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What to Mix with Whiskey for That Extra Kick

Need a whiskey mixer? We have more than 10 ideas for what to mix with whiskey—from the basics to seasonal options.

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Shutterstock/Kateryna Mostova

What are good whiskey mixers?

When it comes to whiskey drinks, you can pull out all the stops and make some pretty fantastic cocktails. Sometimes, though, you want to keep it simple with a single mixer (maybe two add-ins at most). If that low-key approach is more your style, we’ve got a dozen different mixers you can stir up with your whiskey for a great basic drink.

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moscow mule cocktail in copper mugJoshua Resnick/Shutterstock

Ginger beer + lime

Moscow Mules are one of our favorite classic cocktails—especially when served in a pretty copper mug. You can use the same proportions as your favorite mule recipe and sub in whiskey or bourbon for vodka. If you’re using bourbon, it’s commonly known as a Kentucky Mule; if it’s Irish whiskey, that’d be an Irish Mule.

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Ginger ale

If ginger beer has a bit too much kick for you, mix your whiskey with ginger ale. It’s as simple as it is tasty. And be sure to check out our editors’ favorite ginger ale brands for recommendations.

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Vermouth + a dash of bitters

Whiskey combined with vermouth and a few dashes of bitters makes for a classic cocktail: the Manhattan. You can serve this drink in a short tumbler, but it always looks so elegant served up in a martini-style glass. Don’t forget the cherry!

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Irish coffee with whisky on dark backgroundRybalchenko Nadezhda/Shutterstock

Coffee

Make yourself an easy Irish coffee by mixing an ounce of whiskey into a mug of strong black coffee. Stir in a bit of sugar and top with whipped cream if you’re really feeling indulgent.

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Close-up male hands holding a cup of tea; Shutterstock ID 419110399; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): Taste of HomeMestoSveta/Shutterstock

Hot tea

If you’re looking for a pick-me-up when you’re under the weather, add a touch of whiskey to your favorite hot tea. It’s a shortcut version of a hot toddy, which is typically a mix of hot water, lemon, honey, a dash of cinnamon and whiskey.

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Cocktail bitters

Just a dash of cocktail bitters can liven up your favorite whiskey. You can go with the classic Angostura—most everyone’s go-to—but flavored bitters that align with the profile of your whiskey work best. Try flavored bitters from Bittercube—the Blackstrap, Orange and Trinity options are well suited to whiskeys, ryes and bourbons.

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Shutterstock/Oksana Mizina

Lemon juice

All you need to make a simple cocktail is some lemon juice and a bit of simple syrup. Combine these with your favorite whiskey for a classic whiskey sour. Start with one part lemon juice, one part simple syrup and two parts whiskey. Adjust to your liking.

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Jug of apple cider vinegar and sliced red applesANJELIKAGR/SHUTTERSTOCK

Apple cider

Many whiskeys—particularly bourbon whiskeys—have a lot of caramel, toffee and vanilla notes. Those pair perfectly with apple cider. We think this combo is best served hot, but chilled and garnished with a cinnamon stick also works.

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maple syrup in glass bottle on wooden tableShutterstock / showcake

Maple syrup

Bourbon also pairs well with maple. Mix a few drops of maple syrup into your bourbon and serve on the rocks. If you want to brighten it up, add a bit of fresh lemon juice. And if you love maple, try these recipes.

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whiskey lemonade sour based cocktail drink decorated lemon mint on bar counterpetereleven/Shutterstock

Lemonade

In the warmer months, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more refreshing cocktail than a whiskey-lemonade. The secret to a simple cocktail like this is to use your favorite whiskey and a good lemonade. This brand is our editors’ favorite.

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Shutterstock/Joshua Resnick

Coke

Just because a Jack and Coke is a common order doesn’t mean it’s one to skip. A decent whiskey paired with a sweet cola is a classic, refreshing cocktail. And it’s an easy order for any bartender or host to make. Of course, if you want to get more complicated, you can try these whiskey drinks.

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Taste of Home

Eggnog

Want to get into the Christmas spirit? Add a dram of whiskey to your eggnog. Its warming effects compliment this seasonal drink perfectly. For best results, use homemade eggnog—we can show you how to make it.

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