Whiskey and Coke is a well-known drink and contrary to the widespread belief amongst purists, it’s not a sin to combine the two.
The drink has gained a lot of popularity in recent years and for good reason! Read on to find out why and what the best whiskey to mix with coke actually is.
Why Mix Coke With whiskey?
Though Whiskey and Coke is a simple cocktail, the combination of flavors is enough to make it one of the most popular drinks in the world.
And while whiskey and Coke is an exceptionally easy cocktail to make, it’s also a refreshing mixture that tastes great when prepared correctly.
For the most part, the taste of the cola masks and/or dilutes the strong and spicy characteristics that most whiskeys and their alcohol have.
This makes it easier to drink for someone who may be completely new to the spirit, and can perhaps even serve as an avenue for them into the whiskey world.
Depending on the whiskey though, the characteristics of the cola can either combat or complement those characteristics. For instance, a rye whisky will be spicier while whiskey made from wheat, like bourbons, will be slightly sweeter.
Is it ‘Okay’ to Mix Whiskey With Coke?
The simple answer to this would be yes. Yes, it is absolutely okay to mix whiskey with Coke. At the end of the day, if it’s your whiskey, you can pretty much do just about what you like with it.
However, this doesn’t mean that doing so will come without controversy.
It’s no secret that true whiskey experts and connoisseurs detest mixing whiskey with anything other than ice and a bit of water, let alone one of the sweetest drinks on the planet. Some even say it’s blasphemy.
Whiskeys are made of a variety of complex flavors and nuances that experienced tasters look for and appreciate.
A lot of time and craft goes into incorporating these elements into the whiskey or bourbon, and when you mix these whiskeys with something such as Coke, all the subtleness of those flavors gets lost completely.
How to Choose a Whiskey to Mix With Coke.
When considering a whiskey to mix with Coke, there are no real hard and fast rules. There are however various factors at play when doing so. But the fact remains that the best whiskey is the one YOU enjoy drinking.
And that doesn’t matter whether it entails having it straight or mixing it in cocktails. Just like there is no wrong way to have whiskey, there is also no ‘wrong’ whiskey to actually mix with Coke.
We just believe that some whiskeys’, or bourbons’, properties make them better suited to do so.
While this article aims to serve as a guide, choosing the best whiskey to mix with Coke will ultimately come down to personal preference.
The attributes of any whiskey are such that a case can be justified for adding Coke to any of them, and thus, it is safe to say that some experimentation would need to take place.
A bit more on Coke.
Coca-Cola, or Coke, is the most popular soft drink in the world and has been for decades. It’s sweet, refreshing, and readily available just about anywhere. Its taste and sweetness work well with most whiskeys making it a go-to option for many.
However, in this case, “Coke” is somewhat of a blanket term for just about any carbonated cola drink. This means that the popular cocktail doesn’t strictly have to be Coca-Cola, but any cola of your choosing.
Just take note that using different brands or types of cola, will affect the overall taste from one mix to another.
But, just how much cola should you use? Well, that would ultimately depend on the type or brand of whiskey in question as much as it would depend on your preference.
The general rule of thumb is that whiskey and Coke mixes require a highball ratio – the base spirit with a larger proportion of the non-alcoholic mixer.
This can be one part whiskey, with two, three, or even four parts Coke. In some cases, we’ve even seen a 1:1 ratio. There really are no rules – just some experimentation on the user’s part.
How to mix whiskey with Coke
As we’ve said before, making a whiskey and Coke cocktail is ridiculously simple once you have settled on your choice of whiskey, cola, and the ratio you prefer.
In a highball or Collins glass with a healthy amount of ice, it’s recommended to add the cola first, followed by the whiskey. If you prefer, you can add a slice of lemon or lime to add some zest to the drink.
The best whiskey to mix with Coke
This list wouldn’t be complete without the inclusion of Jack Daniels. There’s a reason why the mixture of any whiskey/bourbon mixed with any cola is generally referred to as “Jack and Coke” – it’s a classic
The famous bourbon is a fantastic choice to mix with Coke as it’s refreshing as much as it’s pleasant-tasting. The usual prominent taste of whiskey is softened quite drastically making it enjoyable even for the most inexperienced whiskey drinker.
Jack Daniels has a recognized vanilla undertone with a slight smoky sweetness that works well with the syrupiness of the soda. It makes for easy sipping without the need for sacrificing the amount of alcohol in the drink.
The final result is a smooth, sweet drink that still undeniably tastes like whiskey which makes it a great choice for beginners and seasoned drinkers alike.
Wild Turkey Kentucky Straight Bourbon is also a well-known bourbon that goes well with Coke due to its bold and spicy flavors.
Wild Turkey uses only the finest ingredients in its distillery process, most notably non-GMO grains grown in the United States and limestone filtered water from Kentucky.
It has distinct, though pleasing, notes of caramel and cinnamon that when combined with Coke bring out its flavor even more. The combination results in a fantastic drink with a big punch of flavor making it a joy on the palate.
One of just two non-bourbon whiskeys on our list, Crown Royal Whisky is known for its smoothness and long-lasting finish.
Its exquisite taste is hard to come by in other whiskies and it exhibits smokey and oaky flavors from the use of white oak barrels throughout the aging process.
Combine it with Coke and you have yourself a winning dessert-like treat thanks to the sweet and creamy flavor of maple syrup. The mixture gives a delightful taste of caramel, sugar, vanilla, and oak. It’s definitely worth a try!
Another beloved choice among whiskey and Coke drinkers is Jim Beam. The bourbon is known for consistently delivering a well-priced spirit that gives a top-shelf flavor.
The sweet and subtly sour tones in this bourbon pair well with the cola’s sweetness. With a reasonable price, it is undoubtedly one of the best and most classic whiskeys for mixing with Coke on the market.
Maker’s Mark is another bourbon that hails from Kentucky that works well with Coke. Thanks to the unique Wheated Mash Bill that the distillery uses, the cherry notes in the whiskey get unwrapped delightfully through the Coke.
The bourbon has a lower-than-usual proof, which makes it a good partner to Coke as not as much of the mixer is needed to dilute the strong taste of alcohol in other whiskeys.
With this whiskey, you get notes of oak, hazelnut, rye, and barley malt that all work in harmony with the sugary pop of the soda.
Johnnie Walker Red Label
Johnnie Walker is a renowned brand of Scotch whisky that has famous for having a variety of whiskies, each with a different colored ‘label’ that has its own unique attributes and rich flavors.
Johnnie Walker Red Label is the other non-bourbon on the list and has been the best-selling whisky since 1945. For good reason!
Thanks to its budget-friendly price and versatility, it makes for a great choice to mix in cocktails, which has become its primary use.
However, no quality was spared to bring us this renowned whisky. The flavor of Red Label is still bold and combines spice, smoky malts, and lighter grains that ultimately blend well with Coke making it a must-try.
Best Whiskey to Mix with Coke – Final Verdict
Our Winner: Jack Daniels
While we would be content with any of the whiskeys on our list in a Coke cocktail, we could just not go against the classic pairing that is Jack and Coke.
‘Old No 7’ is tasty, makes for easy drinking, and its notoriety has made it perfectly acceptable to order at a bar anywhere in the world without (much) judgment from any connoisseur that might be present.
Not that it’s ever been about validity but if you ever needed any, the Coca-Cola Company and Jack Daniels’ holding company, Brown-Forman have partnered up to bring you a canned ready-to-drink version.
This is the first time that “Coca-Cola” will be on board, as previous ready-to-drink Jack Daniels just had “cola” in its mix.
The company’s aim to is offer consumers a “consistent, convenient, and portable” drink that is set to launch late in 2022.