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Whiskey Cocktail Recipes

diamond_80There are so many ways to love whiskey. For the most part, we do not discriminate about where the whiskey comes from (though we are wary of the Indiana whiskey, primarily on principle), or what type it is. Open our liquor cabinet today and you will see at least two bottles of Scotch whisky, four bottles of bourbon and one bottle of wheat whiskey… we have also been known to drink Japanese single malt, Irish whiskey and rye. We do tend to care about which shelf it came from, and of course have our favorites. We do not collect whiskey, or hoard it, and dabble around as the budget allows. We do not claim to be experts, and don’t care much for blind taste tests (how can you be influenced by the packaging if you can’t see it?), but we do love our whiskey.

These recipes are fashioned to maximize our Cocktail Basics list. They are pretty classic, and you will see lots of variations of these. Try them! The recipes that follow are our favorite ratios and mixes, but you may like things a little different. A great source is Cocktail DB for alternates. If you fancy gin, head on over to our gin cocktail recipes.



Whiskey (or Whisky)

Pour it in a small glass. Is it good? Drink it. Is it pretty good? Maybe add a splash of water or an ice cube. Better now? Enjoy!


Whiskey Soda

1 1/2 – 2 ounces whiskey (we prefer bourbon or rye here)
splash of soda water

Sometimes a splash of soda and some ice with your whiskey hits the spot. It’s refreshing! We wouldn’t use our fanciest whiskey for this, but we would use something with good flavor. Add a couple of drops of bitters, if that is your style.



2 ounces bourbon (or rye)
3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
2 dashes aromatic bitters
1 strip of lemon zest

Pour the bourbon, vermouth and bitters in a shaker. Add a lot of ice. Stir (we use a chopstick) 50-100 times. Strain into your glass. Squeeze the lemon zest over the drink, rub the zest along the rim of the glass and then place it into the drink. If you like a little treat at the end of your drink, you may also want a good quality maraschino or bourbon cherry as garnish.


Bourbon Side Car

2 ounces bourbon
1 ounce orange liqueur (we use Grand Marnier)
1 ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 bourbon or maraschino cherry (optional)
1 strip of lemon zest

Pour the bourbon, Grand Marnier and lemon juice into a shaker. Add a lot of ice. Shake! Strain into your glass. Add a good quality maraschino or bourbon cherry (skip it if you don’t have one). Squeeze the lemon zest over the drink, rub the zest along the rim of the glass and then place it into the drink.


The Derby

Adapted from the fabulous book Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, by Ted Haigh

1 ounce bourbon
1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
1/2 ounce orange liqueur (we use Grand Marnier)
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice

Add all of the ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Fill with a lot of ice. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wedge or a mint leaf.


Have a question? Suggestion? You can contact us!

Cocktails & Coffee

Our Philosophy of Coffee

heart_80Coffee is the very best part of every day. Most evenings we can’t wait to go to sleep so that we can wake up and have coffee! Coffee, coffee, COFFEE!!! Coffee for the Wild Westish team involves a few very important machines that we think of as part of the family. Rocky, Miss Sylvia, and of course Gene.

Gene is our coffee bean roaster. Some years ago there was an emergency when we moved to a town empty of decent coffee beans. Gene was graciously and swiftly donated to the cause by a family member, and has been roasting beans close-to-perfectly ever since, one half pound at a time. We now have access to well-roasted fancy coffee beans, but it turns out that nothing is more satisfying and delicious than coffee from freshly home-roasted beans with the BONUS that the cost of green beans is roughly five dollars a pound. Extra bonus: we love the smell of roasting coffee beans… and hopefully the neighbors do, too.

coffee_450Rocky and Miss Sylvia are our burr grinder and espresso machine. While we try not to be too involved with things, we would grab these if the house was on fire.

Coffee is important every day, so we always travel (and camp) with a hand grinder and stove top espresso pot. Once we visited a friend in Oakland and woke up in a coffee-less house. That was the last time we travelled without coffee, because looking for coffee when you haven’t had any coffee is a toe-stubbing unhappy time, and a bad start to the day.

How We Do Booze

whiskey2_450We like cocktails and we like whiskey, straight. In the Wild Westish home base, there is some disagreement about how sweet a cocktail should be, but for the most part it is agreed that simpler is better and not-too-sweet is best. We tend to favor citrus as a flavor. Once upon a time there was a flurry of homemade syrups and shrubs… but in the end we had a fridge full of colorful, flavorful syrups and a glass of whiskey, neat, in our hand. Not to say we don’t enjoy a good mixed drink, just that a few faves kept floating to the top and they rarely included homemade honeydew shrub. Our motto is make them strong, simple and delicious.

The bookends of a great day: coffee and cocktails.