Whiskey cocktail

8 simple upgrades to change from cocktail to whiskey

Photos: Shutterstock; Design: Rebecca Hoskins/Thrillist

You don’t need to turn your kitchen into a mad scientist’s laboratory to make cocktails at home as tasty as those you’ll find at the local bar. In fact, a few simple upgrades to tried-and-true classics can make a drink taste completely new. Whether it’s a whiskey ginger with a twist of lime, using Jameson Cold Brew with your cola highball, or swapping honey for simple syrup in a mint julep, these easy additions will make any backyard bartender look like a pro.

Mix a cold brew with your cola highball

Whiskey and cola might have been the first cocktail you ordered at a bar, but with a simple swap of Jameson Cold Brew, the drink takes on a real shine. Jameson Cold Brew & Cola has a distinctive coffee flavor that pairs surprisingly well with the sweet, fizzy flavor of cola. Plus, those flavors are only further accentuated with a citrus zest thanks to a hint of orange. Pair it with a warm summer night and a group of friends for a truly unforgettable downtime.

Mix an oyster in your pickle

Of course, a pickleback hit might not be for the faint-hearted, even in its original form. But despite, shall we say, unorthodox Ingredients, this revisited version with oysters – hear us out – is a match made in heaven. The smooth, creamy flavors of a Barcat oyster mingle with the salty brine of pickle juice and the woodsy sweetness of a Jameson Irish Whiskey in the most unexpected and appetizing way. If you’re planning on having any type of fancy affair on a boat (or just near the coast) this summer, this is the drink for you.

Photos: Jameson, Shutterstock; Design: Rebecca Hoskins/Thrillist

Adding Pineapple to a Traditional Whiskey Sour

Improving citrus into a classic acid is one of the easiest ways to transport yourself to a tropical island getaway, without expensive hotel reservations. The sweet, tangy flavor of not just pineapple, but pineapple tepache, in this fruity take on a classic whiskey sour balances out the smooth taste of whiskey, making it an enhanced drink that’s perfect for sipping on the beach or during reruns of your favorite island TV show. Tepache sounds daunting, but it’s surprisingly simple to prepare: slice the skin off a pineapple, then mix with sugar and water in an airtight container, let sit for 24 hours, and strain. Not in the project? Pineapple juice works great too.

Drop a lime in your ginger whiskey

If sunburn and surf aren’t your thing, cool down with a tangy addition to the typical whiskey ginger: a wedge of lime. Described as “the perfect accompaniment to a summer’s day”, Jameson, ginger and lime is tasty as it is chic. The tangy, lemony flavor of ginger ale mixed with a squeeze of lime makes for a crunchy and surprisingly refreshing summer drink. Like a friend always ready for anything, this drink is the perfect companion for rooftop parties or sipping in the shade of the cabin.

Stir honey into a mint julep

Mint juleps are the ultimate summer drink, but nix the traditional simple syrup for the honey version, as this recipe calls for. is an easy upgrade. Don’t let the simplicity of this drink fool you: it’s as tasty as it is simple. The sweetness of honey perfectly complements the warm, spicy notes of Jameson’s Irish Whiskey, while the cooling sensation of mint makes it the perfect drink to beat the summer heat.

Photos: Jameson, Shutterstock; Design: Rebecca Hoskins/Thrillist

Spice up whiskey lemonade with mint and bitters

No summer barbecue is complete without a lemonade, but this minty take on the classic will quench your thirst while providing endless possibilities for the cutest social media pics. At first glance, darker spirits like whiskey may seem too bold for summer herbs, but they can actually accentuate the liquor’s sweet vanilla notes. This version also calls for bitters, which prevents the cocktail from becoming a sweet overload.

Make a smart jello shot

Combining highbrow and lowbrow elements is a surefire way to show off to your friends. The elegant flavors of an old-school classic come to life in this fun jello shooter recipe it’s sure to be a hit at your next backyard barbecue. The recipe calls for Jameson Black Barrel whiskey and maraschino cherries, so this drink still delivers the same rich, bold flavors (and aura of sophistication) you’ll find in the traditional cocktail, even in its gelatin form. Plus, they’re much easier to prepare for a crowd.

Smooth your sangria with a shot

Placing a large pitcher of fruit-filled sangria on the picnic table is always the move, but instead of just using red wine in yours, a little whiskey can help ease any dryness (instead of mixing lemon-lime soda, which is the usual addition). This version also calls bitters and ginger beer, but sangria is one of those endlessly customizable drinks, so putting your own spin on it is especially encouraged.