Start to Finish: 5 minutes
Difficulty Level: Beginner
Bourbon and Coke is the kind of classic cocktail that shows just how rewarding simplicity can be. It consists of only a handful of ingredients, but the drink matches the smoky character of the bourbon with the subtle vanilla notes of the cola for a drink that needs no further embellishment. Depending on your choice of spirit and mixer, this basic recipe is also highly customizable to suit your personal taste.
1/4 cup (2 ounces) bourbon
1 1/4 cup (10 ounces) cola
Choose a bourbon with a good, smooth, strong flavor — strong enough to stand up to the flavors of the cola — but don’t waste your top-shelf liquor here, as its subtleties will be lost in the mix.
Coca-Cola is the standard soda brand to use here, but you can experiment with other boutique colas or RC Cola, too. Pepsi, however, lacks the vanilla-tinged flavor profile that makes this cocktail work. Don’t use diet soda here.
Fill a highball or Collins glass with ice. Pour in the bourbon. Top with cola. Stir gently with a swizzle stick and serve.
Garnish with a lemon twist, wedge or slice, if desired. A twist, wedge or slice of lime can also be used as a garnish.
The basic ratio of one part brown liquor to five parts soda can be used as the basis for a number of variations. Try scotch, whiskey or rye in place of bourbon. Try cherry cola or Dr. Pepper in place of the cola.