Bourbon Cooler Cocktail Recipe

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Bourbon Cooler 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 7, 2024


The Bourbon Cooler is a refreshing and classic cocktail that has been enjoyed for decades. It is believed to have originated in the southern United States, where bourbon is a popular spirit. This cocktail is perfect for those who enjoy the rich and smooth taste of bourbon, but want something lighter and more refreshing for a hot summer day.

  • The Bourbon Cooler has been a favorite among bourbon enthusiasts for its perfect balance of flavors.
  • It is often served at outdoor gatherings and barbecues, making it a popular choice for warm weather.
  • The use of fresh ingredients, such as mint and lemon, adds a refreshing twist to the classic bourbon flavor.

How Bourbon Cooler Tastes?

The Bourbon Cooler has a smooth, slightly sweet, and refreshing taste. The bourbon provides a rich and warm base, while the lemon and mint add a bright and zesty kick. The club soda gives it a light and effervescent finish.

Interesting facts about Bourbon Cooler

  • The Bourbon Cooler is sometimes referred to as a 'Kentucky Cooler' due to its association with the bourbon-producing state.
  • The cocktail is often garnished with a sprig of fresh mint, which not only adds visual appeal but also enhances the aroma and flavor.
  • The Bourbon Cooler can be easily adapted to suit individual preferences by adjusting the amount of bourbon, lemon juice, and simple syrup.



  • Why: The soul of the cocktail. It's the base spirit that provides a sweet, caramel and vanilla flavor that's essential.
  • Impacts missing: Without it, it's not a Bourbon Cooler—it's just lemonade with mint.

Emma Rose

Lemon Juice

  • Why: Adds a fresh, tart dimension that balances the sweetness from the syrup and bourbon.
  • Impacts missing: Without it, the drink would be too sweet and lack complexity.

Alex Green

Simple Syrup

  • Why: To add sweetness, balancing the sourness of lemon juice.
  • Impacts missing: Without it, the cocktail might be unpalatably tart.

Mary Mitkina

Club Soda

  • Why: Adds effervescence, lightness, and dilutes the drink to a pleasant sipping strength.
  • Impacts missing: Without it, the drink would be too strong and not as refreshing.

Emma Rose

Mint Leaves

  • Why: They provide a cool, refreshing herbal note that's crucial for a 'cooler' type cocktail.
  • Impacts missing: Without the mint, you miss the fresh, cooling sensation.

Alex Green

Fresh Mint Sprig & Lemon Wheel

  • Why: For aroma and visual appeal, which greatly enhances the overall drinking experience.
  • Impacts missing: You'd lose the inviting look and part of the olfactory joy.

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make Bourbon Cooler Drink

  1. In a shaker, gently muddle the mint leaves with the simple syrup.
  2. Add the bourbon and lemon juice to the shaker.
  3. Fill the shaker with ice and shake well until chilled.
  4. Strain the mixture into a glass filled with ice.
  5. Top with club soda and gently stir to combine.
  6. Garnish with a fresh mint sprig and a lemon wheel.

Pro Tips

  • Muddle the mint leaves gently to avoid bitterness.
  • Use high-quality bourbon for the best flavor.
  • Chill the glass before serving for a refreshing experience.

Perfect Pairings


  • Cheese platter: A selection of cheeses, especially nutty ones like Gouda or Swiss, complements the caramel notes of the bourbon.
  • Barbecue sliders: The smoky flavor of barbecue pork or chicken sliders harmonizes with the Bourbon Cooler's robust profile.

Main Courses

  • Grilled steak or chicken: The robust nature of bourbon pairs well with hearty grilled meats.
  • Seafood: Lighter seafood dishes with lemon or herb dressings can provide a delightful contrast to the cocktail's sweetness.


  • Fruit tarts: The acidity of lemon in both the dessert and the cocktail create a complementary pairing.
  • Vanilla ice cream: A simple vanilla ice cream can cleanse the palate between sips of this refreshing cocktail.

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What you could change in Bourbon Cooler

  • Bourbon: Can be replaced with rye whiskey or brandy.
  • Simple syrup: Honey or agave nectar can be used as a natural sweetener.
  • Club soda: Can be substituted with tonic water or ginger ale for a different twist.

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And of course - twists🍹

Honey Bourbon Cooler

  • Ingredients: Replace simple syrup with honey syrup.
  • Recipe: Same as original, with honey syrup adding a richer sweetness and an earthy note that pairs perfectly with bourbon.

Spicy Bourbon Cooler

  • Ingredients: Add a few slices of jalapeño to the muddling process.
  • Recipe: Same as original, but the jalapeño adds a spicy kick that contrasts with the sweetness, creating a complex flavor profile.

Berry Bourbon Cooler

  • Ingredients: Add a handful of fresh berries to the muddling process.
  • Recipe: Same as original, with the berries adding a fruity undertone and a touch of summer that brightens the bourbon's depth.

In case you forgot basics how to make Bourbon Cooler

The basic composition of simple syrup is relatively straightforward – a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water. This mixture is heated until the sugar dissolves, resulting in a clear, sweet syrup.

Learn everything about simple syrup

Add your ingredients to the shaker first, then ice. Fill it up to ¾ of its capacity to ensure enough space for shaking. Hold the shaker with both hands (one on the top and one on the bottom) and shake vigorously. The shake should come from your shoulders, not your wrists.

Learn everything on how to shake

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

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

The key to proper muddling is to crush the ingredients just enough to release their flavors and not overdo it. Over-muddling can result in a bitter taste, especially with herbs.

Learn everything on how to muddle

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Bourbon Cooler

Can I use other types of whiskey for a Bourbon Cooler?

Yes. While bourbon gives this cocktail its signature flavor, you can substitute it with other kinds of whiskey like Scotch or Irish whiskey. However, keep in mind that it will alter the taste of the cocktail.

Is it possible to make a non-alcoholic Bourbon Cooler?

Yes. You can replace the bourbon with a non-alcoholic bourbon substitute or even a flavored syrup. However, this will significantly change the taste and texture of the cocktail.

Are there any special tools required to make a Bourbon Cooler?

A cocktail shaker and a muddler are typically used in the preparation of a Bourbon Cooler. If you don't have these, you can use a jar with a tight-fitting lid in place of a shaker, and the flat end of a wooden spoon as a muddler.

Can I make a Bourbon Cooler ahead of time?

It's best to make a Bourbon Cooler fresh, as the effervescence of the club soda and the muddled mint leaves can lose their potency over time. However, you can prepare the bourbon, lemon juice, and simple syrup mixture ahead of time and add the club soda and garnish just before serving.

What type of glass should I use if I don't have a highball glass?

You can use any glass that is tall and slender. A Collins glass or a pint glass would also work. The idea is to have enough room for the ice and the club soda.

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