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How to make delicious autumnal whiskey cocktails

How to make delicious autumnal whiskey cocktails

BY Andrew Duncan

12th Oct 2023 Food & Drink

4 min read

Autumn doesn't have to mean that cocktail season is over. Here is how to make great autumnal cocktails using whiskey
As autumn approaches, the types of cocktails we want changes; fruity flavours seem more suited to summer than they do for autumn. However, Andrew Duncan, Global Brand Director from the Award-winning Buffalo Trace Distillery and Harlen Wheatley, the brand’s Master Distiller, suggest that autumn can be a cocktail season too. Kentucky whiskey (Kentucky is the state in which over 96 per cent of bourbon is made) is growing in popularity in the UK and it is great for using in cocktails. Here's how to use Buffalo Trace Distillery's whiskey in some great autumnal cocktails.

The difference in how American and Scottish whiskeys are made

Kentucky bourbon barrels
In recent years, Kentucky whiskey has found a passionate audience in the UK. Brits, known for their love of fine spirits, have embraced this American classic taste with open arms, keen to explore the diverse world of whiskey beyond the traditional Scotch and Irish favourites.
"The appeal lies in the bold, smoky flavours and the history and craftsmanship of each bottle"
This appeal lies not just in the bold, smoky flavours but also in the rich history and craftsmanship associated with each bottle. Kentucky enjoys very hot and humid weather which expedites the impact of the wood from the new barrel on the bourbon as it ages and speeds up the reactions that naturally occur during this process. As a result for Kentucky bourbon, it leads to complexity and depth of flavour, which is revealed to the drinker on first sip.
As soon as the bourbon enters the barrels it begins to evolve. As each barrel is filled, the spirit begins to soak into the wood and then reactions and extractions start to occur.  Over time the new charred oak barrels impart desirable flavours along with a rich amber colour that results in a balanced, more complex spirit.   

What makes a good whiskey?

Andrew Duncan, Global Brand Director at Buffalo Trace Distillery explains: “We believe there is no shortcut or substitute for age in the production of outstanding whiskey. Equally important to age in the creation of premium bourbon is the maturity of spirit—meaning how the whiskey changes and develops over time due to a variety of factors. Age often contributes to creating a mature spirit, but many additional factors including oak, barrel char, temperature, humidity, light, and more work together to create an outstanding tasting experience.
"Factors such as oak, temperature, humidity, light and age contributes to creating a mature spirit"
“All of the above contributes to the creation of outstanding American whiskey. Specifically, Buffalo Trace Distillery’s flagship bourbon—Buffalo Trace Bourbon—which boasts a complex aroma of vanilla, mint and molasses, with tasting notes of brown sugar and spice that give way to oak, toffee, dark fruit and anise, and a quality that bourbon drinkers agree surpasses anything else at its price point.”

What makes a cocktail autumnal?

An Old Fashioned whiskey cocktail
One of the UK’s top cocktails each year is the classic bourbon based Old Fashioned. With this in mind, it’s hardly surprising that in the UK, American Whiskey sales continue to rise year on year. Much of this growth to date can be attributed to word of mouth, sparked largely by recommendations from bartenders and experts in the field.
"One of the UK’s top cocktails each year is the classic bourbon based Old Fashioned"
Simple classic spirit-and-mixer serves are also growing in popularity. Buffalo Trace, with its signature Buffalo & Ginger serve, is becoming an increasingly popular option for those looking for a refreshing, easy serve with whiskey.  

There are many great cocktail recipes

Here are some easy to make cocktails which all feature Buffalo Trace, for a perfect autumnal serve.

1. Gold Rush 

Gold Rush whiskey cocktail
·       57ml Buffalo Trace bourbon 
·       21ml lemon juice, freshly squeezed. 
·       21ml honey syrup 
·       Lemon Twist 
·       Add the bourbon, honey syrup and lemon juice into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled 
·       Strain into a chilled rocks glass over one large ice cube 
·       Garnish with a lemon twist 

2. Bourbon Maple Smash

  • 2 oz Buffalo Trace bourbon
  • 1 oz pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 4-5 fresh mint leaves
  • Ice
  • Orange peel and mint sprig for garnish
  1. In a shaker, muddle the mint leaves gently to release their aroma.
  2. Add bourbon, maple syrup, fresh lemon juice, and ice.
  3. Shake well and strain the mixture into a glass filled with ice.
  4. Garnish with a twist of orange peel and a sprig of mint.
  5. Enjoy the rich, autumnal flavors of bourbon complemented by the sweetness of maple and the zing of lemon.

3. Smoky Apple Cider Old Fashioned

  • 2 oz Sazerac Rye Whiskey
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 2 oz apple cider
  • Ice
  • Apple slice and cinnamon stick for garnish
  1. In a mixing glass, combine rye whiskey, simple syrup, bitters, and apple cider.
  2. Add ice and stir until well-chilled.
  3. Strain the mixture into a glass with a large ice cube.
  4. Garnish with a thin apple slice and a cinnamon stick.
  5. Sip the smoky, spicy goodness of this autumn-inspired Old Fashioned, reminiscent of crackling bonfires and apple-picking adventures.

4. Spiced Pumpkin Kentucky Mule

Kentucky Mule cockatil
  • 2 oz Buffalo Trace bourbon
  • 1 oz spiced pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
  • Ginger beer
  • Ice
  • Cinnamon stick and lime wheel for garnish
  1. In a copper mug, combine bourbon, spiced pumpkin puree, and fresh lime juice.
  2. Add ice and top off with ginger beer, leaving some space at the top.
  3. Stir gently to mix the ingredients.
  4. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and a lime wheel.
  5. Indulge in the delightful marriage of spicy bourbon and creamy pumpkin, accentuated by the effervescence of ginger beer.
Banner credit: Gold Rush cocktail. Credit: Buffalo Trace
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