This Kentucky Flyer Whiskey Cocktail is a simple but sophisticated craft cocktail that’s easy to replicate at home. It has a boozy, woodsy start, but a sweet tart finish that leaves you wanting more.
I’ve been exploring the world of craft cocktails. I am fascinated by the history and evolution of the cocktail from it’s infancy in Victorian times, to the wild creativity of the pre-prohibition era, to the intricate nuance and precise beauty of cocktails today. I’m learning as I go, taste, and experiment.
It’s not a bad job, she says, smiling.
This cocktail, though, came from an accident. I started to make my husband a Manhattan, and then realized we were out of sweet vermouth.
And also cherries.
I should take better stock before I start mixing, but you know, life gets busy. And these are things we typically have on hand, so it didn’t occur to me that we’d run out and I hadn’t noticed.
Hashtag mom life problems.
So I experimented a little.
And I ended up with this little drink that combines a high proof whiskey with Luxardo, a sweet smooth maraschino or cherry flavored liqueur, Angostura bitters, and a twist of orange.
And also, cherries are easy to pop in your mouth, and my husband and I can both be guilty of that at times.
The resulting cocktail was simple, yet so easy to drink.
It made a great sipper while we waited for onions to caramelize for our dinner that night.
I did a quick google search and found that this is similar to a lesser known cocktail called a Kentucky Flyer. Mine is just slightly different, and slightly more citrusy.
I’ve made it both ways now, and honestly, I prefer my version.
My version adds a citrus twist instead of a cherry, and I think this combo, while only subtly different, is vastly different when you actually drink it.
I have to admit, I honestly prefer an ice cold gin martini to a manhattan most of the time. But my husband is ALL ABOUT THE WHISKEY.
It’s not that I don’t like whiskey cocktails.
I am actually quite fond of whiskey in general, and whiskey cocktails as well. I just typically prefer whiskey alone, on the rocks. I”ll typically opt for that gin martini when I’m having an aperitif, and whiskey after dinner.
And frankly, I’m not a cheap date when it comes to whiskey or bourbon. I like a really nuanced whiskey most of the time, which tends to be pricier.
What I’m saying is, I’ve had some really bad hangovers from Jameson in my time.
So I like to be CAREFUL with whiskey. This is a whiskey cocktail we can both enjoy, though, thanks in part to that little bit of sweetness the Luxardo brings. And while I like to think I have a drier palate for cocktails most of the time – meaning I don’t typically like sweeter cocktails – this is just a nice little drink.
And a quick whiskey cocktail to mix!
This Kentucky Flyer Whiskey Cocktail will make an appearance at my next dinner party. I used my new cocktail picks to do the citrus twist, and of course my tried and true bar set. You do want to strain this drink, so having a proper strainer is important.
If you like this drink, you may also want to check out my Blood Orange Aperitif cocktail as it has a similar flavor profile.
Do you have a favorite cocktail, or a happy cocktail or kitchen accident like this? Let me know in the comments!
Kentucky Flyer Whiskey Cocktail
- 3 ounces High Proof Whiskey
- 3/4 ounce Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
- 2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
- 1 Twist Citrus Peel I used and prefer orange, but lemon would probably work equally well. If you want a sweeter cocktail, you can use a maraschino cherry in place of the twist.
- Add ice to a large shaker.
- Add whiskey and Luxardo and bitters.
- Stir for 40-50 revolutions.
- Strain into a coupe glass.
- Garnish with a twist, and serve.
Get Your Invite
Be the first to learn about the new cookbook from the genius foodblog Biscuits and Booze!
I have never heard of this cocktail before, but I am always up for trying something new when we host our next dinner party.
Sounds a little like an old fashioned, which is one of my favorite cocktails!
It is very similar! I love an Old Fashioned too 🙂
I have everything to make this delicious drink. I may imbibe tonight 🙂
Thanks Janette! Let me know what you think! 🙂
I love drinks that are simple to make. This looks really good, I must try it.
Thanks Brandi! If you try it let me know what you think!
This seems like a great cocktail to warm me up during the winter months.
Thanks Luci – that was our idea!
Sometimes experimenting makes the best new recipes. Cheers to this!
Thanks Debi – it’s true!
You know I’m going to be making this. Love the little bit of Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur.
Well, it sounds like this cocktail was a happy accident! I can’t wait to try this out over the weekend!
Well, just think, had you had the sweet vermouth to hand you may never have created this recipe. It sounds lovely, so I’m pleased you had a bar-stocking issue
That sounds yummy. Sometimes our mistakes or lack of certain ingredients turns out to be a good thing. Like this drink. It looks so delicious, I can’t wait to try it!