Virtual Bourbon • Basics Craft Cocktails Class

A Guided Class constructing the 4 most popular Kentucky Bourbon Cocktails.

We’ll be teaching you how to prepare the best versions of:

  • Old Fashioned (bittered sling style) – The original cocktail! No muddled fruit here, we’re going to make this classic 1800s style with just 3 (maybe 4) ingredients.
  • Whiskey Sour – A true sour uses fresh citrus juice and egg white and has a light and foamy texture. It takes two shakes to make properly. (You can skip the egg white or substitute with pasteurized egg whites from a carton or the liquid from a can of chickpeas.)
  • Mint Julep (the most commonly improperly prepared drink) – Once upon a time, this was the breakfast of choice of much of Virginia, Kentucky and the surrounding states. But mint is delicate and has to be respected to make this drink properly (and properly delicious). [If mint is difficult to obtain, we can substitute with an alternate cocktail.]
  • Manhattan – Popularized by Frank Sinatra, a correctly made Manhattan has no cherry juice and utilizes a long, slow stirring technique to integrate the vermouth with the other ingredients. Properly made, this is long, slow sipping cocktail with a rich and silky mouthfeel and balanced flavors.

Preparing for your event:

  1. Purchase bourbons make sure you have at least one bottle of bourbon & one bottle of rye whiskey. Technically this can be done with one good bourbon but we’ll talk a bit about the different flavor profiles.
  2. Purchase other ingredients outlined below.
  3. Collect your glassware & bar tools before the event. We have a list of common alternatives so you shouldn’t have to buy a lot here.

Kitchen alternatives to common bar tools:

  • Cocktail shaker: Mason jar, coffee travel mug with a good seal or protein shaker.
  • Muddler: Wooden spoon.
  • Jigger: Set of teaspoons.
  • Strainer alternatives: large metal spoon, metal coffee filter for a fine mesh strainer of any type.

Old Fashioned (bittered sling style)


  • 2 Old Fashioned glasses (or tumbler or rocks glass)
  • Cocktail barspoon (or other long, thin spoon)
  • Jigger (or set of spoon measures)
  • Peeler (or small knife)


  • Hard ice
  • 1 t sugar
  • 1 t water
  • 2 dashes Angostura (or other) bitters
  • 2 oz. Bourbon or rye of choice
  • Lemon, optional
  • Orange
  • Cocktail cherry

Recipe: Traditional BIG (Build-in-Glass) Style

In glass, dissolve sugar in water. Fill with hard ice and add 2 dashes bitters and 2 oz whiskey. Stir briefly. Optionally twist lemon zest and drop in. Serve.

We’ll be building this in reverse order to demonstrate cocktail construction theory and show how cocktails are built from spirit + sweet + contrast + accent!

Whiskey Sour


  • Old Fashioned glass (or tumbler or rocks glass)
  • Cocktail shaker (or quart-sized glass canning jar, preferably with two-part lid)
  • Hawthorne strainer
  • Fine mesh strainer
  • Jigger (or set of spoon measures)
  • Small knife
  • Cutting board


  • Hard ice
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • Juice of half a lemon (~ 1 oz)
  • 2 oz whiskey
  • Egg, optional


Fill small part of shaker with ice. Add 1 oz simple syrup, juice of half a lemon and 2 oz whiskey. Shake vigorously. Optionally, strain back into small part of shaker, discard the ice, add white of one egg and re-shake (“dry” shake). Double-strain (Hawthorne + fine mesh) into glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with lemon wheel or wedge and serve.

Mint Julep


  • Julep cup, the fancier the better
  • Lewis bag + mallet (or crushed ice from your refrigerator or Sonic, whatever’s easiest)
  • Large spoon
  • Cocktail barspoon (or other long, thin spoon)
  • Jigger (or set of spoon measures)
  • Straw (or julep strainer, if you want to be historically accurate)
  • Cutting board with liquid groove, optional


  • 1 large sprig of fresh mint (try to find a softer mint like KY Colonel or spearmint instead of a harsher mint like peppermint)
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • 2-3 oz whiskey
  • Ice


Remove lower leaves from mint spring and gently roll around the inside of the julep cup, starting at the bottom and finishing at the lip; discard the leaves. Completely fill julep cup with crushed ice. Add 1 oz simple syrup and 2-3 oz whiskey. Stir until cup frosts. Slap mint and insert. Serve with straw or julep strainer.



  • Martini glass (or coupe glass, if you want to go more modern)
  • Cocktail mixing/stirring glass (or large bar glass or canning jar)
  • Cocktail barspoon (or other long, thin spoon)
  • Jigger (or set of spoon measures)
  • Julep or Hawthorne strainer (if not using a canning jar)


  • Hard ice
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 oz sweet vermouth (get a good one like Carpano Antica Formula)
  • 2 oz whiskey, preferably rye-heavy
  • Cocktail cherry (get a real one like Jack Rudy, Bada Bing, Luxardo, or Woodford Reserve)


Fill serving glass with ice to pre-chill. Fill mixing glass with ice and add 2 dashes Angostura bitters, 1 oz sweet vermouth and 2 oz whiskey. Stir gently for 60 – 90 seconds. Discard ice from serving glass, strain cocktail into serving glass, garnish with cherry and serve.

If you are just starting your home bar, these will be some of your best bets: