10 Best Bourbons For Milkshakes

There are so many ways to enjoy a milkshake. Whether you prefer vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, or any other unique flavor, milkshakes are made for people of all ages with all kinds of tastes. But what if you want to make your milkshake a little more grown-up?

Milkshakes and bourbon go incredibly well together. The subtle sweetness of bourbon complements the ice cream flavor, and the milk helps cut through the overall booziness of liquor. It's why a milk punch or a white Russian are such popular drinks, and why you can find boozy milkshakes at restaurants, diners, and cafes everywhere. 

However, before you go splashing bourbon into your next milkshake with reckless abandon, keep reading because different ice cream flavors go better with various bourbons. To help you take your dessert game to the next level — and enjoy an after-dinner treat and a nightcap at the same time — we've rounded up the 10 best bourbons for whatever kind of milkshake you're making, revealing which ones work best with each flavor. Enjoy your adult sweet treat and thank us later.

Maker's Mark 46: Best bourbon for vanilla milkshakes

Maker's Mark is already one of the most popular bourbons on the market, and Maker's Mark 46 is a special update on the traditional bottle. Ten seared French oak staves are added to the barrel before the bourbon is done aging, delivering mildly sweet but deeply rich notes of caramel and vanilla.

Those bold flavors can cut through the strong taste of vanilla ice cream, making it a perfect pairing for your classic vanilla milkshake. While you will have to spend extra money on the Maker's Mark 46 compared to a traditional Maker's Mark bottle, it's worth it because of the richness it adds to the milkshake.

You can even double up in your Maker's Mark additions to your vanilla milkshake by adding Snake & Butterfly Bourbon Caramel, which includes Maker's Mark in it. Blend up a deliciously boozy milkshake with these ingredients, or try making your own bourbon caramel with some Maker's Mark 46 to drizzle on shakes and all kinds of other desserts.

Keeper's Heart Irish Bourbon Whiskey: Best bourbon for butterscotch or caramel milkshakes

You may be wondering why we included an Irish whiskey on this list. Irish whiskeys are, you guess it, made in Ireland while bourbon is strictly made in the United States. However, Keeper's Heart is a unique blend of both. It mixes triple-distilled pot still whiskey, grain whiskey, and a corn-heavy bourbon blend, making it the perfect Irish whiskey for bourbon lovers. 

Keeper's Heart delivers a completely different tasting experience that you may not typically get from regular Irish whiskey or bourbon. There are notes of caramel, vanilla, cocoa, and pecan pie, which makes for a sweeter and more buttery flavor compared to other bourbons, not to mention typical Irish whiskeys that lean more earthy. Butterscotch or caramel ice cream works great with this bottle, as the caramelized sugar and rich butter that is used to make both of these flavors helps bring out the tasting notes in this unique bourbon blend.

Coopers' Craft Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey: Best bourbon for fruity milkshakes

Some people love rich flavors like chocolate or vanilla as the star of the show in their milkshake. Others like to lighten things up, preferring fruity ice cream in their milkshakes. If that's you, and you want to booze it up, Coopers' Craft Kentucky Straight Bourbon is your ideal bottle to mix with fruity milkshakes. Even though it's 82.2 proof, which is slightly higher than many bourbons, it has a gentle flavor profile that won't overpower the pleasing fruit flavors of your dessert. 

Adding in a few ounces of Coopers' Craft with your favorite fruity ice cream in the blender will bring a whole new experience for your taste buds. Coopers' Craft gives off aromas of baked apple and citrus custard with tasting notes of lemon and apple. So you can imagine the hints of citrus as it cuts through a peach, strawberry, or mixed berry ice cream. The warmth of pepper, nutmeg, and cinnamon notes also works perfectly with bright and juicy fruits. And in return, the rich creaminess of the ice cream balances out the higher proof to deliver an incredibly smooth and flavorful bourbon milkshake. It's like drinking a fruit cobbler in a glass!

Four Roses Single Barrel: Best bourbon for chocolate milkshakes

Chocoholics, listen up! There are few things that can bring joy and comfort more than a rich chocolate milkshake. But how do you choose a bourbon that won't get washed away by it?

Enter Four Roses Single Barrel bourbon. This is a complex and spicy rye bourbon (in terms of baking spices, not hot peppers) that works with multiple kinds of chocolate. It's made with a blend of 60% corn, 35% rye, and 5% malted barley, along with delicate fruit yeast as well. It balances both creamy milk chocolate or semi-sweet dark chocolate alike thanks to its tasting notes of cocoa, vanilla, maple syrup, and juicy stone fruits like dried pear, plum, and cherries.

Four Roses Single Barrel is a 100-proof bourbon, so it has a higher ABV and will stand up to the richness of whatever kind of chocolate ice cream you use in your milkshake. We promise, you'll be impressed by how well this bourbon balances out the chocolate.

Bulleit Bourbon: Best bourbon for seasonal milkshakes

One of the most popular bourbons on the market is Bulleit Bourbon, which is smooth in taste and slightly oaky on the nose. It hits your palate with hints of light toffee flavor and warming spices like nutmeg, making it an ideal bourbon for pairing with seasonal milkshakes. 

The cold weather months are the perfect time to utilize Bulleit Bourbon because the warmth of the notes blends well when the weather turns chilly. Plus, toffee and nutmeg are frequently used in all kinds of desserts and baked goods around the holidays. Case in point — you'll find plenty of recipes for Bulleit Eggnog as the winter season rolls around. That's why mixing this bourbon with a fall or winter ice cream flavor, like cinnamon, candy cane, or pumpkin, will deliver for you like a gift on Christmas morning. The sweetness and spiciness of the bourbon really come through to add to the experience. 

Elijah Craig Small Batch: Best bourbon for mint milkshakes

While not as ubiquitous as chocolate and vanilla, mint milkshakes are a common flavor you can find on the menu at ice cream parlors and diners. The cooling sensation of mint with the creaminess of milk combines for a fantastic sip. It's why McDonald's Shamrock Shakes are such a hit each year in March. 

But mint milkshakes aren't just for St. Patrick's Day, and many people love them all year round. Of course, if you want to get into the St. Patrick's Day spirit, try a boozy mint milkshake made with Elijah Craig Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon. It comes from a well-respected, award-winning distillery. This small batch bottle is a smart choice to pair with mint ice cream because it has sweet notes of honey and marzipan, and even the fresh aroma of mint on the nose. Plus, this 94-proof bourbon begs for a stronger ice cream flavor like mint to help mask any excess booziness. 

Buffalo Trace Bourbon Cream: Best bourbon for root beer floats

You may not always be in the mood for a milkshake. Sometimes, you want something a little different, and a root beer float may do the trick. If you'd rather make a boozy float, grab your favorite can of root beer and a bottle of Buffalo Trace Bourbon Cream. You can save yourself the hassle of having to add milk to your drink as this liqueur combines Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon with cream, making it smooth and easy to enjoy. It is 15% ABV, much lower than other options on this list, so you won't be overwhelmed by the bourbon taste. 

The tasting notes for this award-winning spirit are rich and sweet as the cream is flavored with vanilla. Adding vanilla ice cream — along with root beer – boosts this entire experience. You don't even need the ice cream if you want a less fattening version of a root beer float. But if you do want to add a little something else to your float, make some Whipped Bourbon Cream Topping to go on top. 

Devils River Coffee Bourbon: Best bourbon for coffee-flavored milkshakes

Coffee is an acquired taste, but those who like it tend to really love it. So if you're a coffee addict who joneses for their cup each day or you're someone who just loves the taste of coffee ice cream, making a coffee-flavored milkshake seems like a no-brainer. Punch it up a notch with Devils River Coffee Bourbon and get your coffee-flavored fix for dessert. Devils River Coffee Bourbon uses Vienna Roast "free-trade" coffee beans in its distilling process, as the makers found that Vienna Roast beans best complement the whiskey by adding a deeper flavor profile. The smell is rich, bringing out the aromas of dark roasted coffee. The bourbon itself offers smelling notes of caramel, citrus, and berry, packing sweet and pungent scents. 

The coffee taste comes through in the bourbon because Devils River steeps it in Vienna Roast beans for 24 hours at a low temperature, mimicking how cold-brew coffee is made. The tasting notes of espresso and dark chocolate make it ideal to add to some coffee ice cream for an enjoyable java experience for even the occasional coffee drinker. If you want to minimally feature a coffee taste in your milkshake, take Devils River's advice and try out the Cinnamon Toast Crunch Coffee Bourbon Milkshake

Jim Beam Red Stag: Best bourbon for cherry milkshakes

Cherries are toppings that are synonymous with ice cream, so cherry-flavored ice cream is a personal favorite of many because the ingredients blend so well. Whether you're eating a cherry and vanilla-blended or a cherry and chocolate-blended ice cream, the bites of sliced cherries in them add to the complexity of the treat. If you're someone who loves the flavor of cherry, Jim Beam Red Stag is the right add-in for a boozy cherry milkshake. The Kentucky Straight bourbon is mixed with black cherry liqueur to provide both smelling and tasting notes of cherry. Jim Beam is one of the original believers in flavored bourbon and this is one of the top options. 

The cherry flavor is balanced out nicely with notes of vanilla, oak, and caramel, providing a smooth cherry flavor that isn't overpowering but is still present. The tartness of the cherries can mellow out the sharpness of bourbon, making it an unbeatable combination in the alcohol as well as in an adult cherry milkshake. Add some cherry bourbon jam to complete the full-on experience. 

Stellum Bourbon: Best bourbon for a spicy milkshake

Add some heat to your life with a spicy milkshake to end the night on a high note. People either love spicy food or they can't handle it. For those who love it, it can be hard to find a way to bring that infatuation of spice into their cocktails. Most people may think of a Bloody Mary when they think of a spicy cocktail, but spicy bourbon is also common for cocktails. While many bourbons are cinnamon-forward when it comes to spicy flavors, they tend to drown out anything they are mixed with, making them not ideal for an ice cream treat. Try Stellum Bourbon if you're looking to add some spice to your milkshake.

Stellum Bourbon packs a peppery punch as it has spicy tasting notes of cayenne, black pepper, and cinnamon baked apples as it spreads across your palate. The finish carries more black pepper, so you can really notice it. Clove and allspice jump out on the smelling notes, so you're getting both baking spices and pepper to add to the overall spice profile. Rather than adding cayenne pepper to a chocolate milkshake, utilizing Stellum will give you a similar effect and taste plus add in the booziness. If you're looking for something to sprinkle over it, adding some Bourbon Barrel Smoked Black Pepper can tie everything together.