Not all whiskeys were created equally, especially when it comes to bourbon. The barrel-aged American distilled spirit is made from corn. Most well-known distillers are found in Kentucky, where the whiskey was originally founded back in the 19th century. Since then, its popularity has become widespread, but only a few places in Boston do it best. Here are our picks for the best bourbon cocktails in the city:
Citizen Public House & Oyster Bar
1310 Boylston St.
Boston, MA 02215
Whiskey is the specialty here at Citizen Public House & Oyster Bar. Located in the Fenway section of Boylston Street just steps from Fenway Park, this hot spot features more than 200 different whiskeys. Order up a specialty Kentucky Buck cocktail made with Angel’s Envy Bourbon. The varied selection here includes Four Roses “Yellow Label,” George Dickel No. 12 Tennessee and Mellow Corn (straight corn whiskey).
Wink & Nod
3 Appleton St.
Boston, MA 02116
No one gets into the bourbon spirit better than Wink & Nod, located in the South End. Here, the focus is on good spirits where the cocktails flow freely. After all, they have “The Cure” for what ails you, a creative cocktail of Applewood Smoked Bulleit Bourbon mixed with sweet honey syrup, Angostura and flavorful orange oil. Wink & Nod features a scratch bar with house-made infusions and fresh juices made from scratch.
65 Exeter St.
Boston, MA 02116
Tucked away inside the Back Bay Lenox Hotel is one of the city’s best cocktail bars, known as City Bar. Sip a whiskey smash made with mint, lemon and bitters after a day of shopping on nearby Newbury Street. We recommend the sweet Honey Bee cocktail made with Bulleit bourbon, fireball whiskey, rooftop honey, ginger syrup and ginger ale. There is a second location at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel in the Seaport District.
The Tip Tap Room
138 Cambridge St.
Boston, MA 02114
There is nothing quite like sipping a good bourbon while enjoying some good ribs or steak. Chef/owner Brian Poe must have been thinking the same thing when he opened The Tip Tap Room located just steps from Government Center and Beacon Hill. The strong Hill Derby cocktail is a must order here, made with bourbon, cappelletti, triple sec, sweet vermouth and lime. Other bourbon selections here include Woodford Reserve, Noah’s Mill, Michter’s and Rowan’s Creek.
The Franklin Cafe
278 Shawmut Ave.
Boston, MA 02118
The Franklin Café serves up the Ideal Manhattan, a combination of Evan Williams Bourbon mixed with Cinzano Rosso, St. Germain, Angostura and grapefruit bitters. The South End location is frequented during late night by many restaurant industry professionals. The always hip and happening atmosphere makes this one of the most lively places in town to sip a bourbon. There is a second location in Gloucester.
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Kellie Speed is a Boston writer with more than 25 years of experience writing for local and national publications, including JustLuxe, Haute Living, The Boston Globe, Mohegan Sun’s Legends and Amtrak’s Arrive. She is the Boston restaurant writer for Gayot’s travel site and contributed to Moon Metro’s Boston guidebook, as well.