5 Unique Whiskey Cocktails To Drink For The Cool Factor

It is widely believed that the first true cocktail that humans sipped on was a Sazerac — an icy tipple made from Herbsaint (an anise-flavored liqueur similar to absinthe), Peychaud's bitters, sugar, and whiskey that was born in New Orleans in the 1800s. Safe to say, whiskey has been a central spirit in the world of cocktails since the very day the term was invented.

Despite this history, however, neat, on the rocks, or with water are the terms most often used when ordering a tumbler of whiskey. Even when it is mixed with bitters, syrups, and mixers, it is mostly the classics that remain popular — a dash of bitters with an orange peel for an old-fashioned, a frothy layer of egg whites for a whiskey sour, a splash of vermouth for a Manhattan, or a toasty concoction of spices, honey, and hot water to make the soul-warming, cold-fighting potion that is a hot toddy.

For those willing to sip on whiskey cocktails beyond the classics, however, there are so many unique tipples to try. From sweet beverages that taste like liquid peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to fiery ones spiked with hot sauce, there are plenty of unique whiskey cocktails to sip on that are just as hip and cool to look at as they are delicious to drink.

Peanut butter and jelly is a nostalgic tipple for adults

While you're never too old to eat a PB&J sandwich, the great perk of being an adult is that you can enjoy it as a thick, jammy, and fabulously potent cocktail. The absolute essential that you need here is a peanut butter-infused spirit or liqueur. While this peanut butter and jelly cocktail recipe from The Daily Meal opts for peanut butter-washed Campari, raspberry-flavored vermouth, and gin to make a negroni-style PB&J cocktail, it is incredibly easy to make it with whiskey too.

For one, there are plenty of peanut butter-flavored whiskeys (yes, they are a thing!) that you can conveniently buy from the store, such as those from Old Smokey and Skrewball. It's also possible to infuse any bottle that you own with those salty and buttery flavors, especially since many whiskeys already have nutty notes in them, making them natural fits for the drink. Simply whisk creamy, unsweetened peanut butter into whiskey, strain the liquid through a coffee filter after a month, and you'll have your peanut butter whiskey.

For the jelly part of the sandwich-turned-cocktail, you could use either Chambord — which is a French raspberry liqueur — or a combination of cranberry juice and an orange liqueur such as Cointreau. Grape-flavored soda is an excellent option too, but if you're in a pinch, muddle some strawberries with simple syrup, shake the puree with the peanut butter whiskey and ice, and your PB&J cocktail will be ready for drinking.

The New Orleans milk punch is a liquid dessert

Milk and whiskey may not seem like the most smashing pairing at first, but if you think about it, there are plenty of cocktails that combine alcohol with dairy — take the vodka, Kahlua, and cream in a white Russian, or the eggs, cream, and milk that are spiked with spirits to make eggnog, for example. The New Orleans milk punch is another testament to the delicious pairing of sweet dairy and booze — and one that happens to be a big favorite among residents of the Crescent City, especially on holidays.

The New Orleans milk punch can be made from either bourbon or brandy, as both are equally popular spirits for the tipple and can be swapped in equal measures. For example, the New Orleans-based Galatoire's milk punch recipe published on Tasting Table recommends two ounces of either bourbon or brandy. From there, the punch calls for a generous pour of whole milk, a splash of vanilla extract, and a drizzle of simple syrup — all shaken with ice and poured into a glass with a sprinkle of nutmeg. You could also add some heavy cream to the cocktail. The mix of milk and cream will give the punch a thick, creamy, and almost pudding-like texture that's similar to eggnog, except milk punch is lighter.

Bacon old-fashioned is a classic with a savory twist

There's nothing particularly unique about an old-fashioned — it is as classic a whiskey cocktail as they come. Add the flavor of salty, buttery, greasy bacon fat to it, however, and you have an entirely different beverage! The only difference between a classic old-fashioned and a bacon old-fashioned is essentially the bourbon that you use and the sweetener — the latter tends to use maple instead of simple syrup. The trick, however, is in infusing the bourbon with the savory flavor of bacon in a process known as fat-washing, which also gives the tipple a velvety mouthfeel.

To fat-wash bourbon, you essentially need to let the greasy liquid left over from frying bacon infuse into the whiskey. But a tiny spoonful or two of bacon fat from your morning breakfast won't do: For example, a 750 milliliter bottle of bourbon needs one and a half ounces of melted bacon fat to add its rich flavor to the whiskey. Once you have that, the rest of the process is fairly simple. As explained by Tasting Table, you should let the whiskey-bacon fat concoction stand at room temperature before freezing it, so all the grease solidifies. Scoop the frozen fat off, strain the rest of the liquid through a cheesecloth, and there you have it — your fat-washed, bacon-infused bourbon will be ready for you to shake as your usual old-fashioned.

The fourth down has a spicy kick for heat lovers

If you like your cocktails with a hint of spice — think bloody marys, micheladas, and spicy palomas — a fourth down is just the whiskey-based cocktail to try next. The thing about whiskey is that some varieties, such as American whiskeys like rye and bourbon, have an inherently bold and spicy tone to them, which pairs fabulously with punchy spice. This is where a fourth down comes in: It has both spices as well as hot sauce in it.

The recipe for a fourth down from Food Republic calls for eight ounces of American whiskey for four servings. In goes two limes-worth of juice for a bright and citrusy flavor — fresh juice is always best of course — an ounce of simple syrup to balance the heat, and finally, the two star ingredients: Tabasco sauce and Montreal steak seasoning. While the former will bring the heat, the spices that make the Montreal steak seasoning — paprika, cayenne, garlic, onion powders, and the like — will give the icy tipple a warm and savory complexity.

An icy bourbon slush is the perfect hot weather drink

When you think of a spiked slushy to sip on to get through a sticky summer's day, it's likely a frozen daiquiri or margarita that comes to mind. Seldom do you consider the bourbon sitting in your bar as a spirit that can be turned into an icy slushy, but it's time that changed.

A bourbon slush requires very little (minus how long it takes to slush up in the freezer) and gives a potent but delicious cocktail that can be made in big batches for a crowd. Per this Tasting Table recipe, all you need to do is brew fresh tea with water, sugar, and a few bags of black tea. Pour in bourbon as well as frozen lemonade and orange juice concentrates before freezing the drink overnight. Doll out your slushy into glasses and top it up with ginger ale when you're ready to serve.

Because of its simplicity, the trick to a good bourbon slush is to not deviate too far from the few basics. Stick to black tea instead of other options like green tea because you will need its strong flavor; don't be tempted to swap the frozen juice concentrates with freshly squeezed alternatives, either. Lastly, never forget to top up the slushy with soda, ginger ale, or even champagne as this will give it that sippable consistency and extra flavor.

Static Media owns and operates Food Republic, Tasting Table, and The Daily Meal.