Whiskey or whiskey, however you spell it, it can make a great cocktail. We asked bartenders what they thought was the most underrated whiskey cocktail, and the results spoke volumes: think more complex flavors and old-fashioned cocktails that fell off the radar of many. . But there are also nods to the classics that you can riff on – while some might say that an Old Fashioned is overrated, there are so many versions that it could very well be something over. which one you sleep in… so ask your bartender about their favorite. variation. Here, the bartenders share the most underrated whiskey cocktails.
The most underrated whiskey cocktails:
- Paper plane
- Old square
- Whiskey Smash
- Gold Rush
- Rusty Nail
- From Louisiana
- Old fashioned
Read on for details on all the recommended cocktails!
“The underrated whiskey cocktail for me would be a paper plane. It’s a fun bittersweet cocktail with a sweet twist from the spirits used. It is a cocktail in equal parts based on Aperol, whiskey, Amaro Nonino and lime. It has layers of flavor and is complex yet accessible. Definitely an underrated whiskey cocktail in my opinion. Try one the next time you go out to your favorite bar. Maybe you will fall in love with something new. –Josha Lopez, Beverage Manager, Osaka Miami, Miami
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“Le Vieux Carré is by far the most underrated whiskey cocktail. Paired in equal parts with whiskey and cognac, and made more complex with a nice sweet vermouth, [and] The Benedictine bitters, Angostura and Peychaud. It is one of the most complex and beautiful cocktails. It just brings you back to New Orleans. –Keith Mrotek, Bar Manager, PS Steak, Minneapolis, Minn.
“I’ve always loved a classic Smash whiskey. It is an excellent compromise between an Old Fashioned and a Whiskey Sour. It is also easy to create any number of variations. Add a blackberry, change the bitters or split the whiskey with another spirit and you have an entirely different cocktail. —Shannon Tebay, Head Bartender, Death & Co., NYC
“One aged new classic that you don’t see much ordered is the Gold Rush. A simplistic cocktail, but balanced and soothing. —Darren Fallon, Senior Mixologist, The Watch: Rooftop Kitchen & Spirits at The Restoration Hotel, Charleston, SC
“Not so much underrated, but I would like more people to drink Boulevardier, the perfect balance of bourbon, Campari and a good quality sweet vermouth with a nice touch of orange.” –Johnny Swet, Master Mixologist and Founding Partner, JIMMY Rooftop Bar, NYC
“The Vieux Carré is so underrated. Magnificent whiskey cocktails have roots all over the world, but the Vieux Carré combines so many wonderful spirits from so many places to create something unique and vibrant. —Meg Hoberg, Head Bartender, Sidebar at Bode Nashville, Nashville, Tenn.
“A whiskey cocktail that I think is quite underrated is a personal favorite, a Diamondback: ½ ounce of Chartreuse Jaune, ½ ounce of Laird’s Bonded Apple Brandy, and 2 ounces of 100 proof rye whiskey (preferably Rittenhouse or Old Overholt). Stir and serve directly. Delicious.” —Naomi Schimek, mixologist, soul mate, Los Angeles
“Rusty nail. The key ingredient Drambuie [a Scotch whisky liqueur infused with a blend of honey, herbs, and spices] is often relegated to a dusty shelf, but it deserves more frequent use. Unlike the Old Fashioned bland, Rusty Nail has tons of complexity in the sweetening ingredient, with tones of honey, orange, vanilla, fennel and more. Dust off the Drambuie! —Rob Krueger, Head Bartender at John Fraser Restaurants, New York
“For me, the most underrated whiskey cocktail is a De La Louisiane 4: 1 ratio. Mix rye whiskey, Benedictine, sweet vermouth, absinthe, Peychaud’s and my god – you have a beautiful thing. When you have been around cocktails for a long time, it is in the nature of the game that you will have had a lot of them. But when your mind whispers to you that it craves an Vieux Carré, or a Sazerac, oooh, or what about a Manhattan riff too? It could end with a very fun evening. So for me there are flavor profiles in the De La Louisiane cocktail that tip the scales for so many of these beautiful classic whiskey cocktails. So have one, instead of one of everything. —MacKenzie Conway, Beverage Manager, Fight Club DC Pop-Up at Beuchert’s Saloon, Washington, DC
“The Old Square. Even though this cocktail is a split base, the whiskey is used so well and pairs so perfectly with cognac and sweet vermouth. The herbaceous aspect of the Bénédictine completes this well-balanced but under-commissioned cocktail. —Jesse Dureka, Head Bartender, Philadelphia Distilling, Philadelphia
“Boulevardier. It’s a classic cocktail you can drink whatever the season. It’s both refreshing in the summer and full of robust flavor for the winter. —Valeria Murrieta, Internal Mixologist, Estancia La Jolla Hotel, La Jolla, CA.
“The most underrated whiskey cocktail is a Manhattan. Everyone’s usual go-to for an avant-garde whiskey cocktail is an Old Fashioned, especially since you can make so many variations of it. But many don’t realize that you can make as many (if not more) variations of the Manhattan cocktail. Absolutely order a Manhattan the next time you go out and ask your bartender to put his special touch on it. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. —Anthony Baker, mixologist and “virtual cocktail teacher”, NYC
“Old Fashioned. There are 500,000 ways to make Old Fashioned, and very few people know that there are other variations of this simple drink. —Jeff Fredeen, Bartender, Crush Lounge, Meritage Resort, Napa Valley, CA.