10 Bourbon Drinking And Mixing Errors You Need To Avoid

10 Bourbon Drinking And Mixing Errors You Need To Avoid

October 21, 2019 0 By Joel S. Syder

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Bourbon is a beautiful drink with a lot of potential for enjoyment by a whole range of different demographics of people. It’s also a versatile spirit that presents a variety of options to drinkers with each bottle. The problem with bourbon is that its natural flexibility has made people quite a lot too happy to mess with it in their drinking and mixing practices, not giving it the respect that is given to other whiskeys for example, like Scotch whiskey. So, with that said, let’s take a look at ten mistakes that people make that you should try and avoid.

1) Poor Quality Food Pairing

You could write a lot of different books about whiskey pairing and bourbon pairing with food and you still wouldn’t have figured out anything that you could describe as necessarily definitive. One thing, though, is true. “Bourbon whiskey shouldn’t accompany poor quality food. If you don’t know how to pair your bourbon and your meal choice, just go for quality, since quality always goes with quality,” says Mark Rigger, mixologist at 1Day2Write and WriteMyx.

2) Not Testing

Bourbon cocktails are a lot of fun and, when done right, can be delicious, enhancing the flavor of your chosen whiskey. The problem, a lot of the time, that people have is that they simply haven’t tested enough combinations to mix with authority. Get all your sodas and juices out and try tiny amounts of each to see what you like.

3) Missing the Smoke

Other types of whiskey have a lot of smoke to them, mainly due to distillery processes which rely on that. Bourbon isn’t one of them (usually). The advantage of this is it makes bourbon absolutely perfect for mixing with smoked meats, a perfectly complementary combo.

4) Not Knowing What Type Of Bourbon You’ve Got

Read the label, it’s as simple as that. People often think they know bourbon by sight but, in truth, a lot of people are missing out on valuable information that will affect their experience. “The Bourbon selection ranges far and wide. You need to be looking in much closer detail to really understand what you’re drinking and to ensure you’re drinking straight bourbon when you want straight bourbon,” advises Cole Miller, bartender at Australia2Write and NextCourseWork.

5) Letting The Bourbon Dominate

For non-seasoned whisky drinkers, bourbon can seem a little intimidating as a drink. When putting a meal together, or even another cocktail ingredient, you can’t be afraid to let there be a bit of a tussle between all of the ingredients. For food you want strong flavors to rival the bourbon, not a mild palate to be dominated by it.

6) Reducing Bourbon’s Role

Bourbon is a drink for all occasions and all moments in a meal. People get very worried about serving whiskey before or during a meal but that’s when the most fun can be had. Try an Old-Fashioned shot before dinner, or a cocktail over the meal or even something neat to accompany desert.

7) Paying Too Much

On of the really special things about bourbon is that, whilst you can certainly find some really expensive top range stuff, you can get some rally nice bourbon for a very affordable price point. In general, you ought to be aiming to be under the $40-dollar mark. Getting a good deal can only make the drink taste better!

8) No Dilution

People are skeptical of water in whiskey, particularly in the US, home of bourbon. But go elsewhere and you’ll see it’s popular practice. To elevate the sweetness, cut the fire and spice with a bit of water.

9) Using A Shot Glass

It’s popular to use a shot glass, but in truth bourbon deserves as much of a chance to breath as scotch whiskey. Get some good whiskey glasses.

10) Mixing Too Much

Don’t over mix! If you’re in doubt about a cocktail, why not just forget about it and appreciate bourbon in its true form!


Hopefully this list of tips will help set you straight over some of the common issues faced by bourbon drinkers. It’s a diverse and incredible drink with a load to offer, so treat it as such!

Joel S. Syder

Joel Syder is professional whiskey taster and writer at Origin Writings and Phd Kingdom. He enjoys helping people to make the most of their whiskeys as well as creating articles about things that he’s passionate about for Academic Brits.

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