Gold Rush Cocktail: Featuring Bourbon as Snappy or Sweet

Gold Rush Cocktail
Simple and full of flavor, the Gold Rush is an easy bourbon cocktail that pairs your favorite whiskey with ginger liqueur and lemon. Photo: S&C Design Studios
  • 3 mins
  • Prep: 3 mins,
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 1 serving

Bourbon gets dressed up in the simple Gold Rush cocktail. It's a fun and snappy way to enjoy your favorite whiskey and there are two accepted recipes you can use to make it.

In both Gold Rush cocktails, bourbon is paired with lemon juice. For the snappier of the two drinks, a ginger liqueur such as Domaine de Canton is used and it actually dominates the drink, outpouring the whiskey. In the other variation, things are a bit sweeter as a homemade honey syrup replaces the liqueur.

Either Gold Rush cocktail is a fine drink and they offer the perfect canvas for exploring new and familiar bourbons.

What You'll Need

How to Make It

  1. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
  2. Shake well.
  3. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

The Sweeter Gold Rush Cocktail

This Gold Rush recipe is much milder in flavor than the other. The absence of ginger is the primary difference and a honey syrup is used instead. It is very similar to the gin-based Bee's Knees with just a slight variation between the sweet and sour elements. You could also consider it a different approach to the Whiskey Sour.

It is a delightful cocktail and one that may work better with some bourbons more than others.

To make the drink, shake 2 ounces bourbon with 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice and 1 ounce honey syrup. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Choosing the Bourbon

Each bottle of bourbon has its own unique characteristics and that is why we love this style of whiskey. Yet, we generally group them into two flavor profiles: bold and soft. This gives you some interesting options when choosing a good whiskey for either Gold Rush.

Much of this is going to depend on taste, so play around with bourbons to see which you enjoy most.

  • Bold bourbons are often higher than 80-proof and are full of big, bold flavor. Names that fall into this category include Knob Creek, Wild Turkey, and rye-heavy ​whiskeys like Bulleit.
  • Soft bourbons have a milder flavor profile though they may be bottled above 80-proof and in no way are they a 'delicate' whiskey. We typically think of Maker's Mark, Woodford Reserve, and Basil Hayden's when describing softer brands.

Which to choose? It's actually quite fun to pair either style of bourbon with either Gold Rush cocktail. If you're in the mood for a full-flavored drink, try a bold bourbon with the ginger recipe. If something smooth and relaxing is in order, try a soft bourbon with the honey syrup. Then again, you can mix and match the two flavor profiles and pour Knob Creek into the sweeter Gold Rush or vice versa.

There are many possibilities here and each new drink you mix up can be an entirely new experience.

How Strong are the Gold Rush Cocktails?

Either way you make it, the Gold Rush is about as strong as other whiskey cocktails of this style. It is a little lighter than those like the Manhattan because there are some alcohol-free mixers included in both recipes.

Yet, the Gold Rush is not the lightest drink you can mix up and they are full of flavor. With an 80-proof whiskey, we can estimate that these cocktails have an alcohol content of:

  • The Ginger Gold Rush: 23% ABV (46 proof)
  • The Honey Gold Rush: 18% ABV (36 proof)