Gold Rush Cocktail Recipe

The Gold Rush cocktail draws on bourbon, honey, and lemon for its simple sophistication. Think of it as a swanky hot toddy on the rocks.

Gold Rush Cocktail Recipe

This Gold Rush Cocktail, made with bourbon, honey, and lemon, has a “stunning simplicity” that “should make it as familiar as an old-fashioned,” asserts New York Times contributor Florence Fabricant. No argument here. It’s been a staple of the bar scene the past decade or so, although the Gold Rush is silly simple to make at home. It’s sorta like a swanky hot toddy minus the teacup and the sniffles. But watch yourself. It packs a doozy of a dose of bourbon.–Renee Schettler Rossi

How To Choose The Right Honey

Your choice of honey will not go unnoticed. A light honey will lend the cocktail “a graceful allure,” explains Fabricant, while a more robust honey, such as buckwheat or chestnut, will contribute “heft.” But you honestly can’t really make a wrong decision here.

Gold Rush Cocktail Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 5 M
  • 5 M
  • Serves 2


  • 1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey dissolved in 1 1/2 tablespoons boiling water (just under 2 ounces)
  • 4 ounces bourbon
  • Ice for shaking, plus a single cube for serving


  • 1. Combine the lemon juice, honey water, and bourbon in a cocktail shaker. Add some ice and shake vigorously.
  • 2. Strain the cocktail into 2 double rocks glasses, each containing a single large cube of ice or, if you prefer, simply serve it straight up without the rocks.

Tuxedo Variation

  • Ginger Gold Rush Cocktail
  • At his hotel bar in downtown Manhattan, Geoffrey Zakarian serves this Gold Rush Cocktail with a honeyed simple syrup as in the recipe above, although we’ve witnessed bartenders elsewhere swap ginger liqueur for the honey. Simply omit the honey and water and instead add a splash of ginger liqueur, such as Domaine de Canton, to taste.
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Recipe Testers Reviews

Recipe Testers Reviews
Testers Choice
Trista Smith

Jan 22, 2016

This Gold Rush Cocktail was DREAMY. It was not only delicious, it was beautiful. And it has a great name, as all great cocktails should. It was easy to make, and using honey instead of regular simple syrup really elevated it. I used English wildflower honey but am curious to see how it changes with different honey varieties.

Testers Choice
Angie Z.

Jan 22, 2016

This Gold Rush Cocktail was refreshing and fantastic (though quite strong, as I don't usually drink bourbon!). The citrus flavor was there but not overwhelming, and it wasn't overly sweet. It took 6 minutes to put together. I did use ice here, as the honey syrup was a little warm, and I don't generally enjoy warm cocktails.

Testers Choice
Linda Mc.

Jan 22, 2016

Sure, I’ll take one for the team, I thought when I came upon this recipe for a Gold Rush cocktail. Not to mention that I had a jar of local honey flavored with a slice of ginger just begging for inclusion. And it was Friday night. I used my go-to, all-purpose Bulleit bourbon for this cocktail. I shook it well in my shaker and strained it over a single, very large ice cube. The drink had a lovely foamy topping when all was said and done; I think it must have been because of the honey simple syrup. I thoroughly enjoyed this while preparing ingredients for dinner that night. And since I only made 1 cocktail, I still have enough honey syrup to test it again tomorrow night, just to see if I really liked it!

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