Obama Cocktail Recipe

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Obama Cocktail Nutrition Facts





Alcohol %:20%

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 Obama Cocktail is a modern classic, created in 2009 to celebrate the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama. It's a refreshing and patriotic drink, perfect for those who appreciate a well-balanced cocktail with a touch of sweetness and a hint of tartness. It's a favorite among those who enjoy a good story with their drink, as it symbolizes a historic moment in American history.

How Obama Cocktail Tastes?

The Obama Cocktail is a harmonious blend of sweet, sour, and strong. The sweetness of the honey is perfectly balanced by the tartness of the lemon juice, while the bourbon gives it a robust and full-bodied flavor. The hint of mint adds a refreshing touch, making it a delightful drink to savor.

Interesting facts about Obama Cocktail

  • The Obama Cocktail was created by mixologist Derek Brown.
  • It was served at the official inauguration party in 2009.
  • The cocktail is a tribute to Obama's home state of Hawaii, featuring honey and lemon, common ingredients in Hawaiian cuisine.



The use of 2 oz provides a robust base, offering a balance of warmth and depth without overpowering the drink. Bourbon brings vanilla and caramel notes that mingle well with the inclusions of honey and mint. Less would miss the kick, more might eclipse other flavors.

Emma Rose


With 1 oz of honey, you introduce a velvety sweetness that harmonizes with bourbon and adds smoothness to the cocktail. It's the golden thread that ties the other ingredients together. Too little and the drink can be harsh; too much and it would be cloying.

Alex Green

Lemon Juice

Adding 1 oz brings the necessary acidity to cut through the sweetness and cleanse the palate. It provides a bright freshness that is crucial for balance. Skip it and the cocktail becomes too sweet; too much and it could turn sour.

Mary Mitkina

Mint Leaves

The 4 mint leaves muddle to release their essential oils, offering a burst of crispness which contributes to the drink's refreshing profile. Without it, you'd lose a layer of complexity. If mint is not your thing, basil could be an alternative, adding a more herbaceous note.

Emma Rose

Fresh Lemon Zest

A twist of lemon zest as a garnish expresses oils and adds an aromatic component, enhancing the sensory experience. It's the finishing touch that ties the room together — or in this case, the cocktail. No zest, no zing!

Alex Green

Recipe. How to make Obama Cocktail Drink

  1. Muddle the mint leaves in a shaker.
  2. Add the bourbon, honey, and lemon juice.
  3. Fill the shaker with ice and shake well.
  4. Strain the mixture into a chilled glass.
  5. Garnish with a twist of lemon zest.

Pro Tips

  • Use fresh lemon juice for the best flavor.
  • Muddle the mint gently to release the oils without tearing the leaves.
  • Chill the glass beforehand to keep the cocktail cold longer.

Perfect Pairings


  • Sliders: Mini burgers would blend nicely with the richness of the bourbon.
  • Southern fried chicken: The sweetness of the honey and the freshness of the mint offers a nice contrast to this savory dish.

Main Courses

  • Pork ribs with a smoky glaze: Complements the smoky notes of the bourbon.
  • Roasted duck: The bourbon and honey match the richness of duck, while the lemon adds a refreshing zing.


  • Pecan pie: Echoes the sweetness of the honey and the depth of the bourbon.
  • Lemon tart: Amplifies the citrus notes in the cocktail.

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What you could change in Obama Cocktail

  • Bourbon can be substituted with rye whiskey for a spicier flavor.
  • Honey can be replaced with agave syrup for a vegan version.

Explore all drinks starting with O here

And of course - twists🍹

Green Tea Obama

Substitute the honey with green tea syrup, and add a dash of ginger. Marvel as your cocktail takes a turn towards the oriental, with notes of earthiness from the tea and a kick from the ginger that dances with the bourbon.

Spicy Obama

Add a small slice of jalapeño into the shaker with the mint leaves. The spice will give your drink a daring edge, perfect for those looking to warm up from the inside out.

Blackberry Obama

Muddle a handful of blackberries with the mint. The berries bring a tart sweetness and a deep purple hue that offers a fruity twist to this presidential libation.

In case you forgot basics how to make Obama Cocktail

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

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 Obama Cocktail

What type of bourbon is best to use for the Obama Cocktail?

The choice of bourbon largely depends on personal taste, but a high-quality, smooth bourbon is typically recommended for this cocktail.

Can I use other types of citrus for garnish instead of lemon zest?

Yes, you can use other types of citrus for garnish, such as orange or lime zest.

Is this cocktail suitable for all seasons?

Definitely! While the Obama Cocktail is refreshing enough for hot summer days, the warmth of the bourbon and honey makes it just as enjoyable during colder months.

Can I make the Obama Cocktail in larger batches for parties?

Yes, the recipe can easily be scaled up to serve larger crowds. Just ensure the ratios remain the same for a balanced flavor.

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