Kentucky Colonel Cocktail Recipe

Jump to Recipe ⬇️

Kentucky Colonel 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 Kentucky Colonel cocktail is a venerable mix that pays homage to the southern states' rich tradition in bourbon. It's a favorite among bourbon enthusiasts and those who appreciate a touch of herbal sweetness in their drinks.

  • Origins: The exact origins of the Kentucky Colonel are somewhat murky, but it's believed to have been created in the early 20th century.
  • Popularity: This cocktail has maintained a steady presence in American cocktail culture, particularly in the South.
  • Benedictine: The inclusion of Benedictine, a French herbal liqueur, adds complexity and a monastic mystique to the drink.

How Kentucky Colonel Tastes?

The Kentucky Colonel cocktail offers a harmonious blend of the warm, vanilla and oak notes of bourbon with the sweet, herbal undertones of Benedictine. The Angostura bitters provide a subtle spice that balances the sweetness, resulting in a smooth, rich, and slightly sweet sip with a complex flavor profile.

Interesting facts about Kentucky Colonel

  • The title 'Colonel' is a nod to the honorary title of Kentucky Colonel, the highest title of honor bestowed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
  • Benedictine is made from a blend of 27 different herbs and spices, and its recipe is a closely guarded secret.
  • The cocktail's simplicity makes it a fantastic choice for home bartenders looking to impress with classic flavors.


  • Angostura bitters: 2 dashes
  • Benedictine: 0.5 oz(15ml)
  • Bourbon: 2 oz(60ml)

Angostura Bitters

The 'spice cabinet' of mixology, just a couple of dashes of Angostura Bitters add a depth of flavor that's hard to pinpoint but impossible to ignore. If you skimp on the bitters, you'll find the drink slightly flat. Go overboard, and your cocktail may resemble a medicine cabinet!

Emma Rose


At 0.5 oz, Benedictine's sweet, herbal complexity plays second fiddle to bourbon's lead guitar but is vital for the symphony. Miss it out, and you lose the harmony. There's no real substitute for Benedictine, but in a pinch, a mix of honey syrup and a splash of herbal liqueur could mimic some of its qualities.

Mary Mitkina


The star of the show at 2 oz, bourbon gives our Kentucky Colonel its rank. It provides warmth, a little sweetness, and a kick of American spirit. Too little and you'll be demoted to a private cocktail, too much and it's less a Kentucky Colonel and more a Bourbon Bully!

Alex Green

Recipe. How to make Kentucky Colonel Drink

  1. Combine Ingredients: In a mixing glass, combine 2 dashes of Angostura Bitters, 1/2 oz of Benedictine, and 2 oz of Bourbon.
  2. Add Ice: Fill the mixing glass with ice.
  3. Stir: Stir the ingredients for 10 – 15 seconds to chill and dilute just enough without over-diluting.
  4. Strain: Strain the mixture into a chilled glass.

Pro Tips

  • Chill the Glass: Before you start, place your serving glass in the freezer for a few minutes. A chilled glass will keep your cocktail colder for longer.
  • Quality Ingredients: Use the best quality bourbon and Benedictine you can afford. The simplicity of this cocktail means that the quality of the ingredients will shine through.

Perfect Pairings


  • Cheese board: A selection of sharp cheeses, such as aged cheddar or gouda, complements the richness of the Kentucky Colonel.
  • Smoked Salmon: The smokiness of the salmon pairs nicely with the woody notes of bourbon.

Main Courses

  • Barbecue: Glazed ribs or pulled pork with a tangy sauce can stand up to the robust flavors of the cocktail.
  • Grilled Steak: The savory char of a well-grilled steak meshes well with the hearty bourbon.


  • Dark Chocolate: The bitterness of the chocolate echoes the bitters in the drink.
  • Pecan Pie: The sweetness of the pie brings out the spicy nuances of the Benedictine and bourbon.

🍹 Discover the Top 50 All-Time Recipes! 🍹

Enter your email, and we'll send the exclusive list straight to your inbox.

We respect your privacy and take protecting it seriously

What you could change in Kentucky Colonel

  • Bourbon: If you don't have a specific brand of bourbon, any high-quality bourbon will do. Maker's Mark or Buffalo Trace are good options.
  • Benedictine: In a pinch, you could substitute with another herbal liqueur like Chartreuse, though the flavor profile will change.

Explore all drinks starting with K here

And of course - twists🍹

Honey Colonel

  • Replace Benedictine with honey syrup: Adding a pure sweetness will bring out bourbon’s floral notes.
  • Add a slice of fresh ginger: A little spicy kick to contrast the honey’s smoothness.
  • This Colonel's a sweet talker with a fiery temper.

Citrus Colonel

  • Add a splash of orange juice: A zestier profile to compliment the bourbon’s sweetness.
  • Replace Angostura Bitters with orange bitters: Reinforces the citrus character.
  • This Colonel is brighter and lighter on its feet but still packs a punch.

Spiced Colonel

  • Add a pinch of cinnamon: Complements the Benedictine's herbal notes.
  • Include a star anise: Adds a layer of complexity with its licorice-like flavor.
  • This twist adds a bit of exotic spice, perfect for chilly evenings.

In case you forgot basics how to make Kentucky Colonel

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

Find the cocktail you'd love!

If you want to drink something else - you can use our AI-augmented search to find the best cocktail for you!
Completely free!

Frequently Asked Questions on Kentucky Colonel

What type of glass is best for serving a Kentucky Colonel cocktail?

A Kentucky Colonel is best served in a chilled old-fashioned glass or a rocks glass to enhance the sipping experience.

Is it possible to make a non-alcoholic version of the Kentucky Colonel?

While the core flavors of a Kentucky Colonel are alcohol-based, one could experiment with non-alcoholic bourbon alternatives and herbal syrups to create a mocktail version.

Can I use regular bitters instead of Angostura bitters in the recipe?

While Angostura bitters have a distinct taste, other aromatic bitters can be used as a substitute. However, the flavor profile might differ slightly.

How can I adjust the sweetness of the Kentucky Colonel cocktail?

To adjust the sweetness, you can vary the amount of Benedictine, which is the primary sweetening agent in the cocktail. Add less Benedictine for a less sweet drink, or a bit more if you prefer it sweeter.

What is the best way to stir the cocktail to achieve the right dilution and chill?

Stirring the cocktail with ice for about 10-15 seconds should give the right balance of dilution and temperature, but adjust based on personal preference.

More similar recipes to Kentucky Colonel!

Explore new cocktails you'd love!

Please rate this recipe