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Rum, bourbon, scotch or whiskey?

For those who are passionate about mixes but are unsure of the difference between similar spirits, this article is for you. While there are similarities between whiskey, scotch, bourbon, and rum, there are also big differences in determining what to use for different cocktails if you want to obtain that unique, one-of-a-kind taste…. Each spirit goes well with a specific selection of cocktails. Here’s what you need to know about the differences between rum, bourbon, scotch and whiskey to make perfect cocktails and delight customers or guests every time.

Whiskey cocktails

Whiskey can be seen as the umbrella term for different types of spirits, the spirit of a cocktail. Any additives included in the distillation process determine whether or not it falls into another category, such as bourbon or scotch.

Cocktails based on classic whiskey

For whiskey lovers, there’s always the Old Fashioned. It is the choice of the person that prepares the cocktail which type of whiskey to use, as bourbon or scotch, for example, could give different notes to a cocktail.

Paper plane cocktail

This drink is a mix of bitter and sour notes with an elegant symmetry. The flavor of this classic whiskey-based cocktail is based on a hint of citrus and sweetness.

Whiskey Smash

There are no sure things in life, but combining a whiskey sour and a mint julep to make the delicious Whiskey Smash is a sure bet. This classic cocktail appeals to whiskey lovers and skeptics alike. Think of the mint as a mojito, but with lime and whiskey instead of lime and rum.

Bourbon whiskey cocktails

What is the difference between a bourbon and a classic whiskey? This type of whiskey is distilled twice and must contain at least 51% corn and be aged in oak barrels. Bourbon is known for having a smoother taste with hints of vanilla, oak and caramel.

The only additive that can be added is water and it can only be produced in the United States. Bourbon is aged for at least two years in charred oak barrels to give it its unique taste. Bourbon whiskey cocktails include the Mint Julep or the Whiskey Sour.

Mint Julep

These drinks are sweet and balanced with notes of mint and whiskey. For a mojito-like taste, try the mint julep.

Whiskey Sour

A fine balance of sweet and sour. Notes of vanilla, lemon and orange complete the aroma and result in a citrus cocktail with bourbon whiskey.


As the name suggests, this drink comes from Scotland, otherwise it cannot be scotch. It is distilled from barley, malt and other grains and is fermented only with yeast. Unlike classic whiskey and bourbon, scotch must mature in oak casks for at least three years and only water and caramel coloring can be added.

There are different types of scotch depending on how it is produced. They are presented below:

  • Single malt or 100% malt whiskey produced in a single distillery
  • Single grain or whiskey from other grains produced in a single distillery
  • Blended malt whiskey or a mix of single malts from various distilleries
  • Blended grain whiskey or a mix of single grain whiskey from various distilleries
  • Blended whiskey or a mix of single malts and single grains

For the enthusiasts of scotch cocktails, try the Scotch Old Fashioned by swapping the rye whiskey for a great scotch.


While rum has sometimes been confused with these spirits, it is a completely separate category. Instead of grain, rum is distilled using sugar cane or molasses. Rum cocktails can include several types of rum:

  • Light rum, aged for short periods, usually used as a cocktail base.
  • Gold rums with medium aging. Spices or caramel are usually added to them for coloring.
  • Dark or black rums aged for a longer period, with a slightly stronger accent.
  • Flavored rums with tropical flavors of lemon, orange, mango, coconut and others.
  • Overproof, meaning strong rums up to 75 degrees.
  • Premium rums without additives and properly aged.

Rum is originally from the Caribbean. It is normally aged for three to ten years in wooden barrels. The type of wood used often determines the color of the rum. More classic rum cocktails are Mai Tai, Long Island Iced Tea and Daiquiri. But there are many delicious cocktails with rum, such as: Hurricane and Jungle Bird.


This sweet, fruity and tropical rum cocktail derives flavors from passion fruit and the sweetness of orange juice. Lime provides the perfect balance to this classic New Orleans cocktail.

Jungle Bird

Inspire a tropical jungle adventure! Jungle Bird is a unique tiki cocktail with pineapple juice balanced with lemon and bitters.

Use Dr Drink’s Digital Cocktail Dispenser

After discovering the differences and similarities between whiskey, scotch, bourbon and rum, why not make things simpler with Dr Drink’s Digital Cocktail Dispenser that does all for you?

The Cocktail Machine from Dr Drink is suitable in any location: from festivals and concerts, bars, terraces, to swimming pools or restaurants and event halls, even in the gazebo behind the house or in the family caravan, and the precision of dosing and reliability over time are just two of its main assets. The Digital Dispenser was designed so that anyone can mix a perfect cocktail in a few seconds, perfect shots with the “speed of light”, but also a help for professional bartenders in locations with a large flow of customers where it brings more speed and control, integrating – it’s perfect.

You are one click away from preparing your favorite cocktails or modernizing your business in a unique way. Of course, installation, warranty and maintenance are handled by Dr Drink. Purchase the Dr Drink Cocktail Machine today from our website !