Anytime you think of the South, bourbon comes to mind! Whether you think of classy, southern ladies sippin’ on mint juleps, or old-timey gentleman with tumblers full of bourbon at a Saloon, bourbon is as inherent to Southern culture as BBQ! At Big T’s, we like to keep that tradition running with our extensive bourbon menu and southern cocktails.

First thing’s first, what is bourbon? Bourbon falls under the whisky umbrella, but to be called bourbon, it must meet a few requirements:

  1. Bourbon must be produced in the USA.
  2. It must be made from a minimum of 51% corn.
  3. It must be aged in brand new, charred, oak barrels. The new barrels give the bourbon more distinctive oaky characteristics like vanilla and make it generally smoother.
  4. It must enter the barrel between 80-125 proof and only water can be added to lessen the proof.

With all those technicalities out of the way, it’s time to give you some recipes for classic, bourbon-based cocktails that you can make and enjoy at home with your favourite BBQ dishes!


Old Fashioned

old fashioned

Let’s start with THE classic, the old fashioned!

The name “old fashioned” came from people asking for their cocktail to be made the “old-fashioned way.” This method came from an article printed in the United States in 1806 describing a cocktail as a drink consisting of spirits, water, bitters, and sugar.  From this, the old fashioned was born and became the cocktail we know today!

Ingredients: Bourbon, Bitters, Ice, Sugar Cube, Orange Peel, Splash of Water

  • Place one sugar cube in your glass and dissolve it with a splash of water.
  • Add 2-3 dashes of bitters. Angostura is traditional, but if you have access to a wide variety of bitters feel free to get creative!
  • Add a small amount of ice. Ideally, you want one giant ice cube, so it doesn’t melt too quickly and water down your drink.
  • Add 2 oz of Bourbon.
  • Cut a significant slice of arrange peel and, if you’re feeling adventurous, take a lighter and flame your orange twist to enhance the natural flavours in the orange! Take your orange twist and gently wipe the rim of the glass with the inside of the peel, so every sip is infused with the orange’s essence.
  • Gently stir, serve, and enjoy!


Lynchburg Lemonade

Born out of a court case, the Lynchburg Lemonade is just as sour as the history surrounding it! Consisting of Jack Daniels, soda, triple sec, and sour mix, this cocktail is the perfect mix of refreshing and tart.  An adult lemonade, if you will.

Ingredients: Bourbon, Triple Sec, Sour Mix, Ice, Sprite

  • In a tall glass with ice, add 1oz Jack Daniels, 1 oz Triple Sec, and 1 oz sour mix (Fresh squeezed lemon/lime juice).
  • Top with Sprite.
  • Garnish with a lemon wedge and serve.


Mint Julep

southern cocktail mint julep

Ever wonder what was in the glasses of those southern ladies sitting on their porches in the hot Mississippi sun? Mostly Bourbon. Mint Juleps were the drink of choice for most southern, society women, but for such a dainty sounding drink they sure packed a punch!

Ingredients: Mint leaves, Sugar, Bourbon, Ice, Splash of water

  • Muddle together 3-4 mint leaves, 1.5 tsp sugar, and a splash of water in a rocks glass (if you don’t have a rocks glass, any small glass will work just fine).
  • Add 1.5 oz of Bourbon, another splash of water, and ice
  • Stir and garnish with fresh mint. Hint: to get more aromas from the mint slap the leaves in between your palms a couple of time to release more smell!


Now it’s your turn to go out and impress your friends with your extensive bourbon knowledge and master craftsmanship behind the bar.  Don’t worry though, if you get tired of entertaining everyone, you can always come on down to Big T’s and let us entertain you!

Photos by Adam Jaime on Unsplash

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