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Love the spicy bite of rye? Here are all the top rye whiskey cocktails, from classic to modern! Try the Manhattan, Ward 8, and more.

Rye whiskey cocktails

Love the peppery, spicy bite of rye? This classic type of whiskey is a stark contrast to sweet bourbon and mellow Irish whiskey. Rye packs a punch, and while it’s great sipped neat, it’s ideal for mixing into cocktails. There are so many ways to complement its bold flavor. Here are the top 10 best rye whiskey cocktails! There are classics like the Manhattan, modern spins, and even forgotten classics like the refreshing and balanced Ward 8 (our personal favorite). Ready to get started?

And now…the top rye whiskey cocktails!

What is rye whiskey?

Rye whiskey is a type of whiskey made with a majority of the grain rye. This term refers to either American rye whiskey, made of at least 51% rye mash, or Canadian whisky, which may or may not contain rye. Canadian regulations don’t require it to contain rye, though historically it did.

Rye whiskey is known for its full bodied and spicy flavor, with a peppery finish. It’s much dryer than the flavor of bourbon, which is sweeter (and made of at least 51% corn). Read more at Rye vs Bourbon.

More drinks with whiskey

Want more rye whiskey cocktails? Many of the cocktails below are delicious with rye swapped in for bourbon or the other whiskey types! Here are some of our favorite whiskey cocktail collections:

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Ward 8 cocktail

Rye Whiskey Cocktails: Ward 8 & More!

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x


The Ward 8 is the classic rye whiskey cocktail you need! A riff on the whiskey sour, it features rye, orange and grenadine.


  • 2 ½ ounces* rye whiskey
  • ¾ ounce fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ ounce fresh orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon grenadine
  • For the garnish: Orange wedge, cocktail cherry or Luxardo cherry


  1. Place the rye whiskey, lemon juice, orange juice, and grenadine in a cocktail shaker. Add 2 handfuls of ice and shake until cold.
  2. Strain the drink into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange wedge and cocktail cherry if desired.


*To convert to tablespoons, 1 ounce = 2 tablespoons.

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Shaken
  • Cuisine: Cocktails
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Rye whiskey cocktails

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Love the rye recipes, but as a copy editor, I have to tell you that adding an apostrophe to a decade is wrong, as in “A fancy spin on the Old Fashioned, the Toronto is a 1920’s cocktail featuring rye whiskey and…”

    The apostrophe turns it into a possessive, which does not work. You are speaking of the decade, so it is simply a plural, 1920s.