Whiskey Ginger (Bourbon Ginger Ale Cocktail)

This spicy Bourbon Ginger Ale Cocktail is the best way to warm up on a wintry night or cool down in the summer. With lime juice, ginger ale and candied ginger, it’s got enough sweetness, tartness and spiciness to send the blues away. 

A glass with gold polka dots sits on a white background with can of ginger ale and gold metal jigger off to the left. A lime slice garnishes the glass with half a lime to the right.

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Bourbon and Ginger Ale cocktail recipe

My favorite Friday nights are usually spent drinking cocktails with friends. My favorites lately have included all things ginger, like an Irish Mule or a classic whiskey ginger cocktail.

This weekend, it’s supposed to be very cold — for a Southerner, anyway — so ginger will be the perfect warmer. I’ll be sure to warm up with a Bourbon Ginger Ale Cocktail tonight. 

Also called the Whiskey Ginger, this easy whiskey cocktail can be made with just two ingredients, bourbon and ginger ale. My favorite way is to add a splash of fresh lime juice.

Like a rum & coke or a vodka cranberry, it’s the perfect cocktail to order on airplanes and at open bars because it’s so simple to make. 

Overhead view of half a lime, golden spoon, glass filled with ice and gold-colored beverage, a gold metal jigger and open can of ginger-ale

Ingredients

If you’re feeling the winter blues, you might need a cocktail. This Bourbon Ginger Ale Cocktail is a good winter remedy, but it’s a great drink to enjoy all year long. Here’s what you need to make it:

Whiskey

Bourbon brings its sweet, oaky, caramel flavor to the ginger ale. You can use just about any bourbon you can find.

Another type of whiskey, such as rye or scotch, can be used instead of bourbon. You can even use a flavored bourbon like cinnamon whiskey to take this cocktail up a notch.

However, if you use Irish whiskey, the drink will be called an Irish Buck!

Ginger ale

Bourbon and ginger ale are a match made in cocktail heaven.

Bourbon is warm and smooth, while ginger ale is sweet with a slight spice to it, making it a perfect bourbon mixer.

You can use ginger beer instead if you like. Ginger ale is lighter and sweeter than ginger beer, while ginger beer is spicer and sharper. It’s totally up to you.

For brands of store-bought ginger ale, my go-to is Seagram’s because I find its ginger flavor to be stronger, but Canada Dry is my second choice.

Lime juice

A splash of lime juice — ideally from a fresh lime — brings some zesty flavor and helps to balance the sweetness of ginger ale and bourbon. I usually use a citrus squeezer to juice my limes.

Store-bought lime juice is great in a pinch. It will still taste good if you use the bottled concentrate, but if you have time to squeeze some limes, don’t skimp.

Garnishes

While I am perfectly happy just drinking a bourbon and ginger ale, you know I like to fancy things up just a bit. 

So that’s exactly what I did with this drink. I took a classic combination and added a couple of extra — but very simple — ingredients to make it a little more special.

For this cocktail, I added a bit of lime and candied ginger into the mix.

The addition of candied ginger here gives this cocktail a little extra spiciness, plus it’s something to nibble on once the drink is gone.

Close-up view of a Bourbon Ginger Ale cocktail in a glass with ice and cocktail tools scattered behind

How to make a Whiskey Ginger

This whiskey ginger recipe is enough to make four cocktails, but you can easily scale it down to one. It is one of the easiest cocktails out there! Here’s how to make it:

  1. Pour an ounce of bourbon into 4 ice-filled glasses.
  2. Divide ginger ale among glasses.
  3. Give each glass a squeeze of lime and drop the spent shell in the drink.
  4. Garnish with lime wedges and candied ginger, if desired, and serve immediately.

I use a rocks glass (affiliate link), but you can easily double the recipe for a highball glass (affiliate link).

If you need to save your can of ginger ale for later, use one of these food huggers. They are life-changing!

Best whisky to mix with ginger ale

Any type of whiskey pairs well with ginger ale. From Irish whiskey to rye to scotch to bourbon, each of these strong spirits is a natural match for sweet, bubbly ginger ale. What is the best whiskey depends on your preference.

For bourbon, a great bourbon that has a more clean flavor is Maker’s Mark, Knob Creek or Bulleit. For a more flavorful bourbon, try Old Forester, Woodford Reserve or Angel’s Envy. Most of these brands offer a rye whiskey as well.

For Irish whiskey, Jameson whiskey is a natural choice, and for Canadian whisky, try Crown (or one of the flavored versions).

If you have a favorite whiskey, use that. Check out my bourbon guide on this spirit for more about choosing a bottle.

A Ginger Ale Cocktail with bourbon sits alongside some of its ingredients

Where to buy candied ginger

Candied ginger is pretty easy to find in most mainstream grocery stores these days. Be sure to check in the spice aisle.

I personally prefer sliced candied ginger for garnishing cocktails. If you can only find cubed candied ginger, though, you can always thread several pieces onto a cocktail toothpick for your garnish!

Of course, you could always try your hand at making homemade candied ginger if you are really feeling fancy. That would be an A+ way to impress any of your friends (and would make a great holiday gift along with the ingredients to make this Bourbon Ginger Ale cocktail).

Ginger beer vs. ginger ale

Not sure what the difference is between ginger beer and ginger ale?

Ginger beer is brewed and fermented. Ginger ale, on the other hand, is more like a soda – carbonated water flavored with ginger.

They’re both non-alcoholic (although you can purchase alcoholic ginger beer) and great for sipping on their own or in cocktails or mocktails. 

Ginger ale is a bit sweeter than ginger beer. Since ginger beer is fermented it tends to be more gingery, which can make it spicier depending on the brand you use. 

So if the spiciness of ginger beer usually gets you down, you’ll love trying this recipe with its milder mixer sister, ginger ale. 

A gold spotted glass holds ice and a gold liquid garnished with a lime slice with a lime, green can of ginger ale and gold spoon sit out of focus

More ginger cocktails

The Whiskey Ginger is one of my go-to drinks this time of year! (And all year, let’s be real.) But any ginger cocktail is a welcome one in my book.

The famous Moscow Mule is a classic cocktail made with vodka and ginger beer. Though this Bourbon Ginger Ale Cocktail is made with ginger ale and not ginger beer, it is still reminiscent of a mule cocktail, specifically the Kentucky Mule because it is made with bourbon. 

I even made an updated version of the Whiskey Ginger with a ginger shrub to make my Bourbon Ginger Shrub Cocktail — a seriously delicious and refreshing drink! 

The Dark & Stormy is another rum and ginger drink that’s full of spiced ginger flavor. 

More whiskey cocktails

Whiskey lovers should check out these delicious whiskey cocktails:

A gray and white dish towel wraps around a half of a lime, a gold spotted glass, a gold spoon and cocktail jigger and a Seagram's Ginger Ale

Bourbon Ginger Ale Cocktail

Yield: 4 cocktails
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

A cocktail for a wintry night or anytime, this cozy and refreshing Bourbon Ginger Cocktail will warm you right up.

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces bourbon
  • 1 can (12 ounces) ginger ale
  • 4 lime wedges
  • 4 pieces candied ginger (optional)

Instructions

  1. Pour 1 ounce of bourbon into 4 ice-filled glasses.
  2. Divide ginger ale among glasses.
  3. Squeeze one lime wedge into each glass and drop the spent shell in the drink.
  4. Garnish with candied ginger and serve immediately.

Notes

Feel free to substitute the bourbon with your favorite whiskey (rye whiskey, Irish whiskey, Scotch whiskey, etc.) or use vodka, gin, rum or tequila instead.

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As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 130Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 9mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 2gSugar: 13gProtein: 1g

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Comments

  1. cewilley says

    This drink sounds great! I actually have a little Makers Mark left over from a get together over the holidays. I may be on my way to a toasty bourbon + ginger cocktail tonight. I’m always at a loss for what to mix, so I can’t wait to see what other drinks you share!

    • Susannah says

      Yes! I tried this with Maker’s Mark over the holidays and it works just as well! You can also substitute lemon or omit the citrus altogether. Let me know what you think!

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