Top 3 Pappy van Winkle Cocktails

Published on April 1, 2017. 

With the increasing availability of Pappy van Winkle, the hype surrounding this well-known bourbon has started to come back to reality. While the whiskey is still remarkably smooth, its tasting profile has been increasingly described as “a bit uninspiring” or “too safe” when compared with new artisinally crafted whiskies from smaller distilleries.

The good part is that collectors and “investors” are increasingly realizing that bourbon, even overpriced and over-hyped bourbon, is meant for drinking.

To that end, we’ve complied and tested this list of the top three cocktails for that languishing bottle of Pappy on your shelf.

3. Old Fashioned

Pappy’s smooth profile gives an Old Fashioned a wonderful base to build on.

This venerable bourbon cocktail truly makes Pappy shine. One of the simpler recipes for a bourbon cocktail, this recipe is one of the originals and thought to have possibly been the first called a “cocktail” in 1806. Described simply as spirits, water, bitters and sugar, this drink was dubbed the “Old Fashioned” around 1881 and has been a foundational cocktail for whiskey drinkers ever since.


  • 2 oz. Pappy van Winkle (the 15 year old fared better than the 23 in this elixir)
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters (you might get better results from some of the new craft bitters, but we wanted to stick with tradition)
  • 1 Sugar Cube (or 1/2 teaspoon of loose sugar)
  • Club Soda
  • 1 old fashioned glass
  • orange slice and cherry for garnish

How to mix

  1. Place the sugar cube (or 1/2 teaspoon of sugar) in the glass.
  2. Wet it down with 2 or 3 dashes of Angostura bitters and a light splash of club soda.
  3. Crush the sugar with a muddler, or, if you used loose sugar, just skip ahead.
  4. Rotate/swish the glass so that the sugar grains and bitters give it a lining.
  5. Add a large ice cube.
  6. Pour in the Pappy generously
  7. Serve with a stirrer and garnish with an orange slice and cherry.

2. Whiskey Sour

Fresh lemon juice makes the difference for this Pappy whiskey sour

Another of the true classics, the whiskey sour brings out the best flavors of your Pappy with a bit of lemon juice and sugar, giving it a balance it just can’t achieve on its own. Very easy to make, we suggest using fresh-squeezed lemon juice exclusively for this. Your Pappy may not be as rare as it once was, but it still deserves at least a bit of deference when choosing ingredients to mate it with.


  • 1 1/2 ounces of Pappy van Winkle (the older bottles actually did great for this classic)
  • 3/4 ounce of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3/4 ounce of simple syrup (make your own from pure cane sugar, or unrefined sugar)
  • Cherry for garnish

How to mix

  1. Add all the ingredients to a shaker filled with ice and shake.
  2. Strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice.
  3. Garnish with a cherry and lemon wedge.

1. Ultimate Pappy Cocktail

Simply mix Pappy with some fresh ice and some bubbly, delicious Coke for the ultimate cocktail.

We went through several bottles working on bringing you the easiest and best tasting Pappy van Winkle cocktail, worthy of at least some of the former hype of this tasty juice. This recipe eschews all the bar tools, shakers, and elaborate garnishes in favor of a straightforward drink that will delight your tastebuds and tickle your nose.


  • 2 ounces of Pappy van Winkle
  • Fresh ice cubes
  • 12 ounces Coca-Cola
  • Slice of lime

How to Mix

  1. Pour Pappy into glass
  2. Put ice in glass
  3. Pour Coke into glass
  4. Add lime for garnish

Note from Patruus Inebrius: April Fools! Seriously, if I catch any of you actually mixing Pappy with anything, you’re dead to me.


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