This modern classic was created by bartender T.J. Siegal at New York City’s Milk & Honey in the mid-2000s. The simple mix of bourbon, fresh lemon juice and honey makes it the kind of crowd-pleasing sipper that even non-whiskey drinkers will love. It’s bright, sweet, tart and perfect for any season. Some think of it as a twist on the Whiskey Sour, while others compare it to a Bee’s Knees with bourbon instead of gin. Some people even say it reminds them of a chilled Hot Toddy. However you look at it, the Gold Rush is a classic libation you should have in your bartending repertoire—especially because the recipe calls for so few ingredients and is so dang easy to memorize.
Honey syrup is super simple to make, even if you’re new to the process. All you need to do is combine equal parts honey and water in a saucepan, bring the mixture to a boil and simmer it until the honey dissolves. If you’re really in a time crunch and need to make a Gold Rush now, straight honey will work fine—but make sure you shake it extra well so it fully incorporates into the drink. While any bourbon will work for this cocktail, a high-proof, bonded bourbon will give it an extra kick to make it even more irresistible. But the Gold Rush is so balanced and satisfying, you could use practically any bottle you have on-hand.
- Add ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until cold.
- Strain into a rocks glass with a large cube of fresh ice.
- Combine the water and honey in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Reduce to a simmer and stir until honey dissolves, about 2 minutes. Immediately take the saucepan off the heat.
- Let cool, then pour into a container and store in the refrigerator for up to one month.
Mix it Up
Recommended Bonded Bourbons: Wild Turkey 101, Old Grand-Dad Bonded, Henry McKenna 10-Year, Old Fitzgerald 100 Proof Bourbon
Recommended Bourbons: Big House, Four Roses Yellow Label, Knob Creek Straight Bourbon
During Prohibition, undercover imbibers would flavor bootleg swill with lemon and honey to make it more palatable, which gave way to cocktails like the Bee’s Knees. This spicy take on the classic gin and honey cocktail gets a kick from muddled jalapeño. The vegetal bite is downright addictive.