Cowboy Cocktail Recipe

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Cowboy Nutrition Facts





Alcohol %:40

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 Cowboy Cocktail, also known as the Bourbon Cowboy, is a classic American cocktail with a rich history. It's believed to have been a favorite among cowboys in the Old West, who appreciated its strong, warming qualities after a long day on the range.

  • The Cowboy Cocktail is a simple, yet potent mix of bourbon, simple syrup, and lemon juice.
  • It's a cocktail that's both refreshing and robust, making it a favorite among whiskey lovers.

How Cowboy Tastes?

The Cowboy Cocktail is a robust, full-bodied drink with a strong, smooth bourbon base. The simple syrup adds a touch of sweetness, while the lemon juice brings a hint of tartness, creating a well-balanced, refreshing taste.

Interesting facts about Cowboy

  • The Cowboy Cocktail is often served in a rocks glass, over ice.
  • Despite its name, it's not just for cowboys - it's a popular choice for anyone who enjoys a strong, well-balanced cocktail.
  • The Cowboy Cocktail is also known as the Bourbon Cowboy.


  • Bourbon: 2 oz(60ml)
  • Simple syrup: 1 oz(30ml)
  • Lemon juice: 1 oz(30ml)


Bourbon is the backbone of our Cowboy cocktail, providing a robust and smooth base with hints of vanilla and caramel. At 2 oz, we're talking about enough spirit to pack a punch without knocking your boots off. Less bourbon, and you might as well call it a 'City Slicker' because it'll lack that cowboy strength. More, and you might find yourself riding off into the sunset a bit too soon.

Alternatives: Swap out bourbon for rye whiskey if you fancy more spice, or scotch for a smoky twist.

Alex Green

Simple Syrup

Simple syrup sweetens the deal here, balancing out the tartness of the lemon and the kick of the bourbon. With 1 oz, it's sweet but not cloying, like a cowboy's secret serenade beneath a lover's window. Omit it, and the drink will have more kick than a bucking bronco. Use more, and you’ll drown out the bourbon's complexity.

Alternatives: Honey syrup or maple syrup can replace simple syrup, offering richer flavors and velvety textures.

Emma Rose

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice brings a zesty freshness to the cocktail, adding a bright pop that dances like a lasso twirling in the sun. 1 oz keeps things lively without turning the drink into a lemonade stand. Less juice, and the drink becomes overly sweet and dull. More? You'll pucker up more than after a shave with a rusty razor.

Alternatives: Lime juice for an edgier tartness, or grapefruit juice for a bittersweet cowboy kiss.

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make Cowboy Drink

  1. Fill a rocks glass with ice.
  2. In a shaker, combine the bourbon, simple syrup, and lemon juice.
  3. Shake well until the mixture is well chilled.
  4. Strain the mixture into the glass over the ice.
  5. Garnish with a lemon twist, if desired, and serve.

Pro Tips

  • Use a high-quality bourbon for the best flavor.
  • Shake the cocktail until it's very cold - this helps to blend the flavors.
  • If you like your cocktails a little sweeter, add a bit more simple syrup.

Perfect Pairings


  • Barbecue: The smoky richness of barbecue would complement the sweet and acidic tones of the Cowboy cocktail.
  • Steak: A well-grilled steak's caramelized exterior and juicy interior pairs excellently with the bourbon's robust flavor.
  • Burgers: The hearty flavors of a juicy burger can stand up to the cocktail's strong profile.
  • Pulled Pork: The sweet and tangy elements of pulled pork would enhance the cocktail's balance of sweet and sour.


  • Lemon Tart: The tartness of the dessert mirrors the lemon juice's zing in the cocktail.
  • Pecan Pie: The nuttiness and sweetness from the pie would play nicely with the bourbon's warm notes.


  • Coffee: A strong black coffee could be a great non-alcoholic pairing to cleanse the palate between sips of the cocktail.

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What you could change in Cowboy

  • Bourbon can be substituted with other types of whiskey, such as rye or Scotch.
  • Simple syrup can be replaced with honey or agave syrup for a different flavor profile.

Explore all drinks starting with C here

And of course - twists🍹

Smoky Cowboy

  • Bourbon:2 oz
  • Honey Syrup:1 oz
  • Fresh Lime Juice:1 oz
  • A dash of Liquid Smoke

Recipe: Follow the original, but add a dash of liquid smoke into the shaker. The Smoky Cowboy will remind you of campfires under a starlit sky, with a subtle smokiness making the bourbon sing a deeper tune.

Spicy Trailblazer

  • Rye Whiskey:2 oz
  • Simple Syrup:0.5 oz
  • Lemon Juice:1 oz
  • Slice of Jalapeño

Recipe: Muddle the jalapeño in the shaker before adding the other ingredients. The Spicy Trailblazer kicks harder than a wild mustang, with rye's peppery heat and jalapeño providing a bold frontier flavor.

Gold Rush Cowboy

  • Bourbon: 2 oz
  • Honey Syrup:1 oz
  • Lemon Juice: 1 oz
  • A sprig of Fresh Thyme

Recipe: Shake the bourbon, honey syrup, and lemon juice with ice, then strain over fresh ice and garnish with thyme. The Gold Rush Cowboy is a herby homage to the old prospectors, with thyme's aromatic touch turning each sip into a treasure hunt for your taste buds.

In case you forgot basics how to make Cowboy

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

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 Cowboy

What is the origin of the name 'Cowboy' for this cocktail?

The origin of the name is partly due to the cocktail's strong nature, which makes it a great warming drink, just as it would have been for cowboys on the range in the Old West.

What type of bourbon is best to make a Cowboy cocktail?

While any good quality bourbon will work, ones with a robust prrofile like those from Kentucky are often recommended.

Is the Cowboy cocktail similar to any other cocktails?

The Cowboy cocktail is similar to a Whisky Sour but uses bourbon and it doesn't include an egg white.

What is a good non-alcoholic substitute for bourbon in this recipe?

Non-alcoholic bourbon substitutes are available in many grocery stores, alternatively apple juice or a strong brewed tea could be used.

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