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The Gold Rush Cocktail is a beautifully sweet mixture that is so easy to drink. Bourbon, honey, and lemon combine to make an unbelievable explosion of flavor.

Gold Rush Cocktail on a Gold Platter with honey and a honey dipper to the side

The Gold Rush Cocktail is the precursor to the Penicillin Cocktail, that we are currently covering. I thought it would be fun to explore this tasty drink, as well. While the Penicillin might have a history with the Gold Rush, the story goes a bit deeper than that. The Gold Rush really looks like it has roots in the Old Fashioned cocktail which really is one of the grandpappies of American Cocktails. This cocktail has a sweet, tasty flavor and is totally worth spending some time to make!

Gold Rush Cocktail Basics

It is quite a simple drink. It has bourbon, lemon juice, and honey syrup. All honey syrup is, is a 1:1 combination of honey and water that has been warmed together to make a syrup-like drink. It is super easy to make and great for cocktails and a fun sun substitute for simple syrup. As a beekeeper, I love being able to use my own product in my drinks and this is a great way to do it.

The flavor is a nice, sweet, honey and lemon based cocktail. You add in a nice bourbon and you have a great drink. It is pretty close to the classic Bee’s Knees cocktail, just with Bourbon instead of Gin. So, while Gin has all those Juniper and herbal flavors, you get more of a straightforward Bourbon smoothness in the Gold Rush.

Origin of the Gold Rush and Relation to The Penicillin

When we made our Penicillin Cocktail for this series, we mentioned that the Gold Rush was created at the same bar, Milk & Honey. I am not sure how the transition was made, as they really are two different cocktails. The Gold Rush is all smooth and sweet, while the Penicillin really has a smokey bomb to it.

The Penicillin has both a ginger and smokey flavor that is missing from the Gold Rush. You really get just more of a single note of sweetness with the Gold Rush. This is a perfect drink when you want something that is akin to candy. The Penicillin has the peaty smoke of an Isley scotch and the bite of ginger. Both are great drinks, but I would say the Gold Rush is more meant for mass appeal.

Overhead picture of a Gold Rush Cocktail on a gold platter with some honey comb

You should make this drink and taste the sweetness. This nice, smooth, tasty cocktail really is a winner and has a smooth, sweet flavor that is great for most cocktail drinkers.

Products I Used In This Recipe


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Gold Rush Cocktail on a Gold Platter with honey and a honey dipper to the side

Gold Rush Cocktail

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  • Author: Ben Myhre
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cocktail 1x
  • Category: Cocktail
  • Method: Shake
  • Cuisine: American
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The Gold Rush Cocktail is sweet, smooth, and is an excellent adult cocktail.


  • 2 oz bourbon
  • ¾ oz lemon juice
  • ¾ oz honey syrup (see below)

Honey Syrup

  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup water



  1. Add all cocktail ingredients into a shaker with ice and vigorously shake for 15 seconds
  2. Strain into lowball glass that has an ice cube
  3. Serve

For Honey Syrup:

  1. Add both ingredients to pan over low heat
  2. Once honey is dissolved into water, remove
  3. Add to container, store in fridge, and use within 2 weeks.

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  1. I drink honey and lemon when I’m not feeling well. I guess if I just put some bourbon in it, I’d feel just that much better!