Waverly Cocktail Recipe

Jump to Recipe ⬇️

Waverly 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 Waverly cocktail is named after the famous Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville, Kentucky. This historic building is known for its paranormal activity and has been featured on numerous ghost hunting shows. The cocktail was created in the 1920s by a local bartender who wanted to capture the eerie atmosphere of the sanatorium in a drink. It quickly gained popularity among the locals and visitors alike, and has since become a staple at bars around the world.

How Waverly Tastes?

The Waverly cocktail is a complex and intriguing blend of flavors. It is slightly sweet, with a hint of tartness from the citrus, and a subtle smokiness from the whiskey. The herbal notes from the bitters and the warmth of the ginger liqueur add depth and balance to the drink, making it a satisfying and memorable experience.

Interesting facts about Waverly

  • The Waverly cocktail is said to be the favorite drink of many ghost hunters who visit the Waverly Hills Sanatorium.
  • The original recipe called for a specific brand of whiskey that was produced in Louisville, but it can now be made with any high-quality whiskey.
  • Some variations of the Waverly cocktail include the addition of a splash of absinthe to enhance its mysterious and haunting qualities.


A few good options for Waverly are:

  • Brockmans
  • Silent Pool Gin
  • Hendrick's Gin

Learn everything on which Gin to choose

Whiskey (2 oz)

Whiskey is the backbone of the 'Waverly,' providing a rich and complex base. If the amount is increased, the cocktail might become too strong and overpower the other flavors. Decreasing it could make the drink too weak and unbalanced. An alternative spirit like bourbon would add a sweeter, more vanilla-rich profile.

Alex Green

Lemon Juice (0.75 oz)

This brings a bright acidity to the mix, balancing the sweetness of the syrup and liqueur. Too much could make the cocktail too tart, while too little would make it cloying. Lime juice could be an alternative, offering a slightly different citrus zing.

Emma Rose

Ginger Liqueur (0.5 oz)

It adds a sweet and spicy kick, giving the drink a unique edge. More liqueur would increase the ginger’s dominance, possibly overshadowing other flavors. Less would weaken the ginger's impact. A splash of ginger syrup or freshly grated ginger could substitute in a pinch, altering the sweetness and spice level.

Mary Mitkina

Simple Syrup (0.5 oz)

The sweetener that balances the acidity of the lemon juice. If overused, the cocktail becomes too sweet, while too little won't balance the tartness of the lemon. Honey syrup could replace the simple syrup for a more floral sweetness.

Alex Green

Angostura Bitters (2 dashes)

Bitters are the magic touch, adding depth and complexity. Missing out on the bitters would result in a less nuanced drink. Orange or aromatic bitters can be used as an alternative, slightly altering the flavor profile.

Emma Rose

Orange Peel (1)

A swath of orange peel expressed over the drink releases oils that add a fragrant citrus aroma, enhancing the sensory experience. Omitting this means missing out on an aromatic dimension. A lemon peel could be used for a different citrus note.

Mary Mitkina

Cherry (Garnish)

The cherry doesn’t just look pretty; it imparts a subtle fruity finish if you choose to eat it at the end. Without it, the cocktail would lack its iconic garnish, but the overall flavor profile would remain mostly unchanged. An alternative garnish like a lemon twist would provide a different fragrance and aesthetic.

Alex Green

Recipe. How to make Waverly Drink

  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine the whiskey, lemon juice, ginger liqueur, simple syrup, and Angostura bitters.
  2. Fill the shaker with ice and shake well for about 10 seconds.
  3. Strain the mixture into a chilled coupe glass.
  4. Express the orange peel over the drink by holding it over the glass and giving it a good twist to release the oils. Discard the peel.
  5. Garnish with a cherry, either on a cocktail pick or dropped into the drink.

Pro Tips

  • Use fresh lemon juice for a brighter, more vibrant flavor.
  • Chill your glass before serving to keep your cocktail colder for longer.
  • Experiment with different types of whiskey to find the flavor profile you prefer.

Perfect Pairings


  • Charcuterie Boards: The spicy and sweet notes of the 'Waverly' accentuate the savory flavors of cured meats and aged cheeses.
  • Sushi: Specifically rolls that include a touch of heat, like a spicy tuna roll, to complement the ginger undertones.
  • Roasted Nuts: Especially almonds or pecans, which can echo the woody notes from the whiskey.

Main Courses

  • Grilled Steak: The robust flavor of whisky pairs well with hearty red meat.
  • BBQ Pork: The sweetness of the simple syrup and ginger liqueur can enhance the smokiness of barbecue.


  • Lemon Tart: The lemon in the cocktail brings harmony to citrus-based desserts.
  • Dark Chocolate: The bitterness of dark chocolate contrasts pleasantly with the cocktail's sweetness.

Non-Alcoholic Pairings

  • Sparkling Water: It's a refreshing palate cleanser between sips of the cocktail.
  • Ginger Ale: Echoes the ginger notes in the cocktail for those who want a non-alcoholic option with a similar profile.

🍹 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 Waverly

  • Whiskey: Can be substituted with bourbon or rye.
  • Ginger liqueur: Can be substituted with a homemade ginger syrup or non-alcoholic ginger beer.
  • Simple syrup: Can be substituted with honey or agave syrup.

Explore all drinks starting with W here

And of course - twists🍹

Smoky Waverly

  • Substitute whiskey with mezcal for a smoky version.
  • Use honey syrup instead of simple syrup to complement the smokiness.
  • Add a pinch of smoked salt. This version introduces a smoky profile which marries the sweetness of honey and the spiciness of ginger, perfect for those who want a touch of rustic flair in their drink.

Spiced Waverly

  • Infuse the whiskey with cinnamon sticks for a few days before making the cocktail.
  • Add a small amount of apple cider to enhance the spiced character.
  • Garnish with a cinnamon stick. This twist offers a warmer, spiced alternative, ideal for fall or winter nights, giving a nod to classic holiday flavors.

Herbal Waverly

  • Include a sprig of rosemary or basil in the shaker.
  • Replace ginger liqueur with St-Germain for a floral note.
  • Use a sprig of rosemary as garnish. The introduction of herbs and floral liqueur provides a garden-fresh take on the original, great for an invigorating summer refreshment.

In case you forgot basics how to make Waverly

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

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 Waverly

What type of whiskey is recommended for a Waverly cocktail?

While any high-quality whiskey can be used, traditionally a Kentucky bourbon is used due to the cocktail's origin from Louisville, Kentucky.

Can a Waverly cocktail be served on the rocks?

Yes, a Waverly cocktail can indeed be served on the rocks, although traditionally it is served in a chilled coupe glass.

Are there any themed variations of the Waverly cocktail for special events like Halloween?

Given its association with the haunted Waverly Hills Sanatorium, the Waverly cocktail could certainly be given a spooky twist for events like Halloween. For instance, you could use black vodka or add a spooky garnish like a gummy worm.

What is a good non-alcoholic substitute for whiskey in a Waverly cocktail?

You could use a whiskey-flavoured syrup or a smoky tea as a non-alcoholic substitute for whiskey in a Waverly cocktail.

Can I make a larger batch of the Waverly cocktail for parties?

Yes, the Waverly cocktail recipe can be scaled up to make larger quantities for parties. Make sure to adjust all the ingredients proportionately.

More similar recipes to Waverly!

Explore new cocktails you'd love!

Please rate this recipe