The Best Bourbon-Based Cocktails for Outdoor Entertaining

Gather friends, family and neighbors to savor the flavors of summer—and nothing captures the season quite like delicious outdoor entertaining. If you’re looking to impress your guests, consider upgrading your outdoor event with bourbon-based cocktails. With a few simple ingredients and a little know-how, you can show off your bartending skills while adding an extra touch of flavor to your gathering.

To provide hosting inspiration, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite bourbon-based cocktails. From classic old-fashioneds and Manhattans to fruity gems like Appletinis and Whiskey Sours—you’re guaranteed to have all the ingredients on hand for each cocktail recipe. Plus, we’ve also included low-calorie variations for guilt-free entertaining! So read on for our favorite bourbon-based concoctions that will bring cheer and good cheer this summer season:

Low-Calorie Bourbon-Based Cocktails

If you’re looking for some festive holiday cocktails that won’t ruin your diet, look no further than low-calorie bourbon based cocktails! These drinks are festive and flavor-packed while keeping the calorie count low. From a Nutmeg Old Fashioned to a Cranberry-Mint Julep, you can find something that everyone will enjoy while still staying within your health goals.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the best bourbon-based drinks that are both delicious and low-calorie:

Bourbon and Ginger

Ginger is one of those ingredients that really amp up the flavor of a cocktail while keeping it low in calories. This Bourbon and ginger are simple to make and enjoy, both inside or outside on your patio.

To make this classic drink, start with 1 ounce of bourbon whiskey and top with 4 ounces of ginger beer. For an extra kick, throw in a splash of lime juice for some added tartness.

Not only does this refreshing cocktail look great when poured into a tall glass, it’s also incredibly light on calories, coming in at around 85 per serving! Plus, you get the holiday spice of cinnamon from the bite from the bourbon and ginger beer, making it a perfect choice for gatherings during any season. If you’re feeling creative, you can even try substituting other flavors into your drink such as honey or orange juice while keeping the calorie count low.

Whatever way you choose to enjoy it, make sure to grab another one and enjoy your time outdoors by sipping on this classic cocktail!

Bourbon and Tonic

Bourbon and tonic is the perfect low-calorie bourbon-based cocktail for outdoor entertaining. With just a few simple ingredients – bourbon, sparkling mineral water, fresh squeezed lime juice, and a dash of Angostura bitters – you can create an easy, refreshingly cool drink that your guests are sure to enjoy.

A traditional bourbon and tonic is made with only two parts: two ounces of your favorite bourbon and five ounces of tonic water. For an even lower-calorie option, try using a sugar-free or light tonic instead. Once you’ve added your ingredients, simply garnish with some lime slices for a clean and classic presentation.

For those who like that extra bit of sweetness in their drinks, try adding some muddled sugar or simple syrup to the mix. Alternatively, muddled fruit like strawberries or raspberries can provide added flavor without the sugar content. And for something completely different, you can substitute the sparkling mineral water for cold-brewed tea or peppermint schnapps for a unique twist on this timeless classic.

No matter which direction you choose to go in with your bourbon and tonic concoctions, it’s sure to be a crowd pleaser at any outdoor event!

Bourbon and Lemonade

Bourbon and lemonade is one of the classic bourbon-based drinks that can be made low-calorie. It’s simple to mix up and a great way to add a punch of flavor to your next outdoor event.

To make it, all you need is:

  • 1.5 ounces of bourbon
  • 1 cup of club soda
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Sweetener, like stevia or agave syrup

Mix all the ingredients together over ice, stir until the sweetener is dissolved, and serve with a garnish of fresh lemon slices. This delicious cocktail won’t leave a heavy feeling on your guests’ palates while still providing an interesting flavor combination they can savor. Bourbon based lemonade makes a great addition to any outdoor gathering!

Holiday-Themed Bourbon-Based Cocktails

The Best Bourbon-Based Cocktails for Outdoor Entertaining 2

The holidays are quickly approaching and that means it’s time to find some creative festive cocktails to serve at your outdoor gatherings. Bourbon is a timeless spirit that can make any cocktail special, so let’s take a look at some of the best bourbon-based cocktails to wow your guests this season.

From low-calorie options for health-conscious guests to festive holiday-inspired cocktails, these recipes are sure to make your outdoor entertaining a success:

Bourbon Apple Cider

Bourbon Apple Cider is the perfect low-calorie and tasty holiday cocktail for when you’re entertaining outdoors. This boldly flavorful concoction blends whiskey with apple cider and pure maple syrup to create a potent, guilt-free treat. All you need to make this fabulous beverage is a bottle of good quality bourbon, some fresh apples, apple cider and pure maple syrup.

Simply add the whiskey, apple cider and maple syrup to a shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into glasses filled with fresh ice cubes. Garnish with thin slices of green apples or pears for an added festive touch. You can also customize this drink by adding a bit of cinnamon or any other spices of your choice for the extra flavor dimension that will take your guests by surprise.

Making it kid-friendly? Replace the bourbon with an alcohol-free spiced apple cider mix!

Bourbon Eggnog

Nothing brings the holidays to life like sharing a batch of homemade eggnog. And, when it’s spiced up with the oak and sweetness of a good bourbon whiskey, it can be the perfect way to end an outdoor holiday gathering. Here’s our take on this classic recipe:


  • 6 cups of whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons of ground nutmeg
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of bourbon whiskey
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract


  1. In a large bowl, combine the 4 egg yolks and the sugar until light in color and creamy.
  2. In a medium saucepan, warm up the milk with nutmeg while stirring occasionally. Do not boil.
  3. Gradually add half of the hot milk mixture to the egg yolk mixture while whisking constantly, then add back into saucepan with remaining milk; stir until smooth.
  4. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly for around 8 minutes or until custard is thick enough to coat the back side of the spoon; make sure not boiling! Also important is that the temperature should not exceed 160 degrees F (70 degrees C).
  5. Strain into bowl through fine strainer and stir in vanilla extract, then add bourbon whiskey stirring occasionally until cool completely.
  6. Whip egg whites until stiff peaks form; fold into cooled custard gradually until evenly combined then chill for about 3 hours before serving for best flavor!Serve cold and enjoy!

Bourbon Hot Chocolate

Bourbon-based hot chocolate is a delicious way to warm up a cold night and bring in the holiday cheer. This comforting classic is simple to make and has a timeless appeal.

To make this beverage, you will need equal parts bourbon and whole milk or cream, plus cocoa powder, sugar, and a pinch of salt. Heat the milk or cream in a saucepan over medium heat until just about boiling, then remove from heat.

In a medium bowl, combine ¼ cup cocoa powder with 2 tablespoons of sugar and stir with the bourbon until dissolved. Slowly add the heated milk or cream while stirring to ensure an even texture and flavor. Return to heat until just steaming, but do not let it boil – this will dissolve any lumps in the mixture while keeping the drink creamy.

To finish, pour each serving into mugs and add a pinch of salt for flavor enhancement. Taste each individual mug before serving to adjust sweetness levels accordingly – adding more sugar if needed. Enjoy your decadent creations!

Classic Bourbon-Based Cocktails

The Best Bourbon-Based Cocktails for Outdoor Entertaining 3

Bourbon is a staple of outdoor entertaining. Whether you’re enjoying a casual cookout with friends or having a grand Thanksgiving celebration with family, classic bourbon based cocktails are the perfect way to make your gathering memorable. From the classic Old Fashioned to a flavorful Manhattan, the timeless flavors of bourbon will tantalize the taste buds of your guests!

Let’s take a look at some of the best bourbon based cocktails for outdoor entertaining:


The classic Old-Fashioned cocktail is a timeless classic whose popularity has never wilted. There are endless variations on the basic recipe, allowing you to tweak the flavor profile to suit your own preferences. The traditional recipe calls for muddling raw cane sugar, orange and aromatic bitters with rye or bourbon whiskey.

If you’re looking for a more glamorous version, add some fresh fruit slices, cherry garnishes and/or an egg white foam. You can also substitute cognac or brandy if preferred—after all, it’s your creation! To enjoy an Old-Fashioned in the holiday spirit, use cinnamon-infused whiskey or opt for rye whiskey with an orange peel floating in the glass.


The Manhattan is a time-honored classic cocktail that is composed of bourbon, sweet vermouth, and bitters. The origin of the drink is unclear; some credit it to Lady Randolph Churchill, mother of Winston Churchill, while others say it was created in a bar in New York. It is one of the best bourbon based cocktails for entertaining outdoors because its simple ingredients come together harmoniously in every glass.

To make a traditional Manhattan cocktail:

  • Pour 2 ounces of bourbon, 1 ounce sweet vermouth, and 2 dashes Angostura bitters into a shaker filled with ice cubes.
  • Stir until chilled and strain into a martini glass.
  • Garnish with either an orange or cherry slice and a few drops of Angostura bitters to complete your perfect cup!

If you are looking for something even more special, try adding some Luxardo cherries or your favorite liqueur to the mix to create more flavorful drinks.

Mint Julep

The mint julep is one of the most iconic bourbon-based cocktails and a classic choice for outdoor entertaining – especially during the holiday season. Perfect for serving from summer through early fall, the mint julep is typically enjoyed in a frosted silver or pewter cup that has been filled with cracked ice and chilled with Southern comfort. The flavor components of this classic drink include fresh spearmint leaves, sugar cane syrup, and high quality Bourbon or Rye whiskey. However, be sure to use only the very best whiskies if you want your mint julep to taste its absolute best.

To make a perfect Mint Julep, simply:

  1. Muddle several fresh spearmint leaves with two teaspoons of fine-grade sugar in a large silver cup or glass until both have been nicely blended together into a sweet syrup.
  2. Add 1½ ounces of premium Bourbon or Rye whiskey to the mix along with 2–4 ounces of cold filtered water (or seltzer water), stir everything together with an iced cocktail spoon for about 10 seconds until completely blended together, and top with some shaved ice cubes before serving.

Garnish each Mint Julep with an additional sprig of fresh mint leaves (lightly bruised) just before serving so that all will be able to enjoy its divine aroma when drinking this exquisite bourbon-based cocktail in your outdoor entertaining area. Cheers!


The great thing about entertaining with bourbon-based cocktails is that there are so many options and adaptations for different dietary requirements and occasions. From simple and light for hot days, to traditional holiday cocktails that everyone can enjoy, to creative spins on classic drinks with a southern twist, the possibilities are endless!

Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply looking for something special to impress your guests – bourbon based cocktails make a great statement. With the right setup and knowledge, you can be sure to serve the best bourbon-based cocktails time after time!

Photo of author

Author: Justin

Published on:

Published in: