Hey there, cocktail enthusiasts and holiday merrymakers! If you’re ready to kick the festive vibes at your next holiday party up a notch, you’re in for a treat. We’re dishing out the recipes for these two show-stopping bourbon holiday cocktails that will bring cheer to your holiday gatherings and make even the most bourbon-hesitant partygoer say “wait, there’s bourbon in this?”
We just hosted our very first annual Louisville Food Tours holiday party, and created two custom bourbon holiday cocktails for the occasion. These recipes were taste-tested on our team of bourbon expert and foodie guides with refined palettes – so you know they’re up to snuff.
So get ready to cozy up with your loved ones (or people you don’t really like that much but feel a deep-seeded need to impress), grab your cocktail shaker, and let’s shake things up with a dash of bourbon magic. Cheers to spreading joy this holiday season!
The Holiday Sour
This play on a whiskey sour pairs bourbon with sweet, tart cranberry and spicy ginger, topped with foamy egg white. It’s the perfect festive drink for anyone who likes their cocktails a little tart and fruity, or fans of whiskey or pisco sours!
Here’s what you’ll need to make this bourbon holiday cocktail:
- 2 oz of your favorite bourbon
- 1 oz cranberry juice (we used Ocean Spray 100% cranberry)
- .5 oz lime juice
- .5 oz ginger simple syrup (made by steeping candied ginger in simple syrup)
- 1 egg white
Shake bourbon, juices, syrup, and egg white with ice vigorously in a cocktail shaker until the mixture is nice and foamy. Strain into a coup glass and top with a skewer of sugared cranberries.
The Old Fashioned Bonfire
This twist on the classic Old Fashioned – a Louisville original, you’re welcome everyone – plays off of two of bourbon’s sweet and aromatic notes: maple syrup and toasted marshmallow.
It’s smoky and sweet, with a hint of salt and fat that adds a richness and depth that’s hard to place but absolutely delicious.
That special something is thanks to a process called fat washing. For our Old Fashioned Bonfire, you’ll want to fat-wash your bourbon with bacon. It’ll add a salty richness that will pair amazingly with the sweet maple and smoky toasted marshmallow. Scroll down to find instructions for making fat washed bourbon below this recipe!
Here’s how to make the perfect bourbon holiday cocktail to sip by the fire on a chilly night:
- 3 oz bacon washed bourbon (we used Evan Williams Bottled in Bond)
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- 3 dashes Old Forester smoked cinnamon bitters
- Jumbo sized marshmallows
Mix the bourbon, maple syrup and bitters together (you can make a big batch ahead of time and store it at room temperature).
How to Fat Wash Bourbon with Bacon
Fat washing is, essnetially, taking your bourbon and adding something fatty to it. You can use any fat you like, but the best results are with something that will perfetly compliment your finished cocktail.
Here in Louisville, Kentucky, our absolute favorite example is the fat-washed Old Fashioned at Gertie’s Whiskey Bar, which is made with browned butter to bring out the nutty notes of the bourbon. (Psst: we visit Gertie’s on our Beyond the Barrel bourbon & food tour! They’re awesome.)
For our Old Fashioned Bonfire, you’ll be fat-washing your bourbon with bacon. It’ll add a salty. smoky richness that will pair amazingly with the sweet maple and smoky toasted marshmallow!
First, fry up a sizzling pan of your favorite bacon. Set aside the bacon for a BLT, because the star here is the bacon fat. That delicious liquid gold will add a delicious, smoky, salty intensity to your bourbon!
Pour the hot bacon fat into your bourbon and shake it up. You’l want to give it a good shake every few hours, so let it sit on your counter in a really obvious spot, so you’ll remember to agitate it every time you see it.
- Tip: don’t do what we do and pour it directly into your bourbon bottle. It’ll be really hard to pour out later! Instead, use something wide, like a large mason jar or tupperware with an airtight lid.
Next, cool your bacon-y bourbon in the fridge and let it sit overnight. The fat will form an easy-to-remove layer on top which you can scoop right off and toss in your trash can (or maybe flambe some bananas in it and let us know how it goes?)
Now you’ve got a bottle of delicious fat-washed bourbon, perfect for creating your next bourbon holiday cocktail!
About us: we run walking food tours of Louisville, Kentucky. Come with us to experience the story of Bourbon City one bite at a time!
Hope to see you on a tour soon!