Bourbon in the Summer?

Summer Bourbon Cocktail with Raspberries

Every summer about this time I start to feel a little bit of melancholy. It’s probably just the summertime blues. Don’t get me wrong. I love summer, but as I lounge by the pool sipping something light and fruity I can’t help but feel like I’m missing something. Some important part of my life that’s either been misplaced or somehow forgotten. But what could that something be I wonder as I lazily swirl the pisco in my punch or rumble the rocks in my rum-filled tumbler. That’s when it finally hits me. I miss bourbon! Bourbon in the Summer? Is that an oxymoron?

Well, I intend to find out.

Bourbon is not the first spirit I reach for when I’m craving a lazy poolside cocktail. For some reason, I associate dark spirits like bourbon with cooler weather. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, the Mint Julep is an icy bit of bourbon perfection served in a silver chalice. In many parts of the South, it’s a summertime cocktail dream come true. So I think I’ll update my own wish list to include a summer bourbon cocktail of my own design. I’ll toss in some mint as a nod to the season, but I’ll save the silver chalice for those infamous Derby Days.

Summer Bourbon Cocktail
Bourbon in the Summer? Bourbon and Raspberries.

Where do I start?

So where do I start? How about with sangria? The sweet-tart combination of sangria’s berries and citrus is something we all associate with summer. That, however, is where the association ends. Wine is nice, but I want a summer bourbon cocktail – and bourbon loves berries. So I’ll pull out my muddle and add a little honey syrup to the mint and berries. I’ll build the summer bourbon cocktail I’m craving.

Now all my summer bourbon cocktail needs is a great name. Hey… how about Summer Bourbon Cocktail? GREG

Summer Bourbon Cocktail with Raspberries 

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Honey syrup can be made by mixing equal parts honey and hot water in a jar. Shake to combine.

Summer Bourbon Cocktail with Raspberries


  • 8 fresh mint leaves
  • 4 fresh raspberries
  • ¼ fresh lime (cut into 2 wedges)
  • ½ ounce honey syrup (see note)
  • 3 ounce bourbon
  • 1 ounce red berry juice (such as raspberry, cranberry, or pomegranate)
  • 1 sprig fresh mint (as garnish)


Place one extra large ice cube or three medium ice cubes into a double old-fashioned glass; set aside. 

Place mint leaves, raspberries, limes wedges, and honey syrup into a cocktail shaker. Use a cocktail muddler or the wrong end of a wooden spoon to break up the ingredients. Muddle until pulpy. 

Add enough medium ice cubes to nearly fill the shaker; pour in bourbon and berry juice. Cover, shake and strain through a fine mesh sieve into the prepared glass. Garnish with mint sprig.