10 Best Chasers To Pair With Bourbon

Drinking liquor straight comes with a distinct burn, especially when it comes to bourbon. While some people enjoy this sensation, others consider it less than desirable. Don't worry, though. There's a simple solution: chasers. Whether sipping bourbon on the rocks, enjoying it neat, or taking shots, following it with a chaser is the best way to cut through the potent flavor and minimize the strong burning aftertaste.

Of course, if you want or need a chaser when drinking bourbon straight, chances are you don't really enjoy the taste much or drink cheap bourbon. As a result, you'll want a chaser that seriously cuts through the potent flavor and diminishes the intense burn that follows, so something like water simply won't do. Instead, you'll want a chaser with lots of flavor to counterbalance the bourbon you're consuming. Fortunately, there are plenty of options when it comes to great bourbon chasers, and the majority of them are readily available in bars.


Coca-Cola and Pepsi are arguably the most popular chasers for bourbon. Not only are they readily available in any bar and many homes, but they both have a rich, zesty flavor perfect for cutting through alcohol, particularly bourbon. While there is a slight difference in taste between Coke and Pepsi, essentially, they both do the same job when chasing a shot. With that in mind, you can use any kind of cola as a chaser, even if it is a diet version, sugar-free, or caffeine-free.

Whichever type of cola you prefer, you can expect a bold vanilla, cinnamon, and citrus flavor profile. When you pair the flavor of cola with the taste of bourbon, which has noticeable vanilla, wood, and nut elements, it creates the perfect balance of flavor. Cola is also potent enough to cut through the intense afterburn associated with alcohol. If you chase bourbon with cola in rapid succession, you may even be able to mask the flavor of bourbon entirely, which is great if you're drinking a cheaper version.

Ginger ale or ginger beer

Both ginger ale and ginger beer make phenomenal bourbon chasers. If you prefer a lighter-tasting chaser, ginger ale is quite possibly your best bet. It has a balanced flavor with hints of sweetness and, of course, ginger. The bright taste of ginger lightens up the heaviness of bourbon and compliments the bite perfectly. The combination goes so well together that bourbon and ginger ale is an extremely popular mixed cocktail, and you can find the ingredients in any bar. So it's no surprise they also taste great one after the other. When drinking at home, a flavored ginger ale can also make a fantastic chaser. Companies like Schweppes make deliciously flavored ginger ales like raspberry, white peach, black cherry, and cranberry raspberry, all of which taste incredible with bourbon.

If you prefer a more potent chaser, ginger beer could be your new best friend. It has all the benefits of ginger ale when it comes to complementing bourbon and has significantly more flavor. Some brands feature a bit of spiciness and a touch of citrus, which further masks the taste of bourbon. You've likely encountered ginger beer and bourbon together in a Kentucky Mule, consisting of the two ingredients plus freshly squeezed lime juice.

Orange juice

Orange juice is an outstanding bourbon chaser. You can find it in any bar or restaurant; you may even have some in your fridge right now. The bold citrus flavor of orange juice pairs perfectly with bourbon's subtle vanilla, wood, and nut notes. The sweetness of both drinks also combines nicely, leaving you with a lovely aftertaste. That's why you'll find muddled oranges in an old fashioned.

Unlike soda, orange juice goes down quickly because it isn't carbonated, providing near-instant relief from bourbon's intense burn. In addition, juice does a better job coating your mouth and throat as it goes down, effectively covering the bourbon flavor on contact. Of course, if you prefer bubbles in your chaser, orange soda also works pretty well. The only drawback is that it isn't regularly stocked in bars and restaurants.

If you want to skip the two-step process of sipping and chasing, you can streamline your intake with a breakfast shot. It consists of whiskey, orange juice, and butterscotch schnapps. While this mixed shot is typically made with Irish whiskey, bourbon works just as well. Best of all, when you combine the ingredients into a single shot, you skip the unpleasant burn associated with drinking bourbon straight.

Cranberry juice

Cranberry juice is slightly sweet, a touch sour, and has a somewhat bitter aftertaste. As such, it pairs wonderfully with alcohol, bourbon included. It is commonly used as a mixer in many drinks and makes an excellent chaser. The sweet and sour taste of cranberry juice is particularly effective at balancing out the sweetness of bourbon while simultaneously cutting through any lingering burn that comes after taking a shot or sipping it straight.

Straight cranberry juice isn't the easiest thing to find because most people prefer cranberry juice cocktail, a much more sugary version of the drink. You'll rarely find pure cranberry juice in a restaurant or bar, but it is available at most health food stores or natural grocers. Cranberry juice cocktail, on the other hand, is a bar and restaurant staple. As a result, it is a convenient, good-tasting chaser. It also excels at covering the overly harsh taste of lower-quality bourbons.


Sweet and tart simultaneously, lemonade is a refreshing drink loved by all. While it may make you think of summer and quenching your thirst on hot days at first, you'll probably want to add images of bourbon to your mind as well. Lemonade's sugary, citrusy, tart flavor replaces bourbon's burn with a smooth, sweet aftertaste. The bright lemon flavor also goes well with the notes of wood and smoke found in many bourbons. In addition, lemonade is easy to make at home, and most bars and restaurants keep it on hand, so you should be able to order it as a chaser almost anywhere.

Lemonade and whiskey are an age-old pair, so it only makes sense that lemonade would go with bourbon, too. The most common recipe involving whiskey and this sweet summery drink is the Lynchburg lemonade. Traditionally made with Jack Daniels, a Tennessee whiskey, it contains lemon, lime, sugar, soda water, orange liquor, and whiskey. The sour mix created is basically lemonade with an added citrus and a big alcoholic kick. While it is a tasty drink, why make things more complicated? Simply chase bourbon with lemonade to get an eerily similar effect.


Chasing alcohol with alcohol may not be the best idea, but don't let that scare you. The effervescence and hoppy flavor of beer do a wonderful job of smoothing out the harsh flavor profile of bourbon. In addition, beer cuts through the sweet elements of bourbon, making it a great choice if you prefer a dryer, less sweet chaser. It is also available in any bar and comes in a variety of different brews, so chances are good you can find several you like.

Wheat beers are one of the best kinds of beers for chasing bourbon. They often have a light maltiness, strong grain elements, and subtle citrus notes, all blending well with bourbon. Pilsners and lagers, which are lighter in color and have a more tart taste, also make an excellent chaser. Lastly, you can also use ales, like pale ales and India pale ales, to chase bourbon. The potent hoppiness of these beers practically eliminates the taste of bourbon in your mouth, making it a terrific option when consuming less expensive bourbon.

Grapefruit juice

Similar to orange juice, the bright citrus flavor of grapefruit juice makes an excellent chaser for bourbon. However, unlike orange juice, grapefruit juice is not sweet. Instead, it has a bitter, tart taste that leaves a dry sensation in your mouth. If you don't like super sweet chasers, grapefruit juice is an excellent alternative to other chasers, which are more on the sugary side. Fortunately, grapefruit juice is another chaser that can be found in almost any bar or restaurant, except maybe a seedy dive bar.

Different grapefruit varieties lead to slightly different flavors. While not readily available in bars and restaurants, juice made from ruby red grapefruits tends to be a bit sweeter and, for many, more palatable. Give it a try if you prefer a more sugary taste. If you're squeezing juice at home, ruby red grapefruits are also larger and juicier, so you'll get more bang for your buck. Or, at the very least, you won't have to work as hard to get a decent amount of juice.

Apple cider

Due to its many forms and the many types of apples, it's a bit tricky to lock down the flavor of apple cider. From sweet to tangy to crisp to earthy, apple cider is overflowing with rich, complex flavors. Additionally, some ciders have a bold taste, and others are light. Whatever kind of cider you prefer, they all go well with bourbon. Both apple cider and bourbon feature hints of spices like cinnamon and clove, and they also have an underlying sweetness that matches the two up nicely.

Similarly, apple juice and hard apple cider also work as bourbon chasers. They typically have a milder flavor than apple cider, but the same tasting notes are there, so they balance out straight bourbon effectively and leave behind a pleasant aftertaste. Hard apple cider is easily found in bars and restaurants, but the same can't be said for apple juice and apple cider. That doesn't mean they aren't an excellent option when drinking at home, though. You can buy them in any grocery store. Or, with just a bit more effort, you can easily make apple cider at home.

Lemon-lime soda

For many bourbon lovers, lemon-lime sodas, like Sprite and Sierra Mist, are the chaser of choice. They feature a balanced citrus taste that complements bourbon's nutty, woodsy flavor quite well. Lemon-lime sodas may not mask the taste entirely, but they are a fantastic option for people who enjoy the flavor of bourbon or for chasing premium bourbon. The subtle flavor of Sprite and Sierra Mist allows you to experience some of the bite and complex flavor that comes with drinking it straight without drowning it in other unnecessary flavors.

If you're drinking a cheaper bourbon, lemon-lime sodas aren't our first pick for a chaser. The lighter flavor of these sodas won't cut through the burn like other juices and sodas, but they definitely get the job done. In addition, Sprite or Sierra Mist is available in almost every bar and restaurant, so it's always available when you are imbibing in public.

Mountain Dew or Mellow Yellow

Mountain Dew and Mellow Yellow are citrus sodas at heart, but anyone who has tasted them will tell you they are way more intense than your typical lemon-lime soda. In fact, they have a tangy, intense flavor that some equate to electricity in a bottle. Of course, these sodas' exceptionally high caffeine content only amplifies the perceived jolt of flavor. Either way, the amped-up citrus taste of Mountain Dew and Mellow Yellow makes them an exceptional chaser for bourbon. It may not be available in most bars, but it is a fantastic option when drinking at home.

According to a map released by HuffPost, Kentucky consumes more Mountain Dew than any other state. As we all know, bourbon originally came from Kentucky, and most is still made there today. So, when you think about it, it isn't all that surprising the two go hand in hand. Even so, we wouldn't recommend consuming an excessive amount of bourbon and Mountain Dew together. Something tells us it would be quite jarring if it came back up.