Bourbon, Recipes

National Bourbon Day + Cocktail Recipe

national bourbon day

Today is June 14. In Kentucky, it’s especially an important day. Why, may you ask? Today is National Bourbon Day. We are responsible for 95% of the world’s bourbon, so of course, we are going to celebrate it. It’s to celebrate America’s native spirit. There’s actually a whole month dedicated to bourbon; Bourbon Heritage Month, but it’s in September.

Something important to remember: All bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon.

I’m not going to make this a history lesson or an informative session on the differences. Instead, I’m going to show you how to make a yummy bourbon cocktail, as well as give other suggestions for some very popular drinks. Drink one of these, and you’ll feel like a true Kentuckian.

I’m going to teach you how to make a Chucktown Sunrise. It’s very similar to the Kentucky Mule, except the Kentucky Mule doesn’t have grenadine (and is served in a copper mug). Nevertheless, the Kentucky Mule is a must if you want a bourbon cocktail.


{If It Ain’t Kentucky, It Ain’t Bourbon glass from Kentucky for Kentucky}

  • 2 tablespoons of your favorite bourbon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice (I used sweetened lime juice)
  • 10 ounces of ice
  • 6 tablespoons of ginger ale or ginger beer*
  • 1/4 teaspoon of grenadine
  • fresh lime slices or wedges for garnish

*I chose to use Ale-8-One, which is a soda that is found in Kentucky (There are some places in Ohio, Tennessee, Indiana, and Florida. You can also find it in Cracker Barrel nationwide). It was introduced in the 1920s in Winchester, Kentucky and can be described a ginger soda with a kick. Lots of Kentuckians love mixing their bourbon with Ale-8, and it’s even considered a signature drink at some establishments.

There are a few differences between ginger ale and ginger beer. As the Huffington Post states:

“The big difference between ginger beer and ginger ale is that ginger beer is brewed (fermented) but ginger ale is just carbonated water that’s been flavored with ginger. Today’s brewed ginger beers are categorized as non-alcoholic drinks because their alcohol content is less than 0.5 percent, which meets FDA requirements. Since ginger beers are naturally fermented, they have less carbonation and often develop a beer-like head when poured into a glass. Some ginger beers are sold unfiltered and appear cloudy, so it’s recommended the bottle be inverted before drinking to reincorporate any separation.”



  • Combine 2 Tbsp. bourbon and 1 1/2 tsp. fresh lime juice in a cocktail shaker; fill with ice.
  • Cover with lid, and shake vigorously until thoroughly chilled (about 30 seconds).
  • Strain into a 10-oz. glass filled with ice.*
  • Top with 6 Tbsp. of your favorite ginger ale or ginger beer.
  • Drizzle with 1/4 tsp. grenadine.
  • Garnish with fresh lime slices or wedges.

*Since I didn’t use fresh lime juice, I didn’t need a strainer.



Other traditional popular bourbon drinks:

And there’s always the classic Bourbon and Coke.

Now go and celebrate! Cheers!

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  • I’m not a whiskey or bourbon drinker and I didn’t even know that there was a bourbon day. You learn something new everyday. 🙂

  • I didn’t know that Kentucky was responsible for 95% of the world’s bourbon. That’s impressive. The Chucktown Sunrise sounds wonderful. I love ginger beer.

    • The majority of it is made all in Central Kentucky. Mostly because of the limestone water, which is perfect for making bourbon 🙂

  • Oh well, I would to try this today since it is Bourbon Day which I never knew existed, so if there is a day dedicated to it, why not try it LOL

  • Michelle Elenee

    I don’t know that much about spirits, but it’s very interesting to about the America’s native spirit, and that Kentucky is responsible for 95% of the world’s bourbon. Wouldn’t mind trying this even though I don’t whisky nor bourbon 🙂

    • I really like bourbon, but bourbon is an acquired taste. Actually, there are more bourbon barrels aging right now than there are people in the state!! In 2014, there was 5.6 million barrels of bourbon aging and only 4.4 million people!

  • Oh my gosh, my fiancé would LOVE this post. I’m not a huge fan, though. I stick to my girly drinks lol!

  • Honestly, I’m quite sure that I haven’t tried bourbon before. The hubby would like it but I’m with chelsea, I like my fruity girly drinks 🙂

    • Bourbon is an acquired taste. It can be very strong depending on the drink you get and the bartender hahah! Your hubby should have one and celebrate 🙂

  • Rebecca Bryant

    I have never tried bourbon before but this recipe makes me think I need to give it a taste.

    • You should! All bourbons taste differently and some have a stronger taste than others. I really like it, but it can be an acquired taste for some people!

  • Debra Hawkins

    I don’t drink, but I actually have a thing for those gorgeous bottles! I love to make things out of them!

    • We have this ‘Lamp Bottle Kit Converter,’ so we just stick the adapter into the top, and voila! We now have a lamp 🙂

  • We were at the Beer Cheese festival last week and enjoyed several Ale 8’s. We joked all we needed was some bourbon! I’ve not tried this cocktail but will put in on our list.

    • I wanted to go to that, but my husband was out of town! It looked like fun from what I saw! There’s always an occasion to have bourbon 🙂

  • I don’t think I have ever tried bourbon before! This looks delicious and refreshing. I think I will have to try it – I’m sure my husband will love it 🙂

  • my wife’s two favorite things: Ale 8 and Maker’s Mark… she loves her bourbon! 🙂 She celebrated with some Maker’s in her coffee yesterday!

  • Haley Hanniford Beverly

    Can’t wait to share this with my hubby!

  • Oh my goodness, yes please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jessica Bradshaw

    YUM! My husband will love this. We didn’t know it was national bourbon day, but we unintentionally celebrated. 😉

    • Hahaha!! Even though June 14 is the official National Bourbon Day, everyday can be National Bourbon Day if you live in Kentucky hahah! 🙂

  • Justine Y

    I don’t drink, but I think that’s crazy that 95% of the world’s bourbon comes form your state!! I do love grenadine though, that in anything makes for a delicious drink.

    • And it’s mostly just from the central part of the state. It’s the perfect mix of climate and the limestone water, which makes it perfect for making bourbon. There’s also more bourbon barrels aging than there are people in Kentucky! (In 2014, there was 5.6 barrels and 4.4 million people)

  • I don’t think I’ve ever had bourbon! I’ll have to fix that! I also didn’t know Kentucky was responsible for some much of the supply!

    • Yep! It’s mostly just the central part of the state too. If go on some bourbon distillery tours, you’ll hear all about the climate and the limestone water, which is ideal for making bourbon 🙂

  • Sounds delicious! I love bourbon and have been really into making bourbon old fashioneds lately.

    Nellwyn |

    • I love bourbon too. Usually I have a bourbon and coke. But now, I want to experiment with making different bourbon cocktails.

  • Wendy Polisi

    You are bringing back memories. I haven’t had bourbon since my mid-20’s! This drink looks amazing and their might be a bottle of Maker’s Mark in my future.

  • Yum that drink looks so stinking good!
    XO Amanda |

  • Lots of people will be getting DRUNKKKKK today! haha!

  • CourtneyLynne Storms

    Oooooooo how yummy is this cocktail?!?!! I just love makers mark!!!!! I will be making this that’s for sure 🙂

  • MMMM yes! Love, love!!

  • Mmh, yummy! Looks and sounds delicious! I will definitely try this!

  • Lisa

    Sounds good, I love old fashions and whiskey sours, they are my go to drinks. 🙂

  • Reesa Lewandowski

    What an interesting fact you shared about the whiskey & bourbon! THis is a great father’s day cocktail to make!

    • I’m planning on doing a post outlining the differences between bourbon and whiskey, since bourbon is such as huge thing here and since so many people (including Kentuckians) that don’t know the differences. Like for example, Bourbon needs to be produced in America and made from 51 percent corn, and whiskey does not or bourbon also needs to be stored in new charred-oak barrels, whereas whiskey barrels do need to be oak but not new or charred 🙂

      My husband really liked it!

  • I love Maker’s Mark – no joke, I really enjoy both whiskey and scotch. This drink sounds so good – thank you for sharing it!

  • Becca Wilson

    I have never heard of this kind of drink, but it sounds yummy! I had no idea that there was a National Bourbon Day either. How cool.

    • I’ve not sure where it originated, but in 1964 Lyndon B. Johnson approved a law ath designated bourbon as America’s Native Spirit

  • Mardene Carr

    LOL I guess there is a day for everything these days. I have never heard of this one

    • Hehe… I’m not sure where it originated or how long it has been around. But in 1964, there was a law approved by Lyndon B. Johnson that made bourbon America’s Native Spirit

  • Hehehe 🙂

  • You hit the nails head on this one. I love Makers Mark. Also i didn’t know there waas a ginger beer. That was great information to know. I will have to try that.

    • At one of our grocery stores, it is sold in the soda aisle. You can find it at liquor stores, as well as stores like Whole Foods and Fresh Market too. I think having tried drinks with both ginger ale and ginger beer, I prefer ginger beer.