Bulleit Bourbon Kentucky Buck

How to Make the Kentucky Buck, or making the mule American

Bulleit Bourbon Kentucky BuckIn recent years, the moscow mule has become one of the most popular cocktails. The wonderful copper mugs that started as a marketing ploy by Smirnoff have become a requisite item for any home bar and ginger beer brands have flourished. But as it turns out, mules aren’t the only family of drinks that use ginger beer.  The buck is a traditional American cocktail that is essentially a mule, but usually uses a brown spirit like whiskey or rum. This “Bulliet Bourbon” Kentucky buck is a wonderful and potent cocktail which is likely to become your new favorite ginger beer cocktail.

Kentucky Buck

  • 1½ ounces Bourbon
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • ½ ounce fresh lemon juice
  • ½ ounce simple syrup
  • ginger beer
  • 1 strawberry
  • garnish with a lemon wheel and strawberry slice

Begin by adding the lemon juice and strawberry to a cocktail shaker. Muddle until the strawberry is crushed and begins to incorporate with the lemon juice. Next add a generous portion of ice to the shaker. Then pour in the bourbon, bitters, and simple syrup. Shake until chilled – about 20 seconds. Now fill a collins glass with ice and strain in the contents of the shaker. Next top off the cocktail with ginger beer, usually about four to six ounces. Finally garnish with a lemon wheel and thinly sliced strawberry. Sip away on the subtle sweetness which is perfectly complimented by the fiery flavors of the ginger and bourbon.

What Bourbon Should I Use in this Kentucky Buck?

I chose to go with Bulliet Bourbon for this cocktail.  The notes of caramel, spice and oak add a nice profile to compliment the acidity of the lime and ginger. Bulliet Bourbon is a great step up from brands like Old Grand-Dad and Evan Williams Black Label, offering a bolder flavor profile for only a little more expense. It should be noted however that Old Grand-Dad and Evan Williams is an excellent and inexpensive bourbon in its own right that I often use when I want to make cocktails more affordable.

Another great “upgrade” is Buffalo Trace. Made by the purveyors of the best bourbons on the planet (Stagg, Pappy, you name it, they make it) there are few better “bang-for-the-buck” bourbons.  There are plenty of great cheap bourbons that are even more cost effective though and for big batches, grabbing a couple handles of Evan Williams or my personal favorite McAfee’s Benchmark Old No. 8  (also made by Buffalo Trace) are definitely a good way to go to make this Kentucky buck.

Total cost per drink? ~$1.15

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