National Bourbon Day + Cocktail Recipe

June 14, 2016

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!

  • Amanda Love June 14, 2016 at 1:09 am

    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. 🙂

  • Julie June 14, 2016 at 2:59 am

    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.

    • Whitney @ Fabulous in Fayette June 14, 2016 at 5:55 pm

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

  • Sheri June 14, 2016 at 3:10 am

    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 June 14, 2016 at 4:47 am

    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 🙂

    • Whitney @ Fabulous in Fayette June 14, 2016 at 5:58 pm

      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!

  • Chelsea June 14, 2016 at 11:03 am

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

  • Heather Lawrence June 14, 2016 at 12:47 pm

    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 🙂

    • Whitney @ Fabulous in Fayette June 14, 2016 at 5:59 pm

      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 June 14, 2016 at 7:23 pm

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

    • Whitney @ Fabulous in Fayette June 14, 2016 at 9:26 pm

      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 June 14, 2016 at 11:37 pm

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

    • Whitney @ Fabulous in Fayette June 15, 2016 at 12:17 am

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

  • Sheryl @ How to Make a Life June 15, 2016 at 7:12 am

    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.

    • Whitney @ Fabulous in Fayette June 15, 2016 at 7:35 pm

      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 🙂

  • Heather June 15, 2016 at 9:23 am

    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 🙂

  • epictinyhouse June 15, 2016 at 9:49 am

    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 June 15, 2016 at 11:10 am

    Can’t wait to share this with my hubby!

  • Susannah June 15, 2016 at 11:33 am

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

  • Jessica Bradshaw June 15, 2016 at 11:39 am

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

    • Whitney @ Fabulous in Fayette June 15, 2016 at 7:42 pm

      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 June 15, 2016 at 11:53 am

    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.

    • Whitney @ Fabulous in Fayette June 15, 2016 at 7:44 pm

      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)

  • Angela Tolsma June 15, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    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!

    • Whitney @ Fabulous in Fayette June 15, 2016 at 7:45 pm

      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 🙂

  • Nellwyn June 15, 2016 at 12:51 pm

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

    Nellwyn |

    • Whitney @ Fabulous in Fayette June 15, 2016 at 7:46 pm

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

  • Wendy Polisi June 15, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    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.

  • Amanda Kushner June 15, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    Yum that drink looks so stinking good!
    XO Amanda |

  • GiGi Eats Celebrities June 15, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    Lots of people will be getting DRUNKKKKK today! haha!

  • CourtneyLynne Storms June 15, 2016 at 8:07 pm

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

  • Summer @ Coffee With Summer June 15, 2016 at 9:58 pm

    MMMM yes! Love, love!!

  • Chrissy Z. June 16, 2016 at 3:24 am

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

  • Lisa June 16, 2016 at 12:00 pm

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

  • Reesa Lewandowski June 16, 2016 at 9:51 pm

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

    • Whitney @ Fabulous in Fayette June 24, 2016 at 10:27 pm

      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!

  • Paula Jenkins June 17, 2016 at 12:57 am

    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 June 17, 2016 at 7:00 am

    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.

    • Whitney @ Fabulous in Fayette June 24, 2016 at 10:31 pm

      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 June 18, 2016 at 6:30 am

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

    • Whitney @ Fabulous in Fayette June 24, 2016 at 10:32 pm

      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

  • Whitney @ Fabulous in Fayette June 21, 2016 at 1:32 am

    Hehehe 🙂

  • Sandy Mangis June 23, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    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.

    • Whitney @ Fabulous in Fayette June 24, 2016 at 10:22 pm

      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.

    About Me

    About Me

    Hi, y'all!

    Hey y'all! My name is Whitney, and I'm the founder of Fabulous in Fayette. I've been living in Lexington since 2008. I'm in love with my city of Lexington and love all the amazing local businesses and restaurants. It's seriously one of the best places to live!

    Not to be confused with Fayetteville, North Carolina. Fabulous in Fayette celebrates the fabulous city of Lexington, the great state of Kentucky, and Southern Living. In case you are not from here, Fayette refers to the county where Lexington is located!

    xoxo, Whitney

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