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Best Whiskeys and Cocktails for Duck Hunting Dads

Here are some great suggestions for you to raise a glass to the man who helped raise you.

Best Whiskeys and Cocktails for Duck Hunting Dads

These whiskeys and cocktails are sure to put a smile on dad’s face as you celebrate your shared passion for ‘fowling. (Photo By: Gunner Hall)

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Father's Day is right around the corner. It's time to start thinking about what to get the man who helped raise you, and for many readers, the man who introduced you to waterfowl hunting and the great outdoors. Not all fathers drink, but for those dads who imbibe occasionally, one of these whiskeys and cocktails are sure to put a smile on their face this Father’s Day. You will not find those hard-to-get whiskeys that most liquor stores only get a few bottles a year to sell featured in this article. Don't get me wrong, those make great gifts, and anyone who enjoys whiskey would appreciate such a gift.

What you will find here are a handful of affordable whiskeys that you can find at any reputable liquor store. These whiskeys will be perfect for sharing with fellow hunters and you will notice that each has a connection to hunting. You will also have some great recipes that, with a few other ingredients, will give you some great cocktails you can enjoy with your dad. It is important to note this list comprises of different types of whiskeys, not just bourbons, and includes Canadian whiskey, Scotch whisky, and the ever-popular, all-American bourbon whiskey.

Wild Turkey Whiskey

Wild Turkey deserves to be on any list of liquors a hunter has created for other hunters. This whiskey got its name from a hunter named Thomas McCarthy, an executive for a grocery wholesaler called Austin Nichols. In the 1940s, Austin Nichols was a significant bulk buyer of whiskey who bottled it and sold it under their own brand labels. While gathering his gear for a wild turkey hunt, McCarthy added some barrel samples to share with his hunting buddies around the campfire. These whiskey samples were a hit. They enjoyed them so much that his friends reminded him to, "make sure and bring some more of that wild turkey whiskey" while planning their next hunting trip. And thus, a legendary whiskey brand was born.

Because of the popularity of this whiskey, Austin Nichols bought the distillery where it was produced in bulk and renamed it The Wild Turkey Distillery. The distilling operation is overseen by the father and son team of Jimmy and Eddie Russell. Eddie has been distilling for over 60 years and is the longest-active Master Distiller in the world.

Wild Turkey Taste Profile

You are immediately greeted with robust vanilla, corn, and oak aromas as soon as you smell Wild Turkey Bourbon. The notes of oak and vanilla follow you while you taste this whiskey. You will also experience intense flavors of baking spices and cereal grains. The finish is short but brings out the smooth undertones of spice and caramel that bourbon drinkers savor.

wild turkey whiskey making a Boulevardier cocktail
Wild Turkey is perfect for making a Boulevardier. (Photos By: Gunner Hall)

Wild Turkey Cocktail

The Boulevardier is one of the most underrated classic cocktails. This three-ingredient cocktail was created by an American writer named Erskine Gwynne, who was working in Paris during the 1920s. Legendary bartender Harry MacElhone, who owned Harry's New York Bar in Paris, is often credited with inventing this cocktail. To put the debate to rest, Harry gave credit to Erskine in his book “Barflies and Cocktails” which Harry wrote," "Now is the time for all good Barflies to come to the aid of the party, since Erskine Gwynne crashed in with his Boulevardier Cocktail: 1/3 Campari, 1/3 Italian vermouth, 1/3 bourbon whisky."

Many people prefer to enjoy this drink in a classic martini glass. However, creating the cocktail in a rocks glass with ice is perfect for the summer months. As the ice melts, it will keep your drink at a pleasant cold temperature.

The Boulevardier Ingredients

  • 1 ounce Campari
  • 1 ounce Sweet Vermouth
  • 1 ounce of Wild Turkey Rye
  • Orange peel.

The Boulevardier Directions

  1. Start by filling your glass with ice (I use larger ice cubes for this drink).
  2. Pour your Campari over the ice into your glass.
  3. Follow with the Sweet Vermouth and then Wild Turkey.
  4. Next, grab a spoon and stir. Make sure you stir long enough to mix all three ingredients, roughly 15-20 seconds.
  5. Grab your orange peel, rub it around the rim of your glass, and drop it in.  

The Famous Grouse

For the Scotch drinkers who are reading this, please do not worry. We still remember you. The second whisky on this list has its beginnings in Perthshire, Scotland. Created by Matthew Gloag in 1896 and named after one of Scotland's most popular game birds, The Famous Grouse has been a go-to Scotch for drinkers ever since its inception. 

The Famous Grouse Taste Profile

This whisky gives off a light citrus aroma with strong undertones of candied fruits. When you taste this Scotch, you will experience a smooth and balanced flavor with dried fruit and a hint of baking spices. This blended Scotch is perfect for enjoying on the rocks or in a cocktail.

The Famous Grouse Scotch whisky making a Blood and Sands cocktail
The Famous Grouse Scotch whisky makes a great Blood and Sands cocktail. (Photos By: Gunner Hall)

The Famous Grouse Cocktail

I suggest using The Famous Grouse to make the classic Scotch cocktail Blood and Sands. The inventor of this drink remains unknown. What is known is that it was created in honor of the 1922 silent film “Blood and Sand.” It first appeared in “The Savoy Cocktail Book,” written by Harry Craddock and published in 1930.

Blood and Sands Ingredients

  • 1 ounce of The Famous Grouse whisky
  • .5 ounce blood orange juice
  • .5 sweet vermouth
  • .5 Cherry Heering

Blood and Sands Directions

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice, then pour all ingredients into the shaker.
  2. Shake until chilled and pour into your favorite martini glass.
  3. Garnish with either a cherry or an orange peel. Feel free to pick one or both as a garnish and enjoy, however, there is a catch with making this drink.
  4. Go easy on the blood orange juice. You can always add more, but if you add too much, it can taste more like a vodka screwdriver instead of a well-balanced Scotch cocktail.

Bird Dog Whiskey

It would be criminal not to talk about Bird Dog Whiskey when listing whiskeys for waterfowl hunters. Founded in 2010, this brand has made award-winning whiskeys for over a decade. This company has a strong focus on flavored whiskeys. Each flavor features a picture of a different breed of gun dog on its label. Some of our favorite breeds are displayed on their labels, such as chocolate Labs, Brittany spaniels, and English pointers. Having a bottle in your collection makes for great conversation when entertaining guests. Their Kentucky Straight Bourbon is a great affordable whiskey for cocktails. It's important to note the fact that this is a straight bourbon. That means that along with the rules needed to be followed to make it a bourbon, it must have also been aged in oak for at least two years and have no added colorings or flavorings.

Bird Dog Kentucky Straight Bourbon Taste Profile

Bird Dog Straight Bourbon has subdued and gentle characteristics to it. You will experience aromas of vanilla, caramel, and a subtle hint of spice. When you first taste this whiskey, you will notice it is a smooth-tasting whiskey with flavors of baking spices and an undertone of honey. The sweet-tasting finish lingers long after your first sip. Bird Dog is an excellent bourbon for summer cocktails. Try this whiskey in a drink known as a Bourbon Sidecar.


bird dog whiskey straight kentucky bourbon
Bird Dog Whiskey's straight Kentucky bourbon makes an excellent Bourbon Sidecar. (Photos By: Gunner Hall)

Bird Dog Kentucky Straight Bourbon Cocktail

The Sidecar was initially made with cognac, but through the years, bartenders have also used whiskey if cognac was not available. This drink is actually named after the motorcycle attachment. It was invented in Europe toward the end of World War I and thought to have been originated by an American Army Officer serving in Europe. The recipe calls for triple sec. That will work perfectly, but some people prefer to use other orange-flavored liquors such as Cointreau or Grand Marnier.

Bourbon Sidecar Ingredients

  • 1.5 ounces Bird Dog Whiskey
  • .5 ounce triple sec
  • .5 ounces of lemon juice
  • Lemon twist

Bourbon Sidecar Directions

  1. Combine the whiskey, triple sec, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Shake well.
  3. After the ingredients are chilled, pour into a rocks glass.
  4. Add your lemon twist and enjoy.

Canadian Hunter Whisky

Canadians love whisky, yet it remains a mystery to most Americans. You can always find one or two Canadian whiskeys at any bar in America, but sadly that is usually the most you will find behind the bar. That is unfortunate because, more often than not, Canadian whisky is delicious. Most Canadian whiskeys are considered blended whiskeys. Being a blended whisky means that what is in your bottle is a blend of many different whiskeys, and Canadian Hunter is no different. 

Canadian Hunter Whisky Taste Profile

This whisky has aromas of rye and butterscotch. Once you taste it, you’ll notice spicy cereal grains and light citrus fruits. The finish is pleasant and short. This is a perfect whiskey for making summer cocktails and is refreshing to drink when temperatures skyrocket.

canadian hunter whisky making a high ball cocktail
Canadian Hunter whiskey is perfect for a High Ball cocktail. (Photos By: Gunner Hall)

Canadian Hunter Whisky Cocktail

Highball cocktails are commonplace in every bar. It is a simple cocktail that, by definition, is a drink with an alcohol base and a non-alcohol mixer which makes up the majority of the drink. The most common examples of highball cocktails are screwdrivers, rum-and-cokes, and gin-and-sodas. Highballs are one of the most commonly ordered drinks at bars. The Citrus Highball is a light, refreshing drink perfect for a hot afternoon sitting on the back porch hanging with dad.

Citrus Highball Ingredients

  • 1.5 ounces of Canadian Hunter Whisky
  • 1 ounce of freshly squeezed lemon
  • Soda Water
  • Ice
  • Bitters
  • Lemon Wedge

Citrus Highball Directions

  1. Fill your glass with ice (I like to use a 12 or 16-ounce glass for this drink. However, I have found that a Tervis Tumbler is the perfect size).
  2. Pour your fresh-squeezed lemon juice over the ice.
  3. Then add your Canadian Hunter Whisky.
  4. Fill the rest of the glass with soda water.
  5. Top it off with two or three drops of your choice of bitters, then stir it together. Ensure the spoon is long enough to reach the bottom of your glass.
  6. Now garnish your drink with your lemon wedge and enjoy!

These are just a few ideas that you can use to help make this Father's Day as unique as the man who is being celebrated. For those who no longer have our fathers with us, some of these whiskeys will hopefully inspire you to raise a glass and give a toast to the man who helped raise you and made you into a hunter.

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