Kentucky Coffee Recipe with Wild Turkey

Copy and Photos Colleen Graham
Originally posted here at

The name says a lot about how to make a Kentucky Coffee and you would be correct in assuming it includes bourbon and coffee. Really, it’s that simple, though we do toss in a little honey liqueur for sweetness and flavor, which is why this recipe is such a hit among whiskey drinkers.​

While the Irish Coffee and the Spanish Coffee dominate the conversation of spiked coffee drinks, good, old-fashioned American bourbon often gets overlooked as an ingredient. Bourbons offer big vanilla and caramel overtones and some even offer notes of cinnamon and spice, making it a perfect complement to coffee.

If you are looking for a new winter warmer this year, look no further than this Kentucky Coffee recipe. Featuring the natural spiciness of Wild Turkey 101 and sweetened with just a touch of Wild Turkey’s American Honey liqueur, this all-American coffee drink will keep you warm on a cold winters night.

What You’ll Need

1-ounce Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon Whiskey
1/2 ounce Wild Turkey American Honey Liqueur
Hot coffee to top off
Optional: whipped cream

How to Mix It

In a ​pre-heated coffee mug, add bourbon and liqueur.​
Top with hot coffee.
Add whipped cream if desired.

More Tips for Making a Great Kentucky Coffee

The Whiskey. The combination of Wild Turkey Bourbon and the brand’s honey liqueur is a fantastic pairing and it gives this coffee drink its true Kentucky flair. It is difficult to recommend a match more perfectly fit for each other, so it would be best to try this drink as recommended at least once.

If you were to look for a Bourbon substitute, it would be best to go with one that is equal in quality and retains that full flavor found in the high-proof whiskies. Two that would be excellent options are Knob Creek and Dry Fly Bourbon 101, though you do lose that Kentucky connection with this last one.

The Honey Liqueur. As an alternative to Wild Turkey American Honey, Evan Williams Honey Reserve is a nice liqueur that also has a whiskey base.

You might also think about using Barenjager. It is a German honey liqueur that is very rustic, yet it’s also quite refined. It was originally developed in a mead-like moonshine style, so it has a bit of Kentucky-like attitude to it. It is the perfect boozy sweetener and a bottle everyone should pick up at least once in their drinking lives.

The Coffee. If you make great choices on the distilled spirits, then it is only natural to be smart about the coffee. It is, after all, the key to making this drink as great as it can be. Your average coffee from that reliable drip coffee maker will be okay. A better Kentucky Coffee can be made by beginning with a thicker, richer coffee.

Use a French press and freshly ground dark roasted beans. Start with a cup of fresh-brewed espresso and add hot water (Cafe Americano style) to increase the volume.

How Strong is the Kentucky Coffee?

The strength of your Kentucky Coffee is going to depend on the amount of coffee you add to the liquor. If we were to fill a 6-ounce coffee mug and use the two spirits in the recipe, the drink would be right around 11% ABV (22 proof).


Caroline Paulus
Caroline Paulus is the Senior Editor for The Bourbon Review. She lives and writes in Lexington, Kentucky. Follow her on Instagram @misswhiskeyhistorian to keep up with her latest in bourbon news - and a few old finds, too.