3-Ingredient Honey-Bourbon Gold Rush

updated Aug 7, 2023
The Gold Rush
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A cocktail with ingredients of honey, lemon and bourbon, with an ice cube
Credit: Faith Durand

“Faith! It’s the cocktail of the summer,” my colleague once said when she was visiting me in Columbus. On our way to dinner we were chatting about our cocktails of choice, and Janel quite handily talked me into trying the honey-bourbon cocktail, or the Gold Rush, for myself. Well, it wasn’t that difficult. Do you know this drink? It has ingredients of bourbon, honey, and lemon juice, shaken and served over ice instead of hot in a mug.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

An Alternative to Crispier Gin Drinks

I was a little dubious about this cocktail at first, because it is really another drink under a new name, served with ice instead of hot. The Gold Rush is the hot toddy‘s cold summer sibling — bourbon, honey, and lemon juice, shaken and served over ice instead of hot in a mug. I wasn’t terribly keen on the idea of drinking my favorite winter cocktail cold. It sounded like it might be cloying — not refreshing, the way a good summer drink should be.

Well, I was wrong. The Gold Rush has several things going for it. It’s sweet, tangy, and strong — full-bodied in a way that makes it a satisfying alternative to the crisper gin drinks of summer.

Just Three Simple Ingredients

It’s also easy. Just three ingredients! Honey (thinned and melted in hot water), lemon juice, and bourbon are always in stock in my kitchen. Even better, I find that you can mix all the ingredients for this drink together and keep a batch in a jar in the fridge. Pour over ice and shake hard, then sip over a big block of ice.

Janel gave me one set of proportions for this drink, but different folks tweak it to be sweeter, tangier, or stronger. Hot toddies are a very old bar standard, but it seems like the Gold Rush served in this way, under this name, can be traced back to the New York City bar Milk & Honey, and one recipe is in The PDT Cocktail Book.

I like mine just a shade sweeter, with a touch more lemon juice, which is reflected in the recipe below. Also, the recipe here makes enough for two drinks. If you just want one, leave the other half in the fridge. You know you’ll want it later.

The Gold Rush

Makes 2 drinks

Nutritional Info


  • 3 tablespoons


  • 2 tablespoons

    boiling water

  • 1/2 cup

    bourbon (4 ounces)

  • 1 1/2

    lemons, juiced, (about 4 tablespoons or 2 ounces)


  1. Pour honey into a small jar or mixing bowl. Pour in the boiling water and whisk vigorously until they form a thin syrup. Whisk in the bourbon and lemon juice. Mixture can be refrigerated until ready to serve.

  2. To serve, shake vigorously with ice in a cocktail shaker. Strain over a big ice cube in 2 rocks glass.

Recipe Notes

To Serve Pitcher Gold-Rush Cocktails: Multiply all ingredients by the number of guests you are serving. Combine in a pitcher and refrigerate until serving. To serve, shake each cocktail individually and pour over ice.