5 Classic Whisky Cocktails Every Adult Should Know

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You now know how to drink whisky and have mastered the art of drinking it neat. Now it’s time for classic whisky cocktails.

But now we have the controversy of cocktails. Cocktails are so hot right now and whisky purists will say that quality whisky is best enjoyed neat or with the tiniest bit of water.

Why do we need to argue? It’s great both ways.

Today we’re continuing the conversation with Canadian Club 100% rye – a Canadian product (yay!) that is distilled and aged at a single distillery in Alberta.

But I’ve also had fantastic whiskey exploring restaurants in Dublin and there’s no denying it’s one of the best things to pair with Scottish foods.
 
 

 
Whiskey on the rocks in two glasses on a dark background

How to Make Classic Whisky Cocktails

I made all of these whisky cocktails at home, without any special equipment or much effort. If I can make them, so can you!

But first…How to Make a Simple Syrup

Many classic whisky cocktails include simple syrup. People shy away from this because they think it’s just another thing they have to buy. 
 

 
Making a syrup just for cocktails sounds complicated but it’s really simple…hence the term simple syrup.

Over medium-low heat put equal parts of water and white sugar into a saucepan and stir. Once the sugar has dissolved into the water remove from the heat and let cool.

Voila!
 
 

 
Classic whisky cocktails like this Manhattan are so easy to make. Here are the top 5 cocktails using whisky that every adult should know.

The Manhattan Cocktail

The Manhattan is one of five cocktails named for the five boroughs in New York, but no one seems to know much about the Bronx, Brooklyn, Staten Island or Queens cocktail.

Maybe the popularity was that it gives a reason to eat a maraschino cherry as there’s not many reasons in life unless you’re eating Christmas cherry balls or for some strange reason drinking a Shirley Temple.

The Manhattan is flexible. You can have it stirred and strained into a cocktail glass with a Maraschino cherry or if you want to be less dainty, it works well on ice in a low ball glass. Serve straight or on the rocks.

The following is a dry rye manhattan.

2 oz Canadian Club Chairman’s Select™ 100% Rye
1 oz dry vermouth
1 dash Angostura bitters
1 dash simple syrup
lemon peel
Zest lemon peel over rim of glass.
 
 

 
Classic whisky cocktails like this old fashioned are so easy to make. Here are the top 5 cocktails using whisky that every adult should know.

Old Fashioned Cocktail

Every reference to the invention of this cocktail is that legend says it was created at the Pendennis Club in Louisville, Kentucky.

It is traditionally served in a short tumbler glass, which is often called an Old Fashioned glass. These Glaskey whiskey glasses are much nicer than what I used in the photo above.

2 dashes Angostura butters
1 tsp simple syrup
2.5 oz Canadian Club Chairman’s Select 100% Rye
2-3 ice cubes
orange peel to garnish

Combine first 4 ingredients, stirring thoroughly. Squeeze orange peel to release orange zest oil and drop into drink.
 
 

 
Classic whisky drinks like this mint julep are so easy to make. Here's one on a dark background.

The Mint Julep

The very idea of the mint julep conjures up images of the Old South.

Perhaps this is because the mint julep is the cocktail of the Kentucky Derby where over 120,000 mint julep cocktails are consumed each year.

It’s often served in high ball glass or a sterling and pewter julep cup, which is similar to the Moscow Mule copper mug.

3 sprigs of fresh mint
3 tbsp simple syrup
2oz Canadian Club Chairman’s Select 100% Rye
crushed ice

Muddle the 1 sprig mint along with the Canadian Club and simple syrup. Strain into glass, add crushed ice and garnish with mint.
 
 

 
Classic whisky drinks like this old fashioned are so easy to make. Here are the top 5 cocktails using whisky that every adult should know.

Hot Toddy

There’s nothing like a warm drink in cold weather. Although this classic whisky cocktail wasn’t always a warm drink. Invented in the mid-1800s a toddy was any choice of spirits, water and honey that would cure whatever ailed you.

Today it’s almost always served warm and while it’s questionable whether it will help your cold you can guarantee it will warm you up. If you have a sweet tooth I think it would go so well with this Irish Apple Cake with Whiskey Cream.

The only thing that could make a classic hot toddy better would be the addition of spice like a dash of sriracha or gochujang

2oz Canadian Club Chairman’s Select 100% Rye
2 tsp honey
1 cloves
dash of freshly ground nutmeg
1 slice lemon to garnish

Place ingredients in mug and pour in hot water. Stir to combine.
 
 

 
Classic whisky drinks like this whisky sour are so easy to make. Here are the top 5 cocktails using whisky that every adult should know.

Whiskey Sour

The whisky sour is similar to the pisco sour recipe, replacing pisco with whisky.

Sours generally include frothy raw egg white, such as one of my favourite Empress gin cocktails. This makes some people uncomfortable. But, I served many pisco sours working at a hostel bar in Cuzco and no one had any issues.
 

MAKE IT AT HOME: Boston Sour

 
Salmonella is not common in Canada. The key is to use fresh, quality eggs. That said if you are hesitant to incorporate raw egg it’s perfectly fine to omit it.

2 oz Canadian Club Chairman’s Select 100% Rye
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp simple syrup
1 egg white

Shake all ingredients vigorously, which will froth the egg white. Pour into your favourite glass. 

It’s traditionally served in a low ball glass but I think the frothiness and maraschino lends itself to a more elegant glass.

 
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post from Canadian Club, they did not request that we write about classic whisky cocktails, only to share what we thought readers would be most interested in – and with this colder weather we know many have cocktails on their minds.

Pin it For Later: Cocktails with Whisky

 

Join the Conversation

  1. I enjoy the ‘Canadian Tuxedo’
    2 oz rye
    1/2 oz triple sec
    1 oz lemon juice
    1 egg white

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I’ve never heard of this. Does it come in a denim glass?

      1. dave mcmillan says:

        Old Fashioned like me

    2. I like a nice Ricky…with lime the way it’s done

    3. neil e williamson says:

      sorry for me just a good rye and a bit of ginger and winter a hot toddy

  2. Andy Thomas says:

    Has to be a Manhatten!!

  3. Colleen Brynn says:

    Oh, I am definitely a Manhattan gal all the way, so I’m glad it was on this list!

  4. Samantha | My Kitchen Love says:

    Hot Toddy in the Winter and Mint Julep in the Summer. All of them are SO good though. And I also love rye with boiled ginger ale … weird I know, but my Irish grandfather used to make me drink it when I was sick and so now I have to have it whenever I’m unwell.

  5. Whisky sours are my favourite – send me a sour flight and I’m in heaven!

  6. Fiona Maclean says:

    Nice round up. I love a good Old Fashioned but never knew how to make it. Similarly – hot toddy.

  7. OMG you make me want to dive into a cocktail bar right now! I am more a fan of mules, but whisky sours are great :> Actually going to head into a new cocktail bar in Antwerp this afternoon. Will let you know how it goes.

  8. Amy Heffernan says:

    My favorite whisky cocktail is called The Raymond Massey. Made with rye, ginger syrup, and champagne. MMM so delish!! Thanks!
    Happy Holidays!
    Email–> [email protected]

  9. Manuel Vizcaya says:

    Whiskey Sour

  10. My personal favorite for the holiday season is the Hot Tody – but with a twist.

    I use a chili infused honey instead of regular honey – it gives it a spicy kick to pair off with the sweetness. Bee’s Knees spicy honey is the best.

  11. My favourite is with good ol Coca cola

  12. Ann Corston says:

    Hot Toddy sounds goodnight about now

  13. I love the hot toddy.

  14. Cathy Oppedisano says:

    My favourite is The Manhattan Cocktail. Cheers.

  15. Edith Robinson says:

    I’m an Old Fashioned girl at heart! So classic!

  16. Mike Gillespie says:

    Definitely an old fashioned!

  17. SYLVAIN GOULET says:

    Manhatten!!

  18. kevin snyder says:

    Just Rye and Dark Ginger Ale, Yum, Yum

  19. gloria konelsky says:

    Haven’t had a whiskey Sour for ages-sounds good!

  20. Dave Sloane says:

    The Old-Fashioned, hands down

  21. I like an Old Fashioned.

  22. Some great cocktail recipies

  23. I love a Mint Julep. So refreshing!

  24. I Never thought I’d like a whiskey cocktail, but I like an Irish coffee!

  25. barbara hardie says:

    I like whiskey and club soda….

  26. Debbie Bashford says:

    Rye and water with a dash of lemon

  27. Aaron McQuinn says:

    Old Fashioned Cocktail. thx for the chance!

  28. I enjoy a mint julep on a hot summer’s day and in the winter love a hot toddy especially when i’m feeling under the weather like now thanks!

  29. Mary Warner says:

    I’m an old fashioned lady who loves old fashioneds.

  30. Barbara Dye says:

    I like whiskey sours…..been years….

  31. Canadian Club over ice period

  32. stephan macleod says:

    old fashioned

  33. Brett Mathieson says:

    Gonna go try a Hot Toddy

  34. My drink of choice is the Manhattan, although I am also partial to Whiskey Sours when the weather is warmer,

  35. I would have to say my fave is the Manhattan Cocktail!

  36. DOMinic cloutier says:

    Rye and ginger is good enough for me

  37. Whiskey Sour 🙂

  38. Clare O'Brien says:

    I’m a hot toddy fan…especially in this freezing cold weather!

  39. M. Archambeau says:

    I’m partial toa whiskey sour.

  40. Hot Toddy for me, please! <3

  41. We concocted one while camping using minimal resources, but it’s delicious!

    Whiskey (as much as you want)
    Splash of water
    Splash of maple syrup

    We named it a “Mattawa”

  42. Theresa Jones says:

    I enjoy a Great Whiskey Sour

  43. RONALD péladeau says:

    2oz.c.c.whisky, ice cubes,a tad of pepsi…that’s it….

  44. RONALD péladeau says:

    2oz.c.c.whisky, ice cubes,a tad of pepsi…that’s it….

  45. Mixed with Canada Dry gingerale!

  46. Manhattan

  47. Debby Kulchar says:

    i love a Whiskey Sour

  48. I enjoy a whiskey sour

  49. Lyndsay Harris says:

    Whisky sours all the way!! Yes, please!!

  50. Lucretia Flemming says:

    Simply rye and coke (but has to be coca-cola) – delicious!!!

  51. Not even a question….a Manhattan will solve just about any of my woes 🙂

  52. nicoleroannef says:

    Nothing beats a Manhattan garnished with an Amarena cherry.

  53. Aarone Mawdsley says:

    whisky sour

  54. Chantelle Alvey says:

    Hot Toddy

  55. Imran Rashid Khan says:

    RUST AND BONE

    CEDAR-INFUSED BOURBON
    NONINO QUINTESSENTIA AMARO
    BENEDICTINE

  56. Andy Armstrong says:

    Pisco sour comes to life with whiskey!

  57. Twyla Ursaki says:

    Whisky Sour!

  58. My favourite cocktail is a Whiskey Sour.

  59. I like the mint julep!

  60. Roger Miller says:

    Whiskey Sour

  61. Hot toddy for the win! It’s perfect for the holiday season – who can say no to a festive drink?

  62. United Airlines toll free and reservation Number says:

    Great post. Amazing classic whisky cocktails you shared. Thanks for sharing it.

  63. Sherry Fraser says:

    Manhattan for me please!

  64. Nothing beats a good Whiskey Sour to satisfy my need for a cocktail.

  65. Rick Wilson says:

    Whiskey sour for sure.

  66. whiskey sour!

  67. Renee Lacasse says:

    Sorry, I don’t like whiskey!

  68. Whisky Sour – I remember most of these drinks from my old bartending days.

  69. Jo-anne Snyder says:

    Manhatten – or as we like to call it – Jet Fuel!!

  70. I love wisky sour. The only problem is they evaporate to quick. LOL

  71. Why I do believe I could do with a Mint Julep y’all.

  72. classic Manhattan

  73. Elaine Beierbach says:

    I am the Manhatten girl – loved my visit there too.

  74. Dennis Beierbach says:

    I take the Old Fashioned.

  75. I like the Whiskey Sour

  76. I would say Brain Duster is my favourite. Had this a couple of times, and you can’t or shouldn’t do more than a few!!!

    1 ounce whiskey — rye whisky
    1 ounce absinthe
    1 ounce vermouth — Italian vermouth
    1 dash Bitters — Angostura bitters

  77. marshall laviolette says:

    love whiskey sour

  78. Jayne Cameron says:

    I like to drink Whiskey on Ice

  79. Rye pressed.

  80. Veronica McCallum says:

    The Whiskey Sour made my mouth water! I had forgotten what a great drink that is! Cheers!

  81. Rosemary Peach Maple Leaf
    1/4 of a peach, chopped, plus a few slices for garnish
    1 1/2 tablespoons rosemary maple simple syrup (below)
    1 tablespoon strained lemon juice
    1/4 cup rye whiskey (preferably Redemption Rye)
    tiny pinch smoked sea salt
    ice
    rosemary sprig for garnish
    sparkling water or club soda, optional

    Muddle together the chopped peach, rosemary maple simple syrup, lemon juice, rye, and salt in a measuring cup or glass. Strain the mixture into a tumbler filled with ice, pressing on the fruit pulp to get out all the good stuff. Garnish with the peach slices and rosemary sprig. If you like your drink a little lighter, top it with a splash of sparkling water or club soda.
    Rosemary Maple Simple Syrup

    Makes about 1 cup, enough for 10 drinks

    3/4 cup lightly packed rosemary leaves (from about 10 sprigs), roughly chopped
    1/2 cup (5 3/4 ounces by weight) maple syrup
    1/2 cup water

    Combine the rosemary, maple syrup, and water together in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, then cover and steep for at least 15 – 30 minutes. Strain the mixture though a fine-mesh sieve, pressing on the rosemary to extract all the liquid. Discard the rosemary. Chill the syrup until cold, 1 hour (or mix your drinks right away if you just can’t wait). The syrup will keep, refrigerated, for at least several weeks.

  82. thomas rusinak says:

    I like dark rum and coke..a navy maritime tradition!

  83. I like a nice whiskey sour.

  84. Cassay Miller says:

    Mint Julip is refreshingly delicious

  85. stephen gordon says:

    Manhatten is my fav definitely. Cheers Merry Christmas and happy new year.

  86. I always go for a Manhattan mmmm good

  87. Irene Leung says:

    Mine is the Manhattan with ice! Simply smooth.

  88. Old Fashioned Cocktail is the way to go ’cause I’m an old fashioned kind of guy!

  89. My favourite is the Hot Toddy, because it warms me up on cold frosty nights.

  90. The classic Mint Julep is so refreshing on a hot summer day with lots of fresh mint.

  91. I love a good whisky sour!

  92. Gord Slater says:

    I’m fond of Dr. Jim, which is jim Beam and Dr Pepper

  93. I like a whiskey sour

  94. I typically drink my whiskey straight but if I need to make a cocktail a whiskey sour or whiskey and soda hits the spot.

  95. Jasmine Veljanova says:

    Old Fashioned Cocktail

  96. kristen visser says:

    My favorite Whiskey Cocktails are Manhattan and Sazerac

  97. good ol whiskey sour

  98. Hot Toddy

  99. dennis kiefhaber says:

    Just a good whisky like CC Chairman Select on the rocks!!!

  100. Brenda Smith says:

    Always the ”Old Fashion”

  101. Joanne Saunders says:

    All the drinks look awesome and delicious but I think I would like to stick to the yummy Whisky Sour drink.

  102. Manhattan!

  103. Rye in hot lemon tea after skiing or snowshoeing. Yum!

  104. I don’t drink but the drinks sound great…

  105. i wonder what a caipirinha would taste like with bacon added?

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Now that is a very good question.

  106. Rosanne Robinson says:

    My favorite whisky cocktail is a hot toddy with lots of whiskey & cloves, and my hubby enjoys a Manhatten on the rocks.

  107. I love a Hot Toddy on a crisp winter’s day.

  108. i love manhattans

  109. I love a well made whisky sour!

  110. Love a whiskey sour!

  111. nancy stokell says:

    Manhatten

  112. john stokell says:

    Whisky Sour

  113. shirley schoyen says:

    ”Old Fashion”

  114. dean peterson says:

    Manhattan!

  115. lori stokell says:

    Manhattan!

  116. Old Fashioned, 100%, mmmmm. It’s only 8am, but I can already dream about what I’ll be drinking later. :p

  117. janine willingham says:

    whiskey sour, I love the pucker

  118. I love me a good Old Fashioned.

  119. Jameson Holman says:

    Whiskey sours have been my favourite since my undergraduate days in university!

  120. Debbie Browne says:

    My favorite is the hot toddy, great on a cool night, sitting around the campfire, or when your are feeling under the weather. I guess that means they are good any time!

  121. Whisky sours are my favourite

  122. Sara Farquhar says:

    Whisky sour!

  123. Sophia Koutsikaloudis says:

    whiskey sour

  124. WHISKY SOUR!

  125. from the list above the mint julep sounds yummy.
    at home we have whiskey with a crab apple mix.

  126. Whiskey-add ice cubes to taste. Done. Why mess with a good thing?

  127. Antonia Paradis says:

    Irish Car
    Bomb

  128. Rye and Ginger, with a twist of lime!

  129. Gingey Bites says:

    These look delicious although I’m not that good with whisky! The hot toddy would get my vote, especially when I’m full of cold!

  130. Jake Jackson says:

    It would have to be the Manhattan! Especially at this time of year!

  131. Patrick Armstrong says:

    Whiskey Sour!

  132. Calla Cooper says:

    I enjoy a Rob Roy.

  133. delfina trevisan says:

    a hot toddy for those cold northern ontario days

  134. Robbin Risley says:

    I’m a recently converted fan of the Old Fashioned, so that’s the first drink I’d make with this prize!

  135. Bailey Dexter says:

    I love a Raymond Massey! A great pick me up with the ginger!

  136. Kevin Linkie says:

    Favorite whiskey cocktails are the Manhattan, Whiskey Sour and Hot Toddy.

  137. Mint Julep!

  138. I like Snickertini
    1/2 ounce Baileys Irish Cream liqueur
    1 1/2 ounces Van Gogh Dutch Caramel Vodka
    1/2 ounce chocolate liqueur
    1/2 ounce amaretto
    Splash of cream

    Mmmm…. sweet.

  139. Nothing better than a nice hot toddy during the holidays ?

  140. Wow!! Just an amazing article for adults should know on whisky. Great Post!

  141. You listed 2 of my favorites – Whisky Sour & Old Fashioned.
    My favorite is actually a brandy but pretty sure its a Whisky still ( not sure whats the difference??) …anyways..*METAXA* with Orange juice or a shot with a Orange slice but be careful it packs a punch!!

  142. Jennifer Ann Wilson says:

    Whiskey sour is my all time favourite!

  143. Margaux Peck says:

    For me, it’s got to be a Manhattan. However, I like to substitute the Angostura bitters for Cherry bitters instead.

  144. Rebecca Freer says:

    Whiskey Sour. I used to drink these all the time in University.

  145. Old Fashioned gall all the way!

  146. The old fashioned is my favourite. Classic and delicious.

  147. Cassandrea Gascoyne says:

    A hot toddy would be my choice – but recently from a trip to NOLA we discovered the Sazerac, using Sazerac Rye – tried it with Canadian Whisky and it’s just as good!! Great roundup of classic whisky cocktails!!

  148. Love whiskey on ice

  149. Rosita Eizenshtein says:

    My fav is Hot Toddy!!!

  150. brianne sheppard says:

    mint julep!

  151. Randall Wong says:

    Rye and coke

  152. Debby Kulchar says:

    i like a Lynchburg Lemonade
    1 part Jack Daniel’s® Tennessee whiskey
    1 part sweet and sour mix
    1 part triple sec
    4 parts Sprite® soda

  153. My favorite is the Hot Toddy

  154. My morning special drink. Coffee, whiskey, bit of maple syrup, whip cream and a drizzle of chocolate syrup over top.

  155. Whiskey sour

  156. Gayan-Traveler says:

    Wow ! Amazing Cocktails..! The mint julep sound cool 😀

  157. Gina Fleury says:

    I like Manhattans.

  158. Brandon Sousa says:

    I love a good Old Pal.

    One part Rye whiskey
    One part dry Vermouth
    One part Campari

  159. Whisky Sour

  160. Carolyn Rutley says:

    A good old hot toddy….or just neat but then that isn’t a cocktail I guess 🙂

  161. Connie Bocsik says:

    Whisky sour.. and right now a hot toddy cause I am sick with a nasty cold 🙂

  162. Ryan Frohlich says:

    I would have to go with Whiskey Sour as my favourite drink, besides a good Whiskey on the rocks.

  163. Freya Potter says:

    I love traditional Pisco Sours with egg white, Caipirinahs, and of course my all time favourite…. Old Fashioned. Cant beat the taste of those bitters. YUM.

  164. David Passmore says:

    The Manhattan is the classic rye cocktail.

  165. Rye with Ginger ale with Lime ,Ice and a pinch of Nut meg

  166. Cynthia Thomas says:

    The Manhattan for me

  167. Linda Bragg says:

    I just like my Canadian Club with 7 up or sprite.

  168. The Manhattan Cocktail for me..I discovered it about 10 years ago and it has become my favourite

  169. Martine Chenier says:

    Whisky sour

  170. Catherine Burke says:

    I like the Manhattan cocktail – please & thanks. – Especially when in Manhattan 🙂

  171. My favourite is a Manhattan, but with sweet vermouth.

  172. My favorite is definitely a whiskey sour. Yum!

  173. Joan Brown says:

    My favourite is a hot toddy, especially when it is cold outside.

  174. Bev Robbeson says:

    On a cold day like this there is nothing like a hot toddy. However, no matter what day a nice glass of whiskey with a bit of Ginger Ale is just lovely.

  175. hot toddy please

  176. Shelley Butcher says:

    At this time of year a hot toddy along with a book and a blanket in front of the fireplace is perfection!

  177. all of the recipes u posted are delicious….we love our whisky in our house and make drinks often for ourselves and guests too. but for me i have to say the whisky sour is one of my favorites..;)

  178. stephanie caddick says:

    Old Fashioned

  179. A plain old rye and ginger is my favorite but a hot toddy would be delightful right now since it’s a chilly one outside tonight!!!

  180. Whisky Sour is my favorite. Delicious….

  181. Lucy kabatoff says:

    Whiskey Sour

  182. I love a whiskey sour

  183. Lombok Wander Tour and Travel says:

    love delicious drink

  184. Hot Toddy! Or on a hot day, mint julep 🙂

  185. Hot Toddy it’s chilly outside

  186. Mike Gillis says:

    I am partial to the Rye & Ginger, but is has to be real rye whiskey!

  187. The Manhattan Cocktail is my favorite !!!

  188. Stephanie LaPlante says:

    I love my Canadian Club with Coke

  189. MARGARET TRAMBLE says:

    I have always like the whiskey sour and the manhatten

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Me too, its so tough to decide.

  190. All time favorite Manhattan Cocktail. I love my Canadian Club. Thanks for sharing your information.

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