Kentucky Dream Cocktail Recipe

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Kentucky Dream 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 Dream is a cocktail that celebrates the rich heritage of bourbon, a spirit synonymous with the American South. Its creation is inspired by the lush landscapes of Kentucky and the traditional craftsmanship of bourbon distilleries.

  • Bourbon, as the main ingredient, represents the soul of the cocktail.
  • The vanilla from Madagascar adds an exotic twist, reminiscent of the spice trade routes.
  • Apricot brandy introduces a fruity note, balancing the robust flavors of bourbon.

This cocktail is perfect for those who appreciate a well-crafted drink with a story, especially bourbon enthusiasts and adventurers of taste.

How Kentucky Dream Tastes?

The Kentucky Dream offers a harmonious blend of sweet and fruity notes with the deep, oaky undertones of bourbon. The vanilla lends a creamy sweetness, while the apricot brandy adds a touch of tartness, creating a complex yet balanced flavor profile. It's a strong cocktail with a smooth finish that lingers on the palate.

Interesting facts about Kentucky Dream

  • The Kentucky Dream is a modern cocktail with roots in classic American mixology.
  • It is often enjoyed during the fall season, complementing the flavors of autumn.
  • The cocktail can be customized with different types of bourbon to suit one's preference.


  • Bourbon: 2 oz(60ml)
  • Vanilla extract: 0.5 oz(15ml)
  • Apricot brandy: 0.5 oz(15ml)
  • Apple juice: 1 oz(30ml)
  • Aromatic bitters: 2 dashes
  • Ice cubes: As needed


Bourbon is the heart of the drink, and at 2 oz, it ensures the cocktail has a strong base without overwhelming. Reducing it would make a lighter cocktail but might lose some complexity. Removing it altogether is like taking the Kentucky out of the dream! If bourbon is too strong for you, consider a milder whiskey, but expect a less full-bodied flavor.

Emma Rose

Vanilla Extract

The 0.5 oz of vanilla extract offers a sweet, aromatic touch without overpowering the fruitiness. Too much vanilla could make the cocktail taste like dessert, while too little might not be noticeable. If you run out of vanilla, try a bit of vanilla syrup. It's sweeter, so reduce the amount a tad or brace for a sweeter dream.

Alex Green

Apricot Brandy

With 0.5 oz, the apricot brandy adds a pleasant fruit note and a hint of tartness. Ditch it, and you'll miss that stone-fruit whisper in the harmonious chorus. If apricot's not your jam, peach brandy could substitute; it's a bit sweeter, though, so your dream might become a summer fling.

Mary Mitkina

Apple Juice

Apple juice at 1 oz brings freshness and binds the other flavors together. More juice makes a fruitier, less potent drink; less makes the bourbon more prominent. No juice feels like apple picking and not finding any apples—quite disappointing. Apple cider could be a seasonal twist, delivering a richer, spicier flavor.

Emma Rose

Aromatic Bitters

Two dashes of aromatic bitters are like the spice cabinet of the cocktail world, giving depth and complexity to the drink. Overdoing it, however, could make the cocktail too bitter, masking the other flavors. Without bitters, you'll have a flat dream, lacking character. Orange bitters could add a citrusy spin if you're feeling adventurous.

Alex Green

Ice Cubes

Ice cubes serve to chill and dilute the cocktail as needed. They're the unspoken heroes that keep everything cool and balanced. No ice? Prepare for a strong and room-temp experience. You could use one large ice cube instead for slower dilution, allowing you to savor the dream a bit longer.

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make Kentucky Dream Drink

Kentucky Dream Cocktail Preparation:

  1. Pour 2 oz of bourbon, 0.5 oz of vanilla extract, 0.5 oz of apricot brandy, 1 oz of apple juice, and 2 dashes of aromatic bitters into a mixing glass.
  2. Fill the mixing glass 2/3 full with ice cubes.
  3. Stir the mixture with a bar spoon for 15 to 20 seconds.
  4. Strain the cocktail into a glass filled with ice.
  5. Garnish with an apple slice or a vanilla pod and serve immediately.

Pro Tips

  • Use a high-quality bourbon for the best flavor experience.
  • Chill the glass before serving to keep the cocktail cool longer.
  • If you prefer a smoother drink, consider using a single large ice cube instead of multiple smaller ones.

Perfect Pairings

Food Pairings

  • Grilled Pork Chops: The smokiness of the grilled pork complements the robust bourbon while the sweet apple and apricot notes provide a contrasting flavor profile.
  • Barbecue Chicken: The bold flavors of barbecue sauce pair nicely with the richness of the Kentucky Dream, especially with the vanilla and fruit components providing a soothing backdrop.
  • Cheese Platter: Opt for aged cheddar or gouda to match the cocktail's depth. The fruitiness from the apricot brandy and apple juice cuts through the fat of the cheese.

Dessert Pairings

  • Apple Pie: Echoing the apple juice in the cocktail, a classic apple pie with its cinnamon spice will harmonize with the vanilla and aromatic bitters.
  • Peach Cobbler: As a lighter option, the sweetness of the cobbler will be balanced by the strength of the bourbon and the tartness of the apricot brandy.

Non-Alcoholic Drinks Pairings

  • Sparkling Water: A plain sparkling water on the side helps cleanse the palate between sips without overpowering the cocktail's flavors.
  • Coffee: A strong black coffee as an accompaniment can complement the warming notes of the bourbon and vanilla.

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What you could change in Kentucky Dream

  • If apricot brandy is not available, peach schnapps can be a suitable substitute.
  • In place of vanilla extract, a small amount of vanilla syrup can be used for a sweeter profile.
  • For a less sweet version, reduce the apple juice or use a tart apple variety.

Explore all drinks starting with K here

And of course - twists🍹

Kentucky Dream Noir

  • Substitute the apple juice with black tea
  • Add a splash of lemon juice
  • Garnish with a lemon twist

This twist brings a tannic depth to the Kentucky Dream, accentuating the bourbon's complexity. The lemon juice adds a refreshing zing, perfect for those looking to add a tart edge to their dream.

Autumn Dream

  • Replace apple juice with apple cider
  • Add a pinch of ground cinnamon
  • Garnish with a cinnamon stick

The Autumn Dream is like wrapping yourself in a sweater on a brisk fall day. The apple cider and cinnamon cozy up with the bourbon, creating a cocktail that's as comforting as it is delicious.

Southern Sunset

  • Use peach juice instead of apple juice
  • Include a dash of grenadine
  • Garnish with a peach slice

The Southern Sunset sweeps you away to a balmy Georgia evening with its peachy twist. The grenadine offers a subtle floral sweetness, painting your dream in shades of a sunset romance.

In case you forgot basics how to make Kentucky Dream

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

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 Kentucky Dream

How can I measure the ingredients without a jigger?

You can use a tablespoon as a rough guide - one tablespoon is about half an ounce. Alternatively, measuring shot glasses often have ounce or milliliter measurements.

What type of glass should I serve the Kentucky Dream in?

A rocks glass, also known as an old-fashioned glass, is ideal for serving the Kentucky Dream to enhance the sipping experience.

Can I make a large batch of the Kentucky Dream for a party?

Yes, you can scale up the recipe to accommodate your guest list. Mix all the ingredients in a pitcher or punch bowl and serve over ice in individual glasses.

What is the best way to stir the cocktail?

Use a long-handled bar spoon and stir briskly in a circular motion for about 15 to 20 seconds to properly chill and dilute the cocktail without making it too watery.

Is there a specific time of year when the Kentucky Dream is especially popular?

While the Kentucky Dream can be enjoyed year-round, it's particularly well-suited to fall and winter due to its warming bourbon base and rich flavors.

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