Whiskey is a fabulous liquor on its own, but sometimes you want to change things up a bit and make a mixed drink with whiskey.
But with so many mixer options, it can get confusing to figure out which one would be best for the specific outcome you wish to achieve with your drink.
Whether you’re looking for something to make your whiskey stronger or just something to make it taste better, we’ve got you covered. Here are the top 10 things to mix with whiskey.
What to Mix With Whiskey to Increase the Alcohol Potency
Whiskey is already a strong drink, with an ABV of 40% – 50% depending on the specific type and brand.
But if you’re looking to get drunk quickly, increase the alcoholic flavor of your drink, or celebrate the underlying notes of your favorite bottle, there are a few things you can mix with it to make it taste even stronger.
One option is adding a little hard liquor like vodka or white rum. This will increase the alcohol content of your drink without changing the flavor too much.
However, given that vodka, rum, and whiskey have similar ABV, it can be a bit risky to continue mixing them in the same drinks. That said, choosing alcohol to mix with a lower ABV, like beer, might be a better option.
Cocktails that combine different alcohol include Pickle & Pint (whiskey and beer), Felicitation Punch (whiskey and gin), and New York Sour (whiskey and wine).
You can also mix whiskey with coffee or popular energy drinks. The caffeine will give you a boost, and the sugar (either included or added on your own) will make the alcohol more potent.
The most popular energy drinks to mix with whiskey include Red Bull, Monster, and Rockstar. While you can mix whiskey with any coffee drink you want, hot brew tends to be the best option.
Be sure not to add too many of these drinks if you want to maintain the original flavors of the whiskey.
Caffeinated cocktails include Irish Coffee (whiskey and coffee), Whiskey Toddy (whiskey, tea, honey, and lemon), and Kentucky Coffee (whiskey and cola).
It may seem like water would decrease the alcoholic taste, but water can make whiskey taste more potent.
Adding a few drops of water can help break the surface tension of the drink. In other words, it brings concentrated flavor to the surface of the drink and increases the overall aroma.
Since smell plays a significant factor in how humans experience taste, adding water to whiskey can make it taste stronger.
Vermouth is a fortified wine used in classic cocktails like Martini, Manhattan, and Negroni.
It has a robust flavor that can not only stand up to the strong taste of whiskey but bring out the whiskey flavors and aromas you love.
So, if you want to only add a little bit more flavor to bring out the main flavors of your favorite whiskey, mix it with just a little bit of Vermouth. This will make the drink more complex without adding too much sweetness.
The most popular brands of Vermouth include Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth, Noilly Prat Extra Dry Vermouth, and Dolin Dry Vermouth.
Bitters are herbal extracts that are used to add flavor to cocktails. They are often made with roots, bark, and citrus peels.
You only need a few dashes of bitters, which are readily available at most liquor stores. Soon enough, you’ll be able to make simple yet elegant cocktails like an Old Fashioned (whiskey, sugar, bitters, and water) or a Boulevardier (whiskey, sweet Vermouth, and bitters).
Angostura Bitters are undoubtedly the most popular bitters, but other brands like Peychaud’s and Regan’s are also excellent.
What to Mix With Whiskey to Make it Taste Better
For whiskey lovers, high-quality whiskey has an exceptional taste. But if you’re working with a lower-quality whiskey or if you’re simply not a fan of the taste of whiskey, there are a few things you can mix with it to make it more delightful to drink.
6. Ginger Beer
One popular choice is ginger beer, which can help cut through the bitterness of the whiskey, and adds an attractive punch to your drink simultaneously.
The most common ginger beer and whiskey drink just require those two ingredients, and it’s called a Kentucky Mule. It’s essentially a Moscow Mule, but with whiskey instead of vodka. To make it even tastier, you can include mint and lime juice.
Adding milk or cream to whiskey will make it richer and more potent. This is because the fat in dairy slows down the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream.
Creamy cocktails made with whiskey include:
- Grasshopper (whiskey, mint, and cream).
- Whiskey Float (whiskey and ice cream).
- Irish Car Bomb (whiskey, Guinness, and Bailey’s Irish cream).
If you’re lactose intolerant or vegan, you can still get a similar taste and texture benefits of dairy whiskey cocktails by swapping milk and cream for alternatives like almond milk, coconut milk, and vegan cream.
8. Citrus Juice
Lemon, lime, and orange juice are other popular mixers for whiskey. The sweetness of the lemon juice can help to cut through the bitterness of the whiskey.
While they all have a similar effect, lemon will make the drink sourer, lime more tart, and orange sweeter.
Citrusy cocktails made with whiskey include Whiskey Sour (whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup), Bronx (whiskey, dry Vermouth, and orange juice), and Kentucky Mule (whiskey, ginger beer, and lime juice).
Coca-Cola is a classic mixer for whiskey, as well as many other types of liquor. The sweetness, carbonation, and subtle vanilla flavor of coca-cola do a fantastic job of helping whiskey taste more palatable.
A whiskey coke is a popular well drink because it’s simple and easy to make. You can also mix whiskey with diet cola for a lower-calorie option.
If you want to include a sweet touch without a carbonated beverage, you can mix whiskey with sweeteners like honey or simple syrup. These natural sweeteners will make the drink more pleasant to drink.
Bourbon whiskeys go exceptionally well with apple cider vinegar because the flavors of apple cider work with the underlying whiskey flavors instead of against it. Whiskeys with caramel, vanilla, and toffee flavor notes go exceptionally well with apple cider’s crisp, sweet, and earthy notes.
The most common cocktail made with whiskey and apple cider vinegar is simply called Whiskey and Apple Cider. Still, you can also add a splash of apple cider to classic whiskey cocktails like an Old Fashioned or Boulevardier.
Since there are so many great answers for what to mix with whiskey, we thought adding some honorable mentions to this list might be helpful.
The addition of vanilla can help to round out the flavor of whiskey and make it more smooth. You can add a few drops of vanilla extract to your whiskey, or you can use vanilla-flavored simple syrup.
Cinnamon is another popular choice for adding a woody, spicy flavor component to whiskey drinks. Just adding a few sprinkles can be a game-changer for your next whiskey cocktail.
Ginger ale is similar to ginger beer in taste but is simpler and does not have as much of a punch at the end, which some people prefer.
Lime is a great additional flavor to add to whiskey and ginger ale drinks because the tartness pairs well with the mild flavor of ginger ale.
Lemonade is another sweet and tart mixer that can help to make whiskey more palatable. You can use store-bought lemonade, but freshly-squeezed lemonade works even better.
Eggnog and whiskey are a classic holiday combination. Adding eggnog will make your whiskey drink richer, creamier, and sweeter.
If you want both a buzz and a pep in your step, try adding hot tea to your whiskey. Tea is more subtle than coffee and will help intensify the whiskey’s flavor while also giving you an energetic kick.
Maple syrup is another natural sweetener that you can use to make whiskey more delightful. The addition of maple syrup will also give your drink a slightly smoky flavor, which pairs well with smokier whiskey and scotch. If you’re a fan of maple sugar candy, you have to try adding a sweet or two to your whiskey drink!
There you have it! These are just several of the many great mixers you can use to make your whiskey shine or hide the taste so it goes down smoother.
These options vary widely in terms of taste and texture, but they all are popular choices for a good reason — they taste great with whiskey!
If you’ve ever wondered what to mix with whiskey or were looking for new options, we hope this article has helped you discover new ideas. Cheers!