One of the main reasons for whiskey’s popularity is that it can be enjoyed with a wide variety of mixers. This is why whiskey is a component is so many different cocktails, including well-known drinks like the Whiskey Sour, Irish Coffee, and Sazerac.
But what about Orange Juice? Does it work with whiskey? At first glance, it might look like an unpleasant or even disgusting combination. Surely the sweetness of the orange juice would interfere with the delicate flavors of a good whiskey?
Well, it turns out that this slightly unusual combination can be used to make some wonderful drinks. In this post, I’ll explain why whiskey and orange juice can work well together, and share a couple of my favorite recipes.
What Does Whiskey and Orange Juice Taste Like?
The effect of mixing whiskey and orange juice will vary based on the type of whiskey and orange juice used.
A bourbon whiskey mixed with orange juice will be very sweet, with hints of vanilla, oak, malt, brown sugar, and citrus fruits. When mixed with Irish whiskey, the flavors of the whiskey will be less obvious, producing a clean drink with subtle hints of spices, cedar, and vanilla.
Canadian whiskey is another popular choice for using in cocktails with orange juice. It has a crisp flavor with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and fruit match the flavour of orange juice perfectly.
It’s important to be careful when selecting an orange juice to use with whiskey. A juice that is overly processed and has added sugar may be far too sweet and can produce an unpleasant drink. Most people find that all-natural, pulp-free orange juice delivers the best results.
Interestingly, some Scotch whiskies are known for their orange peel or other citrus flavors. Although Scotch Whisky is more difficult to blend with orange juice successfully, it can sometimes enhance those flavors and create a truly delicious cocktail.
Some whiskey aficionados recommend using orange juice with low-quality whiskeys, as it can actually mask some of the deficiencies in the spirit. If you didn’t know what to do with that crappy old bottle of whiskey in the bottom of your pantry cupboard, you do now!
Whiskey and Orange Juice Recipes
There are many drinks that use a combination of whiskey and orange juice. Here are a few of the best:
Orange Whiskey Sour
The Whiskey Sour is a popular old-school cocktail with a history that can be traced back to the 19th century. Although a traditional whiskey sour uses lemon juice, this variant uses orange juice for a slightly sweeter flavor.
- Lemon Juice
- Simple Syrup
- Bourbon Whiskey
- Muddle 2 to 3 orange slices in a glass
- Top with 3 tablespoons of fresh orange juice, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons simple syrup, 2 shots of whiskey (60 ml), and ice
- Garnish with orange slice
This is another old-school cocktail that is simple to make and absolutely delicious. Tiger Juice also packs a punch, with half of the drink consisting of whiskey. For best results, use a Canadian whiskey, however, it will also work well with Irish Whiskey or Rye Whiskey.
- 45 ml Canadian whiskey
- 15 ml lemon juice
- 30 ml orange juice
- Fill a cocktail shaker halfway cup with ice
- Pour all ingredients in and shake well
- Strain the mixture into a cold cocktail glass
This recipe comes directly from the Jim Beam website. We tried it out and were surprised by how refreshing it is. The perfect drink for a warm Summer afternoon.
- 15 ml grenadine
- 60 ml Jim Beam bourbon
- 180 ml orange juice
- Orange slice or cherry for garnish
- Place some ice in a tap glass
- Add the remaining liquid ingredients in the order listed above, floating the grenadine
- Garnish with an orange slice or cherry
Traditionally, a Screwdriver is made from ice, 1 part vodka, and 2 parts orange juice. It is a simple drink served in a high glass. However, you can modify the screwdriver to include whiskey. The “American Screw” is one part Bourbon and two parts orange juice while the “Comfortable Screw” is one part Southern Comfort and two parts orange juice. Serve with ice in a tall glass.
The Old Fashioned
Although this cocktail doesn’t have orange juice in it, it does use a twist of orange which accents the citrus flavors in the whiskey.
- 1-2 teaspoons simple syrup
- 3 dashes Angostura bitters
- 60 ml bourbon or rye whiskey
- One 2-inch piece of orange peel (optional)
- 1-2 maraschino cherries, (optional)
- Place the syrup, bitters and whiskey into an old fashioned glass
- Stir well and add two large ice cubes. Stir again to chill.
- Add garnish or orange peel and/or cherries
Thanks for reading. Do you have a favourite cocktail that uses whiskey and orange juice? Let us know in the comments.