There are distinct differences, as well as subtle nuances, between Rye Whiskey and Bourbon Whiskey. Besides the obvious grain ingredient selections, they each are particular to a specific approach to cocktail making. But First: Here are the basics in a nutshell.

All whiskey is made from fermented grain. Added water and heat generate the sugars needed. Aging and grain type create differences among whiskeys.

Here are the particulars about the types of whiskey:

Rye Whiskey

Among other grain selections, including corn and barley, rye whiskey must contain at least 51% rye. And in some cases, the whiskey is actually made from 100% rye. By comparison, rye whiskey is drier and has a spicer flavor than bourbon. Although for many, the two are interchangeable in cocktails, the traditional approaches for rye drinks are Manhattans and Old Fashions. Here are a few delicious drinks you can easily try at home.


This one’s a true classic. A wonderful blend of 2 parts Rye Whiskey, 1 part sweet vermouth, and a couple dashes of orange bitters. Stir the cocktail with ice, then strain and pour the mixture into a chilled glass. Served best topped with a brandied cherry.


Definitely give this one a try: Take 2 oz of Rye Whiskey, 1 part sweet vermouth, and a half ounce of maraschino liqueur. Then, stir the cocktail with ice and pour the mixture into a stemmed glass. Fantastic.

Old Fashioned

First create a simple syrup by mixing 1 tsp Demerara sugar with 1 tsp of hot water, Then, add 2 ounces of Rye Whiskey and 2 dashes of orange bitters into a cocktail container. Stir it all together with ice. Strain the cocktail into an Old Fashioned Glass, then serve it on the rocks and finish it off with a lemon twist. Tradition at its finest.

Old Fashioned

Bourbon Whiskey

Among the grains varieties used, bourbon whiskey is always made with at least 51% corn. And to be considered a true bourbon, it has to be made in America. The heavy corn grain concentration gives bourbon a particularly sweet, rich, flavor.

Bourbon is popular in whiskey sours and lighter summer drinks. If you’re looking for a sweeter rather than spicier cocktail, then bourbon is a great choice. It’s also a wonderful balancer if you desire to add sweetness to an otherwise not so sugary cocktail. Speaking of cocktails, here are a few ideas. Give one of these a pour at home.

Whiskey Sour

Try this unique version of a whiskey sour – mix 1 oz bourbon with 1 oz pomegranate liquor. Add a half ounce simple syrup and an equal amount of lemon juice (fresh is better). Shake the cocktail with ice, until chilled. Then serve on the rocks with an added lemon twist garnish. You’re going to love this whiskey sour version.

A Thief in the Night

This is a shaken mixture of equal parts bourbon and Amaro. Add a splash of honey and lemon juice, and voila! This cocktail is both delicious and elegant, served in a simple stemmed glass.

Five to Ten

Stir 2 parts bourbon with 1 part vermouth. Then, add a dash of orange bitters. Serve in a stemmed glass, and top the cocktail with a delightful cherry.

If you’re in the mood for a cocktail, bourbon whiskey, rye whiskey (maybe want to compare rye vs bourbon), or something entirely different, why not sip it while enjoying a spectacular, panoramic view of the New York City Skyline? Bring your date to Highbar, a rooftop lounge at the top of the Doubletree, located at 346 West 40th.

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