Tis the season for endless holiday gatherings, and if you are the whiskey geek of the family you may have been tasked with putting together the holiday bar. Not to worry, you don’t have to break out the vault bottles unless you really want to. Holiday entertaining can be as simple as you want to make it – a small bourbon bar and a signature cocktail or two made ahead will help your guests feel merry and bright.

For your bourbon bar, make sure you have a jigger to measure pours, Glencairn and rocks glasses, high quality ice for rocks pours (here are some great tips about ice from Camper English), bar mops for spills, and a variety of bourbons you wouldn’t mind sharing with your guests.

For cocktails you can plan ahead and batch things into your punch bowl, or you can play bartender all night if that’s your thing. Below are recipes from local Louisville mixologists who can accommodate both styles. Thank you to Four Roses and all the local mixologists, bars, and restaurants who came up with these festive cocktail ideas!

Batch Ahead Recipes For Your Punch Bowl Or Beverage Jar

Bloody Harvest

By Eric Lattimore, Pizza LUPO

6 oz bourbon

6 oz fresh local apple cider (we use Huber’s)

6 oz Amaro Meletti

1 oz lemon juice

Lambrusco to top

Directions: Stir all ingredients together with ice in a big pitcher. Then pour into however many glasses you care to serve and then top with a nice dry Lambrusco.

Butchertown Nogg

By Eron Plevan, mixologist at ALEX&NDER

7.5 oz vanilla bean infused Butchertown

3.75 oz heavy cream

3.75 oz cinnamon syrup (or to taste)

5 egg yolks

Nutmeg & cinnamon dust, for garnish

Directions: Add all ingredients to a blender and mix to combine. Can be served with or without ice.

The Nulu Princess

By Davy Butterworth, beverage director at Decca

8 oz Cappelletti

4 oz Effen vodka

8 oz orange juice

4 oz lemon juice

2 oz simple syrup*

2 oz water

1 bottle of Mionetto Prosecco

Directions: Combine everything except the Prosecco and stir vigorously, then add Prosecco and stir gently. Garnish with an orange peel if you want to get fancy.

* Simple Syrup recipe: Combine 2 cups organic sugar with 1 cup hot water to a pot over medium heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. Store in fridge.

This is Fun

By Keri Smith, bar manager, Doc Crow’s Southern Smokehouse & Raw Bar

15 oz Copper & Kings Unaged Apple Brandy

5 oz Fee Brother’s Orgeat

5 oz Real Ginger Infused Syrup OR 5 oz Ginger Beer of your choosing

0.5 oz Bar Keep Apple Bitters

Add all ingredients to a large glass pitcher filled with ice and stir to completely mix the ingredients well. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Serve over fresh ice and garnish with expressed lemon peels or a lemon wheel. Makes 10 2.5 oz cocktails.

Festive NuLu Days Cocktails Made With Four Roses

Time After Thyme

Trisha Torpey, Against the Grain

1 1/2 oz Four Roses Bourbon

3/4 oz Smoked thyme maple syrup

1/2 oz Lemon juice  

2 oz Orange juice

1 dash Angostura® bitters

Shake all ingredients into a shaker tin. Strain over 2-inch ice cube in rock glass. Garnish with an orange wheel float and sprig of thyme. Atomize with angostura bitters. 

Little Jack Horner

Kelly Lynch, Harvest

1 1/2 oz Four Roses Small Batch

1/2 oz Cardamaro®

1/2 oz House made white plum syrup

1/4 oz Lime juice

1 dropper Bitter Truth® Pimento Dram

Add all ingredients to a shaker, and then serve in a dessert wine glass over ice, and garnished with a dehydrated lime and thyme sprig, with a spritz of black mission fig bitters. The house made white plum syrup should be spiced with smoked black, pink and Szechuan peppercorns and coriander.

You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out

Heather Morgan, Taj NuLu

1 1/2 oz Four Roses Small Batch

3/4 oz Honey syrup

1/4 oz Lemon juice

1/4 oz Chartreuse®

1 dash Angostura® bitters

Shake all ingredients and stir over chilled coupe glass. Top with champagne and garnish with torched orange peel.

Mother Parker

Alanna Fugate, Goodwood Brewing Company

1 1/2 oz Four Roses Single Barrel

1 1/2 oz Ginger habanero syrup

3/4 oz Lime juice

Shoot Your Eye Out Milk Stout

Shake all ingredients and strain over ice. Finish with Goodwood Brewing Company’s Shoot Your Eye Out Milk Stout.

Oh Poi, it’s Fall

Kia Nishida, Grind Burger Kitchen

2 oz Four Roses Small Batch, infused with apple and cinnamon

.5 oz Trader Vic’s Macadamia Nut Liqueur

.5 oz 100% Pure Maple Syrup

.75 oz Lemon Juice

1 dash Elemakule Tiki Bitters

Shake with ice then strain all ingredients over fresh ice into a Collins glass. Top with sparkling apple cider and garnish with a gala apple slice. 

Holiday at the Beach

Mark Duffy, Taste Fine Wines and Bourbons

2 oz Four Roses Bourbon

1/2 oz Aperol®

3/4 oz Fresh lemon juice

3/4 oz Ginger infused simple syrup

1 dash Orange bitters

Club soda

Fresh ground cinnamon, lemon twist for garnish

Go Easy on the Pepsi

Jeremy Salmon, Garage Bar

2 oz Four Roses Bourbon

3/4 oz Pepsi® syrup

3 dashes Angostura® bitters

Stir all ingredients with ice. Strain into a glass, and add fresh herb and cranberry garnish.

Triple Dog Dare

Aaron Dawkins, Nouvelle

2oz Apple & Cinnamon infused Four Roses Small Batch

1oz Caramel & Honey Infused Simple Syrup

4 Dashes of Regan’s Orange Bitter’s

Build in a rocks glass over ice, then stir.  Add Cinnamon stick for garnish.

Santa’s Nightcap

Lauren Conley, Galaxie Bar

2 oz Four Roses Small Batch

1/2 oz Honey, cardamom, cinnamon syrup

1/4 oz Fernet Menta®

2-3 dashes Angostura® bitters

Stir all ingredients over ice, zest one lemon peel, then serve over ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with lemon wedge pierced with star anise. Honey syrup made by muddling 2 tablespoons of cardamom pods, 4 cinnamon sticks, 2 tablespoons of clove and 4 whole star anise. Lightly roast the herb mix, and after it’s aromatic, add 15 oz of honey and 15 oz of water. Bring to a boil, let cool then strain.

Four Roses Bourbon Ball Iced Mocha

Amber Roe, Toast

1.5 oz. Four Roses Bourbon

1 oz Torani Caramel Sauce

6 oz Bourbon Ball Mix

In a pint glass, filled with ice, add Four Roses Bourbon, Caramel Sauce and Bourbon Ball Mix. Shake thoroughly and top with whipped cream, cherry and chocolate sauce.

Photos Courtesy of their respective cocktail recipe creators, Featured Image courtesy of Unsplash/Henry Fournier