So you’re in your twenties or thirties now and that can of Double Brown just won’t cut it anymore – you need to up your game.

Sure, these days there seems to be no shortage of chic craft cocktail bars tucked into every conceivable corner of Ponsonby, and you’ll no doubt be able to find ingenious twists on traditional cocktails and inventive combinations of liquors.

However, in the comfort of your own home, there are likely no talented mixologists around to whip up whatever you request. The good news is it’s not too hard to whip up a delicious cocktail in your very own home. Sometimes all it takes is the ability to squeeze a few limes or pour a mixer until you’re happy with the ratios.

There are a handful of whiskey cocktails that sit above the rest. They’re unimpeachable. Regardless of whether you’re the kind of person who loves to pick a bottle of Kentucky’s finest, or new to the whiskey game, you’re going to want to check out these amazing bourbon-based cocktails.


The rich colors of this cocktail mirror those that appear during sunset at the Ogata Sunset Forest Observatory, which overlooks the Sea of Japan.


  • 2 parts Legent Bourbon
  • 1/2 part St. George NOLA Coffee Liqueur
  • 1/2 part Amaro Nardini
  • 1/2 part The Bitter Truth® Golden Galernum
  • 1 dash Angostura® Bitters
  • Grapfruit twist

How to

Grapefruit twist exuded and discarded. Stir all ingredients. Serve in a coup glass.

Jet Set

Made for the true bourbon explorer, the Jet Set brings together a variety of ingredients for a unique cocktail experience.


  • 2 parts Legent Bourbon
  • 1/2 part Averna® Amaro
  • 1/4 part dry curacao
  • 1/4 part Ancho Reyes® Original Liqueur
  • 1/4 part simple syrup
  • 2–4 dashes chocolate bitters

How to

Stir well and serve over ice.


A Manhattan brings the spiciness of rye whiskey balanced by the sweetness of fortified wine vermouth. This is a great entry-level cocktail for the person just discovering American whiskey, yet still a joy for the more developed cocktail connaisseur.


  • 1 1/2 parts Legent Bourbon
  • 1/2 part Averna® Amaro
  • 1/2 part Luxardo® Cherry Liqueur (not Maraschino Liqueur)
  • Cherry for garnish

How to

Stir all ingredients with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a cherry.

Old Pals

This is the Stars and Stripes version of the Negroni. It uses the characteristic American spirit – rye whiskey – instead of gin and became famous in the 50s. It is both strong and fascinating, like its most famous
admirers, the male stars of Hollywood of the time.  This recipe from our friends at Legent offers an inventive twist on this cocktail classic.


  • 1 1/2 parts Legent Bourbon
  • 1/2 part Campari® Liqueur
  • 1/2 part Carpano® Dry Vermouth
  • 1/4 part honey simple syrup
  • Grapefruit swath for garnish

How to

Stir all ingredients with ice and strain over large ice cube. Garnish with a grapefruit swath.

To make the honey simple syrup

  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup hot water

Add honey to hot water. Stir to incorporate. Cool before using.

Rising Sun

An obvious riff off the Hemingway Daiquiri or even the Dorchester cocktail, the Rising Sun offers an earthy flavor that is light on smoke, nicely balanced mild sour against the salty mezcal bite. It’s easy to make and easier to drink!


  • 1 1/2 parts Legent Bourbon
  • 1/2 part Rothman & Winter® Orchard Apricot Liqueur
  • 1/2 part lemon juice
  • 1/4 part simple syrup

How to

Stir all ingredients with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a cherry.

Kentucky Kyushiki

This cocktail is a twist on the classic Old Fashioned, a fifties-era crowd-pleaser. Totally timeless and a little bit fancy, this cocktail is for days when you want to take things a little slower. The Kentucky Kyushiki elevates this cocktail by combining the best of East and West.


  • 2 parts Legent Bourbon
  • 1/2 part green tea simple syrup
  • 2–4 dashes lavender bitters
  • Lemon peel for garnish

How to

Stir all ingredients. Serve on the rocks and garnish with an expressed lemon peel.

To make the green tea simple syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 green tea bag

Put sugar, water and tea bag into saucepan over medium-high heat and cook until sugar is dissolved. Squeeze tea bag and remove from syrup. Cool before using.


Combining decades of experience from both the American South and the Far East, Legent Bourbon is an experimental new release that brings together Jim Beam master distiller Fred Noe and Shinji Fukuyo, chief blender for Suntory Japanese whiskey. Beginning with Beam’s classic family recipe, Noe then gave the reigns to Fukuyo who chose to further age the bourbon in red wine barrels and sherry casks for the duration of a hot Kentucky summer before it was all meticulously blended together with more straight bourbon. The resulting spirit is rich with oaky vanilla layered with bright notes of spice and dried fruit and is sure to intrigue fans of Kentucky bourbon and Japanese whiskey alike.

Legent cocktails are available at Auckland restaurants, Huami and The Sugar Club, or alternatively, it can be purchased at all good liquor retailers nationwide for $99.99 (700mL).

About The Author

Shawn Moodie
Managing Director & Entertainment Editor

Shawn has pretty diverse interests and enjoys writing on about whatever happens to take his fancy at the time. A seasoned entertainment reviewer and interviewer, Shawn has also seen every band on his 'Musicians to see before I die' list.

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