Kentucky Cooler

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 35 min (includes cooling time)
  • Active: 35 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Brown sugar-bourbon seasoning, such as McCormick's Brown Sugar-Bourbon Seasoning, for rimming glasses

1 Meyer lemon, sliced into wheels, plus 12 ounces fresh lemon juice (peel reserved for Meyer Lemon Simple Syrup, recipe follows)

8 ounces Meyer Lemon Simple Syrup, recipe follows

16 ounces bourbon, such as Marker's Mark 

Tonic water, for topping off drinks

Fresh mint sprigs, for garnish 

Meyer Lemon Simple Syrup:

Zest of 2 Meyer lemons, removed in strips with a vegetable peeler

1 cup sugar 

1 teaspoon kosher salt 


  1. Place the seasoning mix on a small plate. Rub the rims of 4 rocks glasses or mason jars with one of the lemon slices, then dip into the seasoning mix. Fill the glasses with ice.
  2. Fill a pitcher halfway with ice cubes. Add the lemon juice, Meyer Lemon Simple Syrup and bourbon. Stir until thoroughly chilled.  
  3. Pour the cocktail into the glasses and top each with a splash of tonic. Garnish each with a mint sprig and some lemon wheels. Serve immediately.

Meyer Lemon Simple Syrup:

Yield: 2 cups
  1. Place the lemon zest in a heatproof bowl. Combine the sugar and salt with 2 cups water in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour the boiling mixture over the lemon peels and let steep 20 to 30 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer and cool. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.