complements the caramel notes in bourbon.
  • Burgers: A classic American drink with a classic American dish. Go for savory toppings.
  • Vanilla Ice Cream: For a dessert twist, the root beer contributes to a float experience.
  • Spicy Foods: The sweetness of the root beer can help balance the heat.

Drink Pairings

  • Coffee: A bold, rich coffee can pair well with the complex flavors of bourbon.
  • Water: To cleanse the palate between sips and stay hydrated.

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What you could change in Bourbon & Root Beer

  • Bourbon: You can substitute the bourbon with any other whiskey if bourbon is not available. A rye whiskey can add a spicier kick.
  • Root Beer: If root beer is not to your taste, a good quality sarsaparilla or birch beer can be used as a substitute.

Explore all drinks starting with B here

And of course - twists🍹

Maple Bourbon Root Beer

  • Swap 0.5oz of bourbon for maple syrup.
  • The addition of maple syrup adds a woodsy sweetness, enhancing the autumnal flavors.

Spiced Bourbon Root Beer

  • Add a pinch of cinnamon or a cinnamon stick.
  • Cinnamon will contribute warm, spicy notes, making it feel like a holiday in a glass.

Smoky Bourbon Root Beer

  • Use a smoky bourbon like one with a hint of peat.
  • The smoke flavor adds depth and an almost savory note, perfect for those who enjoy a complex cocktail.

In case you forgot basics how to make Bourbon & Root Beer

Insert the spoon into the glass until it touches the bottom. Keep the back of the spoon against the inside wall of the glass, and stir in a smooth, circular motion. The goal is to swirl the ice and ingredients together without churning or splashing.

Learn everything on how to stir

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Frequently Asked Questions on Bourbon & Root Beer

What type of glass is best for serving the Bourbon & Root Beer cocktail?

A Collins glass is recommended for serving this cocktail to accommodate both the drink and ice, while also showcasing its appealing color and allowing room to stir.

Can I use diet root beer for a lower-calorie version of the cocktail?

Yes, you can use diet root beer to reduce the calorie count, but keep in mind that the overall taste might be slightly different due to the artificial sweeteners.

How can I add a garnish to this cocktail?

A slice of lemon or a maraschino cherry can add a touch of elegance and a hint of additional flavor to the drink.

Is there a non-alcoholic version of the Bourbon & Root Beer cocktail?

Yes, for a non-alcoholic version, you can use a bourbon-flavored syrup or a non-alcoholic bourbon alternative in place of regular bourbon.

What is the best time of year to serve the Bourbon & Root Beer cocktail?

While it is a great year-round drink, the Bourbon & Root Beer cocktail is particularly enjoyable during the summer or at backyard BBQs due to its refreshing qualities.

What is the best way to store bourbon for cocktails?

Bourbon should be stored at room temperature, away from direct sunlight and tightly sealed to preserve its flavor for cocktails.

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