Gold Rush Cocktail

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.

A gold rush cocktail in a rocks glass on a leather coaster

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

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

A gold rush cocktail in a rocks glass on a leather coaster
A gold rush cocktail packs a bit of a punch with 2 ounces of bourbon, along with honey and lemon juice. Served on the rocks or just straight up, it's a delightful pick-me-up.
Florence Fabricant

Prep 5 mins
Total 5 mins
2 servings
136 kcal
5 from 1 vote
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  • 1 1/2 ounces 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


  • Combine the lemon juice, honey water, and bourbon in a cocktail shaker. Add some ice and shake vigorously.
  • 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.
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Gold Rush Cocktail 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.

Show Nutrition

Serving: 1cocktailCalories: 136kcal (7%)Carbohydrates: 1gProtein: 0.1gFat: 0.1gSaturated Fat: 0.01gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.01gSodium: 1mgPotassium: 23mg (1%)Fiber: 0.1gSugar: 1g (1%)Vitamin A: 1IUVitamin C: 8mg (10%)Calcium: 2mgIron: 0.04mg

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

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.

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.

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!

Originally published January 22, 2016


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