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.