The Absolute Best Ratio For A Bourbon Iced Coffee

In bourbon-spiked iced coffee, the roasted bittersweet richness of cold brew meets the sweet-smoky depth of bourbon for a mature, elevated beverage that hits all the right tasting notes (pun intended). It's dry, or it can be as sweet as you please with a little customization.

One ounce of bourbon per 4-6 ounces of cold brew is the ideal ratio for a pleasantly punchy drink that doesn't overdo it on the burn, but feel free to adjust to taste. To assemble, combine your cold brew, bourbon, and creamer in a cocktail shaker, wet shake until thoroughly chilled, and strain into a glass to serve. Or, alternatively, you could stir together your bourbon, cold brew, and creamer right in the serving glass using a long-handled bar spoon. Shaking the drink over ice will add rich frothiness to the mouthfeel, but keep in mind that the wet shake will increase the beverage's dilution faster than a gentler stirred assembly.

You could make a batch of cold brew at home with coffee grounds and a cheesecloth or find bottled cold brew concentrate in the refrigerated coffee section at many grocery stores. Or, for an especially decadent sipper, make the trek to your local café and pick up an expertly-crafted cold brew to spike at home (hello, sexy Saturday morning hair-of-the-dog). No need to use up your top-shelf stuff here, but since the whole point of this drink is letting the bourbon-y flavor shine, opt for a smooth, caramel-forward (not oaky) bourbon in a brand you actually enjoy drinking.

Don't forget about the creamer — and adjust your bourbon-to-coffee ratio accordingly

As with any drink in the cocktail world, nailing the perfect bourbon iced coffee is all about balance. If you plan on stirring sweeteners or flavored syrups into the mix, just keep in mind that these additions will soften or mute the sweet-smoky bourbon bite. To retain the spirit's taste and hold up against the flavorings, an extra splash of liquor might be necessary. Hazelnut, caramel, maple, and vanilla syrups would all work well here; steer clear of syrups that'll clash with the profile of the bourbon, like mint or lavender. If you're feeling ambitious, you could even drizzle your boozy cold brew with a little homemade bourbon-spiked caramel sauce. Or, skip the syrups altogether and let the dimensional flavor profile of the bourbon speak for itself.

Thicker coffee creamer works better than milk here, as you can add less of the former ingredient to achieve the same caliber of creaminess in your drink. Slug in too much milk and your spiked cold brew will be over-diluted. For a sweeter kick, we're all about ice cream cocktails. You could incorporate your bourbon into vanilla ice cream, and then stir that creamy, boozy combo into your cold brew. (If you're thirsty for even more bourbon-brewed inspo, bourbon ice cream slushies could be next on your recipe radar.)