September 25, 2021

How to Make a Crazy Good Bourbon Buck

A refreshing whiskey cocktail with balanced sweetness and a vibrant ginger kick that's so easy to make.

Garnished Bourbon Buck cocktail

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.

garnishing a Whiskey Buck

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.

garnishing with fresh mint

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.

muddling the buck cocktail ingredients

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.

topping a bourbon buck with gingerale

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.

measuring bourbon whiskey

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.

squeezing fresh lemon juice for the buck

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

Or, try switching out the simple syrup for a more flavorful homemade option like pineapple, raspberry, or grenadine.

woman sipping a bourbon buck

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

A Whiskey Buck with tart lemon and a base of bourbon mellowed out by the spicy carbonation of ginger ale. It's a delicious highball cocktail


  • 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


Ginger beer creates a spicier ginger forward cocktail whereas ginger ale makes a more sweet and mellow drink.
If you choose to garnish with mint whack it on the palm of your hand a few times to release the oils for even more fresh mint smell.
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Course: Drinks
Servings: 1 drink
Tag me at @mydrinkinghobby when you make this!

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Bourbon Buck Pin

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