A refreshing whiskey cocktail with balanced sweetness and a vibrant ginger kick that's so easy to make.
Imagine sipping a light bubbly cocktail with a hint of tart lemon and a base of whiskey that's been mellowed by the spicy zip of ginger beer.
And now, add the bright flavor of muddled berries, and the fresh smell of mint... that's a mighty fine drink.
Sweet, tart, and bubbly create such a great combination it's no wonder the Buck cocktail has stuck around.
The Bourbon Buck recipe
A "Buck" is a style of highball made with citrus, spirit, and ginger soda (either ginger beer or ginger ale).
So, if the base alcohol is bourbon and you add in some citrus and ginger ale, you've got yourself a bourbon buck.
Using fresh mint
A sprig of fresh mint is a lovely addition to the drink. It gives you a minty freshness with each sip and looks great in the glass. It's totally optional though.
The most famous Buck cocktail is the Moscow Mule made with vodka, lime and ginger beer. The Bourbon Buck switches the vodka for bourbon and then lime for lemon, simple as that.
Adding fresh fruit
The Bourbon Buck can certainly stand on its own with just lemon, ginger and whiskey, but the addition of muddled fruit really kicks things up a notch.
Raspberries, blackberries, or strawberries are delicious and give the drink a beautiful new color, and if you want to be more adventure try peaches or pineapple.
Ginger beer vs. ginger ale
Both are bubbly ginger sodas but they have a significant difference in flavor that will impact your finished cocktail, but either option makes a great whiskey buck.
- Ginger Beer: is brewed and fermented which gives it a spicy and earthy kick
- Ginger Ale: is a ginger flavored soda with mellow ginger notes that comes across as sweeter
If you want the drink to have a punchy ginger kick use ginger beer, and if you prefer a more mellow cocktail where the other ingredients come through more use ginger ale.
TIP: There are great brands for both options like Fever Tree, Fentiman's, and Reed's, but whatever you choose be sure it's been in the fridge so you keep your drink nice and cold.
Choosing the booze for a Whiskey Buck
Now that you know a Buck is just booze, citrus, and ginger soda you can play around with the base alcohol to make different types of Bucks.
Bourbon is nice because its sweet notes compliment the spice of the ginger, but rye, scotch, or Japanese whiskey would all work great too.
Make your own Buck cocktail variations
Such a simple recipe is the perfect base for experimenting, and that's one of the most fun parts about making drinks at home! We just discussed some options for switching out the base spirit and muddling in fruit, but there is certainly more you could change.
Try using different citrus like lime or grapefruit juice, and then maybe try that new citrus in combination with a muddled fruit
what is a kentucky buck?
The Kentucky Buck is a tasty version of a Bourbon Buck created by Eric Castro for his bar Polite Provisions.
He uses a homemade ginger syrup to ramp up the earthy ginger bite of the drink along with muddled strawberry and a few dashes of angostura bitters.
If you don't have ginger syrup you can still replicate the recipe closely by choosing a spicy ginger beer instead of ale.
Now make yourself a buck and relax, it won't disappoint.
Bourbon Buck Recipe
- 2 oz Bourbon
- 3/4 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1/2 oz Simple Syrup - 1:1 sugar to water
- Ginger Beer OR Ginger Ale
- 5 Rasberries - optional
- Mint for Garnish - optional
- Fill a highball glass with ice
- Add bourbon, lemon juice, and simple syrup to your cocktail shaker
- If using fresh fruit add it to the shaker and muddle it in the liquid ingredients
- Add ice and shake for 10-12 seconds
- Strain it into the cocktail glass
- Top with ginger ale or ginger beer and garnish
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