Cowboy Cocktails Are Trending For 2024

You can thank Beyoncé.

Cavan Images/Cavan/Getty Images

2023 was full of memorable cocktail trends. From martini madness to nostalgic cocktails like the Old-Fashioned, to what seemed to be the never-ending Negroni craze, there was something for everyone — but TBH it still felt like something was missing. Well, leave it to Beyoncé to fill the void, as the singer’s Western era (and upcoming album!) also ushered in one for spirits: cowboy cocktails. Saddle up for a delicious drink fad that captures the spirit (pun intended) of the old West.

Whether invoking the feeling of leisurely sipping a beverage in a saloon to avoid the blazing heat, or around a campfire after a long day’s work on the ranch, the flavors and rustic elegance of these drinks pay homage to the wilderness and its untamed nature. Usually, but not always, made from one of whiskey’s variants, the deep, brown color of the cocktail is matched by smokey, spicy flavors with a hint of sweetness. These drinks might not ping the mixology meter for some as they have relatively few ingredients, but they have a deceptive amount of complexity and depth that instantly transport you to the past. One thing’s for sure, cowboy cocktails will have people drawn to them like moths to a flickering flame.

These Western sips aren’t only about their delicious taste, they’re about embodying an experience. As Kimberly Barger, Wyoming state manager for Wyoming Whiskey tells us, “Cowboy cocktails are created to evoke a feeling of refinement and ruggedness.”


Unsurprisingly, the spirit she associates cowboy cocktails with is whiskey. “I think whiskey (bourbon and rye) adds a depth of flavor that is a beautiful layer in a well-balanced cocktail,” she explains. “Wyoming is the cowboy state and everything that makes up Wyoming Whiskey comes from this great state, from our grains to our water. I think finding a cocktail that speaks to the nature of the base spirit makes it a cowboy/cowgirl cocktail.”

She continues, mentioning the importance of representing the terroir of the state in the products to yield authenticity in these high-noon elixirs. “That alone will make this as true to the ‘Wild West’ as it gets. The land of extremes.” Though not her first choice for this particular theme, she mentions that a rich aged rum or tequila are acceptable substitutes for these types of boozy beverages for those who don’t drink whiskey. For Barger, what defines these types of drinks is a “Richness in flavor, a touch of sweetness,” and being “complex yet approachable.”

While she’s adamant that the flavors must be front and center, she’s less particular about shaking, stirring, or any other methods used to create the concoctions. “I love all techniques,” she shares. “It just depends on the [exact] cocktail, the dilution, and the texture that you are trying to achieve. I would say these [drinks] are more liquor-forward to ensure that you can taste the layers of flavors.”


Cowboy Cocktails Rules Of Thumb

If you want to transport yourself to the arid landscape and embody the essence of the old frontier but aren’t sure where to start, Barger has some helpful hints — no horseback riding skills required. The first thing she recommends doing is making sure your cowboy cocktail tastes and feels unique, which requires a high-quality spirit… and for her that means whiskey.

“There is a lot of sourced whiskey on the market,” she says. “The problem with that is, it is all the same… same flavor profiles just a different label.” To combat this, Barger suggests looking for craft products that are “truly grain-to-bottle.” This information should be indicated on the label. When you do, “the nuances of these products make for interesting flavor profiles, and as a bartender that makes me excited.”

After you’ve chosen your bottle, you need to have some additional ingredients from the store for your cocktail(s). Barger has a few staples she says anyone who wants to embrace this beverage trend should keep stocked in their home bar. Antica sweet vermouth and bitters are first on her list. She prefers Angestora or orange bitters. She continues her selections with maple syrup, Aperol, licor 43, Campari, Grand Marnier, fresh citrus, and Luxardo cherries, adding, “A good ginger beer is also a must-have (Fever Tree is my favorite).”

The last two ingredients she says to keep on hand you probably already have in your home. “Fresh citrus juice is a must,” she notes. And of course, every cocktail needs to be cold, even if it helps mimic the desert atmosphere. “Ice can account for roughly 25% of your cocktail,” she explains and encourages people to look at it as an actual ingredient that should also be high-quality, so it doesn’t ruin the integrity of the beverage. “When possible, you should use fresh filtered water for your cubes,” she instructs. Lastly, while recipes are generally foolproof, she advises, “Taste your cocktail before you serve it so you can make sure it is balanced,” or to tweak flavors to your liking.

Ahead, we’ve lassoed up expert-approved cowboy cocktail recipes that make it a happy hour at your home on the range (or anywhere else) anytime you like.

Wyoming Cowboy Coffee

Wyoming Whiskey Outryder

Barger calls this cocktail a Western spin on an espresso martini. “The espresso and Amaro add a touch of bitterness that is balanced with the sweetness of the honey simple syrup. Distinguished, strong, and smooth… just like the cowboy/cowgirl you want to meet when you visit Wyoming,” she says.


  • 2 oz Wyoming Whiskey Outryder
  • .5 oz honey simple syrup
  • .5 oz Amaro
  • 1.5 oz espresso


Shake all ingredients with ice for about 15 seconds and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with three espresso beans on top of la crema.

Knob Creek® Bitter Me than You

Knob Creek

This concoction was created by Beverage Specialist, Charlie Schott, in Chicago, IL. The Rye Whiskey, bitters, and citrus juice give the cocktail the perfect portion of tang and a hint of sweetness for a drink that will make you better, not bitter, after the first sip.


  • 1.5 oz Knob Creek® 7 Year Old Rye Whiskey
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • .75 oz Angostura aromatic bitters
  • .5 oz fresh orange juice


Add whiskey, lemon juice, and orange juice into a shaker. Shake and double strain into a rocks glass. Add ice to the glass. Top off with Angostura bitters, gently.

LALO Ranch Water


For those not partial to whiskey, or (gasp) want a change but still want a cowboy cocktail it doesn’t get any more home on the range than ranch water. This tequila-based drink is deceptively simple and so delicious you might forget where you left your hat and boots.


  • 2 oz LALO Tequila
  • .25 oz fresh lime juice
  • 4-5 oz sparkling mineral water
  • lime wheel garnish


Add LALO and lime juice to ice-filled collins or highball glass. Top with sparkling mineral water. Stir to combine. Garnish with lime wheel.

Buffalo Sunrise

Wyoming Whiskey

“The color of this cocktail will remind you of the Wyoming sunrise,” Barger says. She also enjoys it because the bourbon and citrus balance perfectly with the “brightness” of fresh strawberries. As a bonus, you can make part of it in advance. “Homemade strawberry shrub can easily be made at home and keeps for up to a month in the refrigerator.”


  • 2 oz Wyoming Whiskey Small Batch Bourbon
  • 1 oz strawberry shrub
  • .25 oz lemon juice
  • 2-3 oz club soda
  • fresh strawberry for garnish
  • fresh mint for garnish


Shake all ingredients (except club soda and garnishes) in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice, top with soda water. Garnish with a fresh strawberry and a sprig of mint.

Old Country

Wyoming Whiskey

Barger considers this drink a crowd pleaser and is the perfect way to end any evening with company. “This drink is cozy and will make you want to sit in front of a campfire with your closest friends recounting the stories from the day’s adventures,” she says.


  • 2 oz Wyoming Whiskey Double Cask
  • .5 oz citrus honey simple syrup*
  • 2 dashes of aromatic bitters
  • 2 dashes of orange bitters
  • orange peel garnish


Add all the ingredients into an old fashioned glass over a large cube and stir to combine. Take your large orange peel garnish and express the citrus oils onto the glass. Rub the peel around the rim of the glass and slide the peel into the glass vertically between the side of the glass and the large ice cube.

*Citrus Honey Simple Syrup (recipe courtesy State Honey Curators)


  • 2 Tbsp Grated Citrus Peel of your choice
  • 2/3 cup water
  • ½ cup honey


Finely grate the citrus peel. Add peel and water to a small saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer for five to 10 minutes, until water is reduced to 1/3 cup. Add honey while still warm and allow to cool. Strain mixture through a fine-meshed sieve. Refrigerate.

Whiskey Smash Hit

Fraser & Thompson North American Whiskey

Sometimes you need a stiff drink at the end of the day, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Maple syrup and mint leaves zhuzh up the simple whiskey cocktail to melt all of your stresses away.


  • 2 oz Fraser & Thompson North American Whiskey
  • .75 oz simple syrup
  • 4 mint leaves
  • 3 lemon wedges
  • mint sprig garnish


Muddle the lemon wedges in a shaker. Add whiskey, simple syrup, mint leaves, and ice, and shake until well-chilled. Double-strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Garnish with a mint sprig.