Whiskey is a fermented and distilled spirit that encompasses numerous recipes, ingredients, traditions, and processes. Most kinds of whiskey are aged in oak barrels, but the fermentation, distillation, and aging process varies widely.
Younger whiskeys have a stronger alcoholic flavor, with longer aging producing smoother sipping whiskeys. Regardless of how alcohol-forward a whiskey may be, they all offer a rich flavor profile with an unmistakably smokey finish.
Many aged whiskeys are made for sipping neat or on the rocks, but whiskey’s complex flavor and diversity make for some of the best cocktails in the world.
If you’re looking for the best whiskey mixers, I’ve compiled the following list that encompasses both classic and novel mixers to try.
Try mixing your favorite whiskey with these mixers for a quick two ingredient whiskey cocktails.
Ginger ale is a manufactured soda that combines ginger flavor with carbonated water and sugar.
Not only does it taste great as a cocktail, but its well-known use as a nausea remedy will help cure a whisky hangover!
Ginger Ale adds a spicy, fizzy kick that complements the richness and smokiness inherent in whiskey.
There’s no more classic pairing for whiskey than Coca-Cola.
Whiskey and coke has been a staple cocktail in the Deep South since the invention of modern coca cola at the turn of the 20th century.
The most popular whiskey for a whiskey coke is Jack Daniels. Jack Daniels even sells a proprietary canned mixed drink of Jack and coke.
You can also try different flavored Coca Cola to mix up your usual cocktail!
Sweet vermouth is itself an alcoholic beverage consisting of wine, herbs, and spices.
Sweet vermouth is a red wine and herb concoction originating in Italy, with a crisp, bitter finish and a sweet and spicy palate.
Sweet vermouth is the key ingredient in the most famous classic whiskey cocktails, including Negronis, Manhattans, and Americanos.
Not to be confused with ginger ale, ginger beer is an actual fermented brew using whole ingredients.
At its most basic, ginger beer is the fermentation of sugar, ginger, and water.
However, many modern ginger beer brands use yeast extracted from fermented ginger and sugar as the base for the beer.
Ginger beer can be carbonated or not, with a much stronger, heftier flavor than ginger ale. I like using ginger beer in an Irish Ale cocktail.
Club soda is carbonated water infused with potassium, sodium, disodium phosphate, and sodium bicarbonate.
The high mineral content makes for a saltier, more mineralized flavor.
Salt is the ultimate flavor agent, helping to complement and bring out the flavor in anything you pair with it.
Thus, club soda and whiskey will enhance the underlying flavor notes in whiskey while giving it a nice, carbonated finish.
Another Italian spirit, Amaro is a popular digestive liqueur made from aging a mixture of alcohol, sugar, herbs, bark, and citrus.
Each Italian region has its proprietary recipe, but they all offer a bitter, slightly sweet flavor profile that ranges in alcohol content from 14% to 40%.
Amaro can be used interchangeably with bitter liqueurs like Campari in a Negroni or angostura bitters in a Manhattan.
Orange juice is arguably the most popular juice in the world.
Its sweet and tart flavor is as popular a breakfast drink as it is a cocktail mixer.
Many times, it combines the two with cocktails like mimosas and screwdrivers.
Orange juice as a whiskey mixer is just as delicious as its pairing with champagne or vodka.
The sweet and tart juice stands up well to the spicy and smokey whiskey finish.
Bitters come in countless varieties, made from macerating herbs in alcohol.
Bitters are the ultimate digestive, originally used in tonics to help digestion by inducing salivation.
Bitters mixed with soda water is a popular drink by itself.
I know you might be wondering what the difference between club soda and soda water is, but I assure you there’s a difference!
While club soda is mineralized, soda water is simply carbonated water with no minerals.
Thus, a whiskey soda cocktail waters down a strong whiskey flavor while also lightening it up with carbonation.
A summertime favorite, lemonade is a bright and cheerful beverage that is a crowd-pleasing thirst quencher.
Incidentally, it also makes the perfect spirit mixer. Sweet and tart is the perfect complement to Whiskey’s spicy and smokey flavor profile.
I like to make honey lemonade for whiskey cocktails as the honey adds an even more complex flavor pairing than sugar.
Coffee is the ultimate bitter mixer to stand up to whiskey’s smokey richness.
Spiking coffee with booze isn’t just a dubious hair of the dog remedy but a comforting cocktail that packs some extra heat.
There’s no whiskey and coffee cocktail more delicious than Irish coffee, combining Irish whiskey, strong dark roast coffee, heavy cream, and brown sugar.
A fancy word for lemonade, sour mix is a blend of tart citrus and simple syrup that underlies every “sour” cocktail.
Most sour mixes combine lemon and lime with sugar and water.
There are countless bottled sour mixes for sale, but I recommend making your own from freshly squeezed juices for the best Whiskey Sour cocktail.
Grapefruit juice is a more sophisticated whiskey mixer than orange juice or lemonade, as it has a greater depth of flavor.
It’s the perfect trifecta of sweet, sour, and bitter. You can even make a sour mix with grapefruit for a more elegant, less sweet Whiskey Sour.
My favorite use of grapefruit juice in a whiskey cocktail is this Old Fashioned Paloma.
Lemon-lime soda offers all the qualities of lemonade and club soda combined.
It’s sweet, sour, fizzy, and slightly salty. Whether it’s Sprite or the generic store-bought soda, lemon-lime soda is a staple mixer for any bartender.
My favorite whiskey pairing for lemon-lime soda is Jack Daniels in the famous Lynchburg Lemonade cocktail.
Cranberry juice has a uniquely rich flavor and a velvety texture.
It is the perfect mixer for fall-inspired drink recipes, combining wonderfully with citrus, ginger, and fall herbs and spices.
You could also boil cranberry juice with sugar and water to create a cranberry sour mix.
I showcase cranberry juice in a cranberry whiskey ginger cocktail for my Thanksgiving guests.
- Ginger Ale
- Sweet Vermouth
- Ginger Beer
- Club Soda
- Orange Juice
- Cocktail Bitters
- Soda Water
- Sour Mix
- Grapefruit Juice
- Lemon-Lime Soda
- Cranberry Juice
What Do You Mix With Your Whiskey?
Tell us your favorite whiskey mixer from this list, or tell us how you like to drink whiskey in the comments!
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