This Bourbon Lemon Rosemary Cocktail is a modern twist on a classic drink. With herb-infused simple syrup and a bright citrus flavor, this rosemary drink is perfect for happy hour.

A glass filled with a bourbon lemon cocktail garnished with a rosemary sprig.

If I were given some sort of quiz on classic cocktails, I would fail miserably. Granted, I’ve never worked as a bartender, so why would I know?

Unless you’re asking for something like a gin and tonic where the ingredients are literally listed right there in the name, I’m probably going to have to do a quick Internet search before I can make you a classic drink.

I prefer to mix up completely random non-classic drinks like tequila mojitos and White Claw cocktails. I even make a twist on a classic mule and do a bourbon mule instead of a vodka mule.

So, when I had a bunch of lemons that I needed to use up, first I made lemon smoothies and lemon margaritas.

Then, I decided I wanted to make some more creative lemon cocktails, so I was like “Oh, I know! I’ll make a whiskey sour, except for the sour . . . I’ll use lemon.”

Well you know what? Whiskey sours *usually* call for lemon. That’s just the standard sour part of the drink. Oops! Guess I wasn’t really being all that original, huh?

Completely original or not, this Bourbon Lemon Rosemary Cocktail is delicious and perfect for whenever you have extra lemons and rosemary on hand.

A yellow-hued drink in a double old fashioned glass in a scene garnished with lemon halves, a metal juicer and herb sprigs.

Putting a modern twist on a bourbon sour with this rosemary cocktail:

One of my favorite ways to put a modern twist on any classic cocktail is by using a homemade flavored simple syrup as the sweet element.

Classic simple syrup is literally just 1 part granulated sugar and 1 part water, gently heated until the sugar dissolves. It could NOT be simpler.

And for very little additional work, you can make an infused simple syrup by doing something as simple as throwing some herbs, whole spices, or fruit peels into the mixture as it heats.

My rosemary simple syrup post gives you all the details you’ll need to make a homemade flavored syrup for this rosemary cocktail. The recipe card in that post yields about 2/3 cup simple syrup.

You will need 1/2 cup simple syrup to make the 4 bourbon lemon cocktails in the recipe card below, in this post.

The ingredients for this rosemary bourbon cocktail are easy to find:

  • bourbon – no need to break out the super high end, sipping bourbon for this bourbon lemon cocktail, but it should be a good middle of the road bourbon. I usually use Bulleit for both this drink and my bourbon glazed salmon.
  • lemon juice – the fresh stuff, squeezed from fresh lemons. I don’t recommend the juice from the plastic lemon for this rosemary cocktail.
  • granulated sugar – you’ll need this to make the simple syrup for this rosemary bourbon cocktail. If you like things caramel-y, you could also make the simple syrup with brown sugar instead.
  • rosemary – you’ll need 2 large sprigs to make the simple syrup, and then a smaller sprig to garnish each cocktail glass of this rosemary drink. If you have a garden full of basil, try my basil cocktails instead!
A lemon hued rosemary cocktail over ice in a glass, garnished with a sprig of rosemary.

Do I have to use bourbon for this rosemary drink?

Bourbon used to be my “winter liquor,” and I would stash it away during the warmer months, where I’d opt for vodka or gin.

But since I always have a ton of rosemary growing in my garden, this cocktail works for summer, too! Extra rosemary can also be used to make lemon herb baked sockeye salmon.

But, if you don’t like bourbon at all, you’re still in luck. I’ve tested this exact rosemary cocktail recipe using vodka and gin, and it’s delicious with both of those spirits as well.

Substitute an equal amount of vodka or gin for the bourbon called for in the bourbon lemon cocktail below. I also have additional recipes for a rosemary gin cocktail and a grapefruit vodka cocktail with rosemary that you may enjoy.

If brandy is more your speed, be sure to try my brandy old fasioned. It’s not a rosemary drink, but it’s still a great cocktail.

Serve some snacks with this bourbon lemon cocktail!

Some of my favorite savory snacks to serve with bourbon lemon cocktails are chicken meatballs, spinach dip and spicy chips.

My prosciutto sandwich recipe has an herby mayo that echos the rosemary flavor in this drink.

If you’re more in the mood for charcuterie or a big party platter to serve with this rosemary drink, try my jarcuterie or one of 36 charcuterie board ideas.

More great cocktail recipes:

These are the drinks you want in hand with a few salty snacks and good company.

A lemon hued cocktail with a sprig of rosemary garnishing the glass.

Bourbon Lemon Rosemary Cocktail

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

This Bourbon Lemon Rosemary Cocktail is a modern twist on a classic drink. With herb-infused simple syrup and a bright citrus flavor, this rosemary drink is perfect for happy hour.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces (1 cup) bourbon
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) fresh lemon juice
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) Rosemary Simple Syrup
  • Ice cubes, for shaking and serving
  • 4 small rosemary sprigs, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Add bourbon, lemon juice and simple syrup to large cocktail shaker. Top shaker with ice; cover and shake well.
  2. Fill 4 double old fashioned glasses with ice; divide bourbon mixture between glasses. Serve cocktails garnished with rosemary sprigs, if desired.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 184Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 8mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 0gSugar: 13gProtein: 0g

This website provides estimated nutrition information as a courtesy only. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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A collage of images of rosemary bourbon cocktails with an overlay: LEMON + ROSEMARY BOURBON SOUR COCKTAIL a modern twist on a classic cocktail.